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Gartner Highlights Cloud Data Encryption Gateways
A means to protect sensitive corporate data
By: Gerry Grealish
Dec. 3, 2012 07:00 AM
By Gerry Grealish
Last month Gartner Analyst Jay Heiser conducted an extremely informative and thought-provoking webinar entitled "The Current and Future State of Cloud Security, Risk and Privacy." During the presentation, Mr. Heiser highlighted what he called the "Public Cloud Risk Gap," characterized in part by inadequate processes and technologies by the cloud service providers and in part by a lack of diligence and planning by enterprises using public cloud applications. In many ways, it was a call to arms to ensure that adequate controls, thought and preparation are put to use before public clouds are adopted by enterprises and public sector organizations.
From the side of the cloud application provider, the webinar noted that most cloud service offerings are incomplete when measured against traditional "on-premise" security standards, there are relatively few security-related Service Level Agreements (SLAs), and there is minimal transparency on the security posture of most cloud services. From the enterprise side (the cloud service consumer), he points out that they frequently come to the table with inadequate planning and consideration in the area of security requirements definition and have an incomplete data sensitivity classification governing their data assets. Despite this, the webinar highlighted that organizations of all sizes are increasingly willing to place their data externally, and they are increasingly likely to have at least some formalized processes for the assessment of the associated risk - which is good news.
One approach that more and more organizations are considering is encryption of the data on the servers of the cloud provider, but three issues are identified: (1) this may cover data at rest, but what about data in transit?; (2) server-based encryption "breaks" application functionality that end users likely depend on, such as "Searching" and "Sorting" information, and; (3) who owns the encryption keys? The more parties that own the keys- the greater the risks. One of the capstone recommendations that Gartner gives viewers at the conclusion of the webinar is to ensure they protect highly sensitive information with data control technology. The good news is that technologies in this solution category are available now and are being rapidly adopted across a variety of diverse industries such as Healthcare, Manufacturing, Financial Services, Defense and Government. Gateways capable of supporting Salesforce.com encryption, Oracle encryption, SuccessFactors encryption, etc., need to be considered as part of an overall enterprise cloud security strategy.
One innovative part of this new category of solutions is referred to by Gartner as "Cloud Encryption Gateways." These gateways put sensitive data control back into the hands of the enterprise in scenarios where they are using public cloud services. When designed and deployed correctly, they are able to preserve the end user's experience with the cloud application (think of things like "Search" and "Reporting") even while securing the data being processed and stored in the cloud. These Gateways intercept sensitive data while it is still on-premise and replace it with a random tokenized or strongly encrypted value, rendering it meaningless should anyone hack the data while it is in transit, processed or stored in the cloud. If encryption is used, the enterprise controls the key. If tokenization is used, the enterprise controls the token vault. But not all gateways are created equal, so please refer to this recent paper in our Knowledge Center to make sure you ask the right questions when determining which gateway is the right fit for your specific Security, IT and End User needs.
PerspecSys Inc. is a leading provider of cloud data security and SaaS security solutions that remove the technical, legal and financial risks of placing sensitive company data in the cloud. PerspecSys accomplishes this for many large, heavily regulated companies by never allowing sensitive data to leave a customer's network, while maintaining the functionality of cloud applications. Based in Toronto, PerspecSys Inc. is a privately held company backed by investors that include Intel Capital and GrowthWorks.
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