Monthly Archives: February 2011

Cloud security and risk management

by Varad G. Varadarajan, Cognizant Technology Solutions

Are you ready to move to the Cloud?

Risk management and cost control are two key issues facing CIOs and CTOs today. Both these issues come into play in Cloud Computing, and present an interesting dilemma for IT leaders at large corporations.

The elastic nature of the Cloud, the conversion of Capex to Opex and the managed security infrastructure provided by the Cloud service provider make it very attractive for hosting applications. However, there are a number of security and privacy issues that companies need to grapple with before moving to the Cloud.

For example, multi-tenancy and virtualization are great technologies for lowering the cost of hosting applications, and the service providers that would like to use them. However, these technologies also pose grave security risks because companies operate in a shared infrastructure that offers very little isolation. They greatly increase the target attack surface, which is a hacker’s dream come true.

Using multiple service providers on the Cloud is great for providing redundancy, connecting providers in a supply chain or handling spikes in services via Cloud bursts. However, managing identities across multiple providers is a challenge.  Making sure data does not accidentally cross trust boundaries is another difficult problem.

Likewise, there are many challenges in the areas of:

  • Choosing the right service / delivery model (and its security implications)
  • Key management and distribution
  • Governance and Compliance of the service provider
  • Vendor lock-in
  • Data privacy (e.g. regulations governing the offshore-ability of data)
  • Residual risks

In my presentation at The Open Group India Conference next week, I will discuss these and many other interesting challenges facing CIOs regarding Cloud adoption. I will present a five step approach that enterprises can use to select assets, assess risks, map them to service providers and manage the risks through contract negotiation, SLAs and regular monitoring.

Cloud Computing will be a topic of discussion at The Open Group India Conference in Chennai (March 7), Hyderabad (March 9) and Pune (March 11). Join us for best practices and case studies in the areas of Enterprise Architecture, Security, Cloud and Certification, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Varad is a senior IT professional with 22 years of experience in Technology Management, Practice Development, Business Consulting, Architecture, Software Development and Entrepreneurship. He has led consulting assignments in IT Transformation, Architecture, and IT Strategy/Blueprinting at global companies across a broad range of industries and domains. He holds an MBA (Stern School of Business, New York), M.S Computer Science (G.W.U/Stanford California) and B.Tech (IIT India).

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PODCAST: Cloud Computing panel forecasts transition phase for Enterprise Architecture

By Dana Gardner, Interabor Solutions

Listen to this recorded podcast here: BriefingsDirect-Open Group Cloud Panel Forecasts Transition Phase for Enterprise IT

The following is the transcript of a sponsored podcast panel discussion on newly emerging Cloud models and their impact on business and government, from The Open Group Conference, San Diego 2011.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you’re listening to BriefingsDirect.

We now present a sponsored podcast discussion coming to you live from The Open Group 2011 Conference in San Diego. We’re here the week of February 7, and we have assembled a distinguished panel to examine the expectation of new types of cloud models and perhaps cloud specialization requirements emerging quite soon.

By now, we’re all familiar with the taxonomy around public cloud, private cloud, software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and my favorite, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), but we thought we would do you all an additional service and examine, firstly, where these general types of cloud models are actually gaining use and allegiance, and we’ll look at vertical industries and types of companies that are leaping ahead with cloud, as we now define it. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Then, second, we’re going to look at why one-size-fits-all cloud services may not fit so well in a highly fragmented, customized, heterogeneous, and specialized IT world.

How much of cloud services that come with a true price benefit, and that’s usually at scale and cheap, will be able to replace what is actually on the ground in many complex and unique enterprise IT organizations?

What’s more, we’ll look at the need for cloud specialization, based on geographic and regional requirements, as well as based on the size of these user organizations, which of course can vary from 5 to 50,000 seats. Can a few types of cloud work for all of them?

Please join me now in welcoming our panel. Here to help us better understand the quest for “fit for purpose” cloud balance and to predict, at least for some time, the considerable mismatch between enterprise cloud wants and cloud provider offerings we’re here with Penelope Gordon, the cofounder of 1Plug Corporation, based in San Francisco. Welcome, Penelope.

Penelope Gordon: Thank you.

Gardner: We’re also here with Mark Skilton. He is the Director of Portfolio and Solutions in the Global Infrastructure Services with Capgemini in London. Thank you for coming, Mark.

Mark Skilton: Thank you.

Gardner: Ed Harrington joins us. He is the Principal Consultant in Virginia for the UK-based Architecting the Enterprise organization. Thank you, Ed.

Ed Harrington: Thank you.

Gardner: Tom Plunkett is joining us. He is a Senior Solution Consultant with Oracle in Huntsville, Alabama.

Tom Plunkett: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And lastly, we’re here with TJ Virdi. He is Computing Architect in the CAS IT System Architecture Group at Boeing based in Seattle. Welcome.

TJ Virdi: Thank you.

Gardner: Let me go first to you, Mark Skilton. One size fits all has rarely worked in IT. If it has, it has been limited in its scope and, most often, leads to an additional level of engagement to make it work with what’s already there. Why should cloud be any different?

Three areas

Skilton: Well, Dana, from personal experience, there are probably three areas of adaptation of cloud into businesses. For sure, there are horizontal common services to which, what you call, the homogeneous cloud solution could be applied common to a number of business units or operations across a market.

But, we’re starting to increasingly see the need for customization to meet vertical competitive needs of a company or the decisions within that large company. So, differentiation and business models are still there, they are still in platform cloud as they were in the pre-cloud era.

But, the key thing is that we’re seeing a different kind of potential that a business can do now with cloud — a more elastic, explosive expansion and contraction of a business model. We’re seeing fundamentally the operating model of the business growing, and the industry can change using cloud technology.

So, there are two things going on in the business and the technologies are changing because of the cloud.

Gardner: Well, for us to understand where it fits best, and perhaps not so good, is to look at where it’s already working. Ed, you talked about the federal government. They seem to be going like gangbusters in the cloud. Why so?

Harrington: Perceived cost savings, primarily. The (US) federal government has done some analysis. In particular, the General Services Administration (GSA), has done some considerable analysis on what they think they can save by going to, in their case, a public cloud model for email and collaboration services. They’ve issued a $6.7 million contract to Unisys as the systems integrator, with Google being the cloud services supplier.

So, the debate over the benefits of cloud, versus the risks associated with cloud, is still going on quite heatedly.

Gardner: How about some other verticals? Where is this working? We’ve seen in some pharma, health-care, and research environments, which have a lot of elasticity, it makes sense, given that they have very variable loads. Any other suggestions on where this works, Tom?

Plunkett: You mentioned variable workloads. Another place where we are seeing a lot of customers approach cloud is when they are starting a new project. Because then, they don’t have to migrate from the existing infrastructure. Instead everything is brand new. That’s the other place where we see a lot of customers looking at cloud, your greenfields.

Gardner: TJ, any verticals that you are aware of? What are you seeing that’s working now?

Virdi: It’s not probably related with any vertical market, but I think what we are really looking for speed to put new products into the market or evolve the products that we already have and how to optimize business operations, as well as reduce the cost. These may be parallel to any vertical industries, where all these things are probably going to be working as a cloud solution.

Gardner: We’ve heard the application of “core and context” to applications, but maybe there is an application of core and context to cloud computing, whereby there’s not so much core and lot more context. Is that what you’re saying so far?

Unstructured data

Virdi: In a sense, you would have to measure not only the structured documents or structured data, but unstructured data as well. How to measure and create a new product or solutions is the really cool things you would be looking for in the cloud. And, it has proved pretty easy to put a new solution into the market. So, speed is also the big thing in there.

Gardner: Penelope, use cases or verticals where this is working so far?

Gordon: One example in talking about core and context is when you look in retail. You can have two retailers like a Walmart or a Costco, where they’re competing in the same general space, but are differentiating in different areas.

Walmart is really differentiating on the supply chain, and so it’s not a good candidate for public cloud computing solutions. We did discuss it that might possibly be a candidate for private cloud computing.

But that’s really where they’re going to invest in the differentiating, as opposed to a Costco, where it makes more sense for them to invest in their relationship with their customers and their relationship with their employees. They’re going to put more emphasis on those business processes, and they might be more inclined to outsource some of the aspects of their supply chain.

A specific example within retail is pricing optimization. A lot of grocery stores need to do pricing optimization checks once a quarter, or perhaps once a year in some of their areas. It doesn’t makes sense for smaller grocery store chains to have that kind of IT capability in house. So, that’s a really great candidate, when you are looking at a particular vertical business process to outsource to a cloud provider who has specific industry domain expertise.

Gardner: So for small and medium businesses (SMBs) that would be more core for them than others.

Gordon: Right. That’s an example, though, where you’re talking about what I would say is a particular vertical business process. Then, you’re talking about a monetization strategy and then part of the provider, where they are looking more at a niche strategy, rather than a commodity, where they are doing a horizontal infrastructure platform.

Gardner: Ed, you had a thought?

Harrington: Yeah, and it’s along the SMB dimension. We’re seeing a lot of cloud uptake in the small businesses. I work for a 50-person company. We have one “sort of” IT person and we do virtually everything in the cloud. We’ve got people in Australia and Canada, here in the States, headquartered in the UK, and we use cloud services for virtually everything across that. I’m associated with a number of other small companies and we are seeing big uptake of cloud services.

Gardner: Allow me to be a little bit of a skeptic, because I’m seeing these reports from analyst firms on the tens of billions of dollars in potential cloud market share and double-digit growth rates for the next several years. Is this going to come from just peripheral application context activities, mostly SMBs? What about the core in the enterprises? Does anybody have an example of where cloud is being used in either of those?

Skilton: In the telecom sector, which is very IT intensive, I’m seeing the emergence of their core business of delivering service to a large end user or multiple end user channels, using what I call cloud brokering.

Front-end cloud

So, if where you’re going with your question is that, certainly in the telecom sector we’re seeing the emergence of front end cloud, customer relationship management (CRM) type systems and also sort of back-end content delivery engines using cloud.

The fundamental shift away from the service orientated architecture (SOA) era is that we’re seeing more business driven self-service, more deployment of services as a business model, which is a big difference of the shift of the cloud. Particularly in telco, we’re seeing almost an explosion in that particular sector.

Gordon: A lot of companies don’t even necessarily realize that they’re using cloud services, particularly when you talk about SaaS. There are a number of SaaS solutions that are becoming more and more ubiquitous. If you look at large enterprise company recruiting sites, often you will see Taleo down at the bottom. Taleo is a SaaS. So, that’s a cloud solution, but it’s just not thought necessarily of in that context.

Gardner: Right. Tom?

Plunkett: Another place we’re seeing a lot of growth with regards to private clouds is actually on the defense side. The Defense Department is looking at private clouds, but they also have to deal with this core and context issue. We’re in San Diego today. The requirements for a shipboard system are very different from the land-based systems.

Ships have to deal with narrow bandwidth and going disconnected. They also have to deal with coalition partners or perhaps they are providing humanitarian assistance and they are dealing even with organizations we wouldn’t normally consider military. So, they have to deal with lots of information, assurance issues, and have completely different governance concerns that we normally think about for public clouds.

Gardner: However, in the last year or two, the assumption has been that this is something that’s going to impact every enterprise, and everybody should get ready. Yet, I’m hearing mostly this creeping in through packaged applications on a on-demand basis, SMBs, greenfield organizations, perhaps where high elasticity is a requirement.

What would be necessary for these cloud providers to be able to bring more of the core applications the large enterprises are looking for? What’s the new set of requirements? As I pointed out, we have had a general category of SaaS and development, elasticity, a handful of infrastructure services. What’s the next set of requirements that’s going to make it palatable for these core activities and these large enterprises to start doing this? Let me start with you, Penelope.

Gordon: It’s an interesting question and it was something that we were discussing in a session yesterday afternoon. Here is a gentleman from a large telecommunications company, and from his perspective, trust was a big issue. To him, part of it was just an immaturity of the market, specifically talking about what the new style of cloud is and that branding. Some of the aspects of cloud have been around for quite some time.

Look at Linux adoption as an analogy. A lot of companies started adopting Linux, but it was for peripheral applications and peripheral services, some web services that weren’t business critical. It didn’t really get into the core enterprise until much later.

We’re seeing some of that with cloud. It’s just a much bigger issue with cloud, especially as you start looking at providers wanting to moving up the food chain and providing greater value. This means that they have to have more industry knowledge and that they have to have more specialization. It becomes more difficult for large enterprises to trust a vendor to have that kind of knowledge.

No governance

Another aspect of what came up in the afternoon is that, at this point, while we talk about public cloud specifically, it’s not the same as saying it’s a public utility. We talk about “public utility,” but there is no governance, at this point, to say, “Here is certification that these companies have been tested to meet certain delivery standards.” Until that exists, it’s going to be difficult for some enterprises to get over that trust issue.

Gardner: Assuming that the trust and security issues are worked out over time, that experience leads to action, it leads to trust, it leads to adoption, and we have already seen that with SaaS applications. We’ve certainly seen it with the federal government, as Ed pointed out earlier.

Let’s just put that aside as one of the requirements that’s already on the drawing board and that we probably can put a checkmark next to at some point. What’s next? What about customization? What about heterogeneity? What about some of these other issues that are typical in IT, Mark Skilton?

Skilton: One of the under-played areas is PaaS. We hear about lock-in of technology caused by the use of the cloud, either putting too much data in or doing customization of parameters and you lose the elastic features of that cloud.

As to your question about what do vendors or providers need to do more to help the customer use the cloud, the two things we’re seeing are: one, more of an appliance strategy, where they can buy modular capabilities, so the licensing issue, solutioning issue, is more contained. The client can look at it more in a modular appliance sort of way. Think of it as cloud in a box.

The second thing is that we need to be seeing is much more offering transition services, transformation services, to accelerate the use of the cloud in a safe way, and I think that’s something that we need to really push hard to do. There’s a great quote from a client, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey to the cloud that I need to see.”

Gardner: You mentioned PaaS. We haven’t seen too much yet with a full mature offering of the full continuum of PaaS to IaaS. That’s one where new application development activities and new integration activities would be built of, for, and by the cloud and coordinated between the dev and the ops, with the ops being any number of cloud models — on-premises, off-premises, co-lo, multi-tenancy, and so forth.

So what about that? Is that another requirement that there is continuity between the past and the infrastructure and deployment, Tom?

Plunkett: We’re getting there. PaaS is going to be a real requirement going forward, simply because that’s going to provide us the flexibility to reach some of those core applications that we were talking about before. The further you get away from the context, the more you’re focusing on what the business is really focused in on, and that’s going to be the core, which is going to require effective PaaS.

Gardner: TJ.

More regulatory

Virdi: I want to second that, but at the same time, we’re looking for more regulatory and other kind of licensing and configuration issues as well. Those also make it a little better to use the cloud. You don’t really have to buy, or you can go for the demand. You need to make your licenses a little bit better in such a way that you can just put the product or business solutions into the market, test the water, and then you can go further on that.

Gardner: Penelope, where do you see any benefit of having a coordinated or integrated platform and development test and deploy functions? Is that going to bring this to a more core usage in large enterprises?

Gordon: It depends. I see a lot more of the buying of cloud moving out to the non-IT line of business executives. If that accelerates, there is going to be less and less focus. Companies are really separating now what is differentiating and what is core to my business from the rest of it.

There’s going to be less emphasis on, “Let’s do our scale development on a platform level” and more, “Let’s really seek out those vendors that are going to enable us to effectively integrate, so we don’t have to do double entry of data between different solutions. Let’s look out for the solutions that allow us to apply the governance and that effectively let us tailor our experience with these solutions in a way that doesn’t impinge upon the provider’s ability to deliver in a cost effective fashion.”

That’s going to become much more important. So, a lot of the development onus is going to be on the providers, rather than on the actual buyers.

Gardner: Now, this is interesting. On one hand, we have non-IT people, business people, specifying, acquiring, and using cloud services. On the other hand we’re perhaps going to see more PaaS, the new application development, be it custom or more of a SaaS type of offering that’s brought in with a certain level of adjustment and integration. But, these are going off without necessarily any coordination. At some point, they are going to even come together. It’s inevitable, another “integrationness” perhaps.

Mark Skilton, is that what you see, that we have not just one cloud approach but multiple approaches and then some need to rationalize?

Skilton: There are two key points. There’s a missing architecture practice that needs to be there, which is a workers analysis, so that you design applications to fit specific infrastructure containers, and you’ve got a bridge between the the application service and the infrastructure service. There needs to be a piece of work by enterprise architects that starts to bring that together as a deliberate design for applications to be able to operate in the cloud, and the PaaS platform is a perfect environment.

The second thing is that there’s a lack of policy management in terms of technical governance, and because of the lack of understanding, there needs to be more of a matching exercise going on. The key thing is that that needs to evolve.

Part of the work we’re doing in The Open Group with the Cloud Computing Work Group is to develop new standards and methodologies that bridge those gaps between infrastructure, PaaS, platform development, and SaaS.

Gardner: We already have the Trusted Technology Forum. Maybe soon we’ll see an open trusted cloud technology forum.

Skilton: I hope so.

Gardner: Ed Harrington, you mentioned earlier that the role of the enterprise architect is going to benefit from cloud. Do you see what we just described in terms of dual tracks, multiple inception points, heterogeneity, perhaps overlap and redundancy? Is that where the enterprise architect flourishes?

Shadow IT

Harrington: I think we talked about line management IT getting involved in acquiring cloud services. If you think we’ve got this thing called “shadow IT” today, wait a few years. We’re going to have a huge problem with shadow IT.

From the architect’s perspective, there’s lot to be involved with and a lot to play with, as I said in my talk. There’s an awful lot of analysis to be done — what is the value that the cloud solution being proposed is going to be supplying to the organization in business terms, versus the risk associated with it? Enterprise architects deal with change, and that’s what we’re talking about. We’re talking about change, and change will inherently involve risk.

Gardner: TJ.

Virdi: All these business decisions are going to be coming upstream, and business executives need to be more aware about how cloud could be utilized as a delivery model. The enterprise architects and someone with a technical background needs to educate or drive them to make the right decisions and choose the proper solutions.

It has an impact how you want to use the cloud, as well as how you get out of it too, in case you want to move to different cloud vendors or providers. All those things come into play upstream rather than downstream.

Gardner: We all seem to be resigned to this world of, “Well, here we go again. We’re going to sit back and wait for all these different cloud things to happen. Then, we’ll come in, like the sheriff on the white horse, and try to rationalize.” Why not try to rationalize now before we get to that point? What could be done from an architecture standpoint to head off mass confusion around cloud? Let me start at one end and go down the other. Tom?

Plunkett: One word: governance. We talked about the importance of governance increasing as the IT industry went into SOA. Well, cloud is going to make it even more important. Governance throughout the lifecycle, not just at the end, not just at deployment, but from the very beginning.

Gardner: TJ.

Virdi: In addition to governance, you probably have to figure out how you want to plan to adapt to the cloud also. You don’t want to start as a Big Bang theory. You want to start in incremental steps, small steps, test out what you really want to do. If that works, then go do the other things after that.

Gardner: Penelope, how about following the money? Doesn’t where the money flows in and out of organizations tend to have a powerful impact on motivating people or getting them moving towards governance or not?

Gordon: I agree, and towards that end, it’s enterprise architects. Enterprise architects need to break out of the idea of focusing on how to address the boundary between IT and the business and talk to the business in business terms.

One way of doing that that I have seen as effective is to look at it from the standpoint of portfolio management. Where you were familiar with financial portfolio management, now you are looking at a service portfolio, as well as looking at your overall business and all of your business processes as a portfolio. How can you optimize at a macro level for your portfolio of all the investment decisions you’re making, and how the various processes and services are enabled? Then, it comes down to, as you said, a money issue.

Gardner: Perhaps one way to head off what we seem to think is an inevitable cloud chaos situation is to invoke more shared services, get people to consume services and think about how to pay for them along the way, regardless of where they come from and regardless of who specified them. So back to SOA, back to ITIL, back to the blocking and tackling that’s just good enterprise architecture. Anything to add to that, Mark?

Not more of the same

Skilton: I think it’s a mistake to just describe this as more of the same. ITIL, in my view, needs to change to take into account self-service dynamics. ITIL is kind of a provider service management process. It’s thing that you do to people. Cloud changes that direction to the other way, and I think that’s something that needs to be done.

Also, fundamentally the data center and network strategies need to be in place to adopt cloud. From my experience, the data center transformation or refurbishment strategies or next generation networks tend to be done as a separate exercise from the applications area. So a strong, strong recommendation from me would be to drive a clear cloud route map to your data center.

Gardner: So, perhaps a regulating effect on the self-selection of cloud services would be that the network isn’t designed for it and it’s not going to help.

Skilton: Exactly.

Gardner: That’s one way to govern your cloud. Ed Harrington, any other further thoughts on working towards a cloud future without the pitfalls?

Harrington: Again, the governance, certification of some sort. I’m not in favor of regulation, but I am in favor of some sort of third party certification of services that consumers can rely upon safely. But, I will go back to what I said earlier. It’s a combination of governance, treating the cloud services as services per se, and enterprise architecture.

Gardner: What about the notion that was brought up earlier about private clouds being an important on-ramp to this? If I were a public cloud provider, I would do my market research on what’s going on in the private clouds, because I think they are going to be incubators to what might then become hybrid and ultimately a full-fledged third-party public cloud providing assets and services.

What can we learn from looking at what’s going on with private cloud now, seemingly a lot of trying to reduce cost and energy consumption, but what does that tell us about what we should expect in the next few years? Again, let’s start with you, Tom.

Plunkett: What we’re seeing with private cloud is that it’s actually impacting governance, because one of the things that you look at with private cloud is chargeback between different internal customers. This is forcing these organizations to deal with complex money, business issues that they don’t really like to do.

Nowadays, it’s mostly vertical applications, where you’ve got one owner who is paying for everything. Now, we’re actually going back to, as we were talking about earlier, dealing with some of the tricky issues of SOA.

Gardner: TJ, private cloud as an incubator. What we should expect?

Securing your data

Virdi: Configuration and change management — how in the private cloud we are adapting to it and supporting different customer segments is really the key. This could be utilized in the public cloud too, as well as how you are really securing your information and data or your business knowledge. How you want to secure that is key, and that’s why the private cloud is there. If we can adapt to or mimic the same kind of controls in the public cloud, maybe we’ll have more adoptions in the public cloud too.

Gardner: Penelope, any thoughts on that, the private to public transition?

Gordon: I also look at it in a little different way. For example, in the U.S., you have the National Security Agency (NSA). For a lot of what you would think of as their non-differentiating processes, for example payroll, they can’t use ADP. They can’t use that SaaS for payroll, because they can’t allow the identities of their employees to become publicly known.

Anything that involves their employee data and all the rest of the information within the agency has to be kept within a private cloud. But, they’re actively looking at private cloud solutions for some of the other benefits of cloud.

In one sense, I look at it and say that private cloud adoption to me tells a provider that this is an area that’s not a candidate for a public-cloud solution. But, private clouds could also be another channel for public cloud providers to be able to better monetize what they’re doing, rather than just focusing on public cloud solutions.

Gardner: So, then, you’re saying this is a two-way street. Just as we could foresee someone architecting a good private cloud and then looking to take that out to someone else’s infrastructure, you’re saying there is a lot of public services that for regulatory or other reasons might then need to come back in and be privatized or kept within the walls. Interesting.

Mark Skilton, any thoughts on this public-private tension and/or benefit?

Skilton: I asked an IT service director the question about what was it like running a cloud service for the account. This is a guy who had previously been running hosting and management and with many years experience.

The surprising thing was that he was quite shocked that the disciplines that he previously had for escalating errors and doing planned maintenance, monitoring, billing and charging back to the customer fundamentally were changing, because it had to be done more in real time. You have to fix before it fails. You can’t just wait for it to fail. You have to have a much more disciplined approach to running a private cloud.

The lessons that we’re learning in running private clouds for our clients is the need to have a much more of a running-IT-as-a-business ethos and approach. We find that if customers try to do it themselves, either they may find that difficult, because they are used to buying that as a service, or they have to change their enterprise architecture and support service disciplines to operate the cloud.

Gardner: Perhaps yet another way to offset potential for cloud chaos in the future is to develop the core competencies within the private-cloud environment and do it sooner rather than later? This is where you can cut your teeth or get your chops, some number of metaphors come to mind, but this is something that sounds like a priority. Would you agree with that Ed, coming up with a private-cloud capability is important?

Harrington: It’s important, and it’s probably going to dominate for the foreseeable future, especially in areas that organizations view as core. They view them as core, because they believe they provide some sort of competitive advantage or, as Penelope was saying, security reasons. ADP’s a good idea. ADP could go into NSA and set up a private cloud using ADP and NSA. I think is a really good thing.

Trust a big issue

But, I also think that trust is still a big issue and it’s going to come down to trust. It’s going to take a lot of work to have anything that is perceived by a major organization as core and providing differentiation to move to other than a private cloud.

Gardner: TJ.

Virdi: Private clouds actually allow you to make more business modular. Your capability is going to be a little bit more modular and interoperability testing could happen in the private cloud. Then you can actually use those same kind of modular functions, utilize the public cloud, and work with other commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) vendors that really package this as new holistic solutions.

Gardner: Does anyone consider the impact of mergers and acquisitions on this? We’re seeing the economy pick up, at least in some markets, and we’re certainly seeing globalization, a very powerful trend with us still. We can probably assume, if you’re a big company, that you’re going to get bigger through some sort of merger and acquisition activity. Does a cloud strategy ameliorate the pain and suffering of integration in these business mergers, Tom?

Plunkett: Well, not to speak on behalf of Oracle, but we’ve gone through a few mergers and acquisitions recently, and I do believe that having a cloud environment internally helps quite a bit. Specifically, TJ made the earlier point about modularity. Well, when we’re looking at modules, they’re easier to integrate. It’s easier to recompose services, and all the benefits of SOA really.

Gardner: TJ, mergers and acquisitions in cloud.

Virdi: It really helps. At the same time, we were talking about legal and regulatory compliance stuff. EU and Japan require you to put the personally identifiable information (PII) in their geographical areas. Cloud could provide a way to manage those things without having the hosting where you have your own business.

Gardner: Penelope, any thoughts, or maybe even on a slightly different subject, of being able to grow rapidly vis-à-vis cloud experience and expertise and having architects that understand it?

Gordon: Some of this comes back to some of the discussions we were having about the extra discipline that comes into play, if you are going to effectively consume and provide cloud services, if you do become much more rigorous about your change management, your configuration management, and if you then apply that out to a larger process level.

So, if you define certain capabilities within the business in a much more modular fashion, then, when you go through that growth and add on people, you have documented procedures and processes. It’s much easier to bring someone in and say, “You’re going to be a product manager, and that job role is fungible across the business.”

That kind of thinking, the cloud constructs applied up at a business architecture level, enables a kind of business expansion that we are looking at.

Gardner: Mark Skilton, thoughts about being able to manage growth, mergers and acquisitions, even general business agility vis-à-vis more cloud capabilities.

Skilton: Right now, I’m involved in merging in a cloud company that we bought last year in May, and I would say yes and no. The no point is that I’m trying to bundle this service that we acquired in each product and with which we could add competitive advantage to the services that we are offering. I’ve had a problem with trying to bundle that into our existing portfolio. I’ve got to work out how they will fit and deploy in our own cloud. So, that’s still a complexity problem.

Faster launch

But, the upside is that I can bundle that service that we acquired, because we wanted to get that additional capability, and rewrite design techniques for cloud computing. We can then launch that bundle of new service faster into the market.

It’s kind of a mixed blessing with cloud. With our own cloud services, we acquire these new companies, but we still have the same IT integration problem to then exploit that capability we’ve acquired.

Gardner: That might be a perfect example of where cloud is or isn’t. When you run into the issue of complexity and integration, it doesn’t compute, so to speak.

Skilton: It’s not plug and play yet, unfortunately.

Gardner: Ed, what do you think about this growth opportunity, mergers and acquisitions, a good thing or bad thing?

Harrington: It’s a challenge. I think, as Mark presented it, it’s got two sides. It depends a lot on how close the organizations are, how close their service portfolios are, to what degree has each of the organizations adapted the cloud, and is that going to cause conflict as well. So I think there is potential.

Skilton: Each organization in the commercial sector can have different standards, and then you still have that interoperability problem that we have to translate to make it benefit, the post merger integration issue.

Gardner: We’ve been discussing the practical requirements of various cloud computing models, looking at core and context issues where cloud models would work, where they wouldn’t. And, we have been thinking about how we might want to head off the potential mixed bag of cloud models in our organizations and what we can do now to make the path better, but perhaps also make our organizations more agile, service oriented, and able to absorb things like rapid growth and mergers.

I’d like to thank you all for joining and certainly want to thank our guests. This is a sponsored podcast discussion coming to you from The Open Group’s 2011 Conference in San Diego. We’re here the week of February 7, 2011. A big thank you now to Penelope Gordon, cofounder of 1Plug Corporation. Thanks.

Gordon: Thank you.

Gardner: Mark Skilton, Director of Portfolio and Solutions in the Global Infrastructure Services with Capgemini. Thank you, Mark.

Skilton: Thank you very much.

Gardner: Ed Harrington, Principal Consultant in Virginia for the UK-based Architecting the Enterprise.

Harrington: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: Tom Plunkett, Senior Solution Consultant with Oracle. Thank you.

Plunkett: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: TJ Virdi, the Computing Architect in the CAS IT System Architecture group at Boeing.

Virdi: Thank you.

Gardner: I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. You’ve been listening to a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast. Thanks for joining, and come back next time.

Copyright The Open Group and Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.

Dana Gardner is the Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, which identifies and interprets the trends in Services-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and enterprise software infrastructure markets. Interarbor Solutions creates in-depth Web content and distributes it via BriefingsDirectblogs, podcasts and video-podcasts to support conversational education about SOA, software infrastructure, Enterprise 2.0, and application development and deployment strategies.

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The Business Case for Enterprise Architecture

By Balasubramanian Somasundram, Honeywell Technology Solutions Ltd.

Well, contrary to this blog post title, I am not going to talk about the finer details of preparing a business case for an Enterprise Architecture initiative. Rather, I am going to talk about ‘What makes the client to ask for a business case?”

Here is a little background…

Statistics assert that only 5% of companies practice Enterprise Architecture. And most of them are successful leaders in their businesses, not just IT.

When I attended Zachman’s conference last year, I was surprised to see Zachman being cynical about the realization of EA in the industry. He, in fact, went on to add that it may take 10-20 years to see EA truly alive in companies.

I am also closely watching some of the Enterprise Architects’ blogs. I don’t see convictions by looking at their blog posts titled – ‘Enterprise is a Joke’. ‘Enterprise Architects do only powerpoint presentations’. ‘There are not enough skilled architects’, etc.

In the recent past, when I was evangelizing EA among the top IT leadership, I often got questions on ‘short-term quick hits that can be achieved by EA’. That’s a tough one to answer!

Now the question is – ‘Why there is lack of faith in IT?’

And many of us know the answer – Because the teams often fail to deliver, despite spending lot of cash, effort and energy. The harsh reality is that IT does not believe in itself that it can deliver something significant, valuable and comprehensive.

If IT doesn’t believe in itself, how can we expect business to believe in us, to treat us like partners and not as order takers?

Now, getting to metrics… I happened to read this revealing Datamonitor whitepaper on the EDS site. Though the intent of the paper is to analyze the maintenance issues Vs adopting new innovations in existing applications, I found something very relevant and interesting to our topic of discussion here.

Some of the observations are:

  • IT departments that are overwhelmed by application maintenance do not see the benefit of planning
  • Datamonitor believes that skepticism of these overwhelmed decision makers can be largely attributed to a sense of ‘hopelessness’ or ‘burn out’ over formalized IT strategies.
  • Such decision makers are operating in a state of survival rather than one of enthusiastic optimism
  • IT departments see the value of planning primarily in the ‘build’ phase and not in the ‘run’ phase. They don’t really care too much about the ‘lifecycle’ of those application in the ‘planning’ phase.
  • And now, this compounds the maintenance complexity and inhibits the company from embarking into new initiatives – creating a vicious cycle.

What a resounding observation!

As someone said, adopting EA is like a lifestyle change – like following a fitness regimen. And that cannot be realized without discipline and commitment to change! The problem is not with EA but the way we look at it!

Balasubramanian Somasundaram is an Enterprise Architect with Honeywell Technology Solutions Ltd, Bangalore, a division of Honeywell Inc, USA. Bala has been with Honeywell Technology Solutions for the past five years and contributed in several technology roles. His current responsibilities include Architecture/Technology Planning and Governance, Solution Architecture Definition for business-critical programs, and Technical oversight/Review for programs delivered from Honeywell IT India center. With more than 12 years of experience in the IT services industry, Bala has worked with variety of technologies with a focus on IT architecture practice.  His current interests include Enterprise Architecture, Cloud Computing and Mobile Applications. He periodically writes about emerging technology trends that impact the Enterprise IT space on his blog. Bala holds a Master of Science in Computer Science from MKU University, India.

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PODCAST: Impact of Security Issues on Doing Business in 2011 And Beyond

By Dana Gardner, Interabor Solutions

Listen to this recorded podcast here: BriefingsDirect-The Open Group Conference Cyber Security Panel

The following is the transcript of a sponsored podcast panel discussion on how enterprises need to change their thinking to face cyber threats, from The Open Group Conference, San Diego 2011.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you’re listening to BriefingsDirect.

Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion in conjunction with The Open Group Conference, held in San Diego in the week of February 7, 2011. We’ve assembled a panel to examine the business risk around cyber security threats.

Looking back over the past few years, it seems like threats are only getting worse. We’ve had the Stuxnet Worm, The WikiLeaks affair, China originating attacks against Google and others, and the recent Egypt Internet blackout. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

But, are cyber security dangers, in fact, getting much worse or rather perceptions that are at odds with what is really important in terms of security? In any event, how can businesses best protect themselves from the next round of risks, especially as Cloud, mobile, and social media activities increase? How can architecting for security become effective and pervasive? We’ll pose these and other serious questions to our panel to deeply examine the cyber business risks and ways to head them off.

Please join me now in welcoming our panel, we’re here with Jim Hietala, the Vice President of Security at The Open Group. Welcome back, Jim.

Jim Hietala: Hi, Dana. Good to be with you.

Gardner: And, we’re here with Mary Ann Mezzapelle, Chief Technologist in the CTO’s Office at HP. Welcome.

Mary Ann Mezzapelle: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: We’re also here with Jim Stikeleather, Chief Innovation Officer at Dell Services. Welcome, Jim.

Jim Stikeleather: Thank you, Dana. Glad to be here.

Gardner: As I mentioned, there have been a lot of things in the news about security. I’m wondering, what are the real risks that are worth being worried about? What should you be staying up late at night thinking about, Jim?

Stikeleather: Pretty much everything, at this time. One of the things that you’re seeing is a combination of factors. When people are talking about the break-ins, you’re seeing more people actually having discussions of what’s happened and what’s not happening. You’re seeing a new variety of the types of break-ins, the type of exposures that people are experiencing. You’re also seeing more organization and sophistication on the part of the people who are actually breaking in.

The other piece of the puzzle has been that legal and regulatory bodies step in and say, “You are now responsible for it.” Therefore, people are paying a lot more attention to it. So, it’s a combination of all these factors that are keeping people up right now.

Gardner: Is it correct, Mary Ann, to say that it’s not just a risk for certain applications or certain aspects of technology, but it’s really a business-level risk?

Key component

Mezzapelle: That’s one of the key components that we like to emphasize. It’s about empowering the business, and each business is going to be different.

If you’re talking about a Department of Defense (DoD) military implementation, that’s going to be different than a manufacturing concern. So it’s important that you balance the risk, the cost, and the usability to make sure it empowers the business.

Gardner: How about complexity, Jim Hietala? Is that sort of an underlying current here? We now think about the myriad mobile devices, moving applications to a new tier, native apps for different platforms, more social interactions that are encouraging collaboration. This is good, but just creates more things for IT and security people to be aware of. So how about complexity? Is that really part of our main issue?

Hietala: It’s a big part of the challenge, with changes like you have mentioned on the client side, with mobile devices gaining more power, more ability to access information and store information, and cloud. On the other side, we’ve got a lot more complexity in the IT environment, and much bigger challenges for the folks who are tasked for securing things.

Gardner: Just to get a sense of how bad things are, Jim Stikeleather, on a scale of 1 to 10 — with 1 being you’re safe and sound and you can sleep well, and 10 being all the walls of your business are crumbling and you’re losing everything — where are we?

Stikeleather: Basically, it depends on who you are and where you are in the process. A major issue in cyber security right now is that we’ve never been able to construct an intelligent return on investment (ROI) for cyber security.

There are two parts to that. One, we’ve never been truly able to gauge how big the risk really is. So, for one person it maybe a 2, and most people it’s probably a 5 or a 6. Some people may be sitting there at a 10. But, you need to be able to gauge the magnitude of the risk. And, we never have done a good job of saying what exactly the exposure is or if the actual event took place. It’s the calculation of those two that tell you how much you should be able to invest in order to protect yourself.

So, I’m not really sure it’s a sense of exposure the people have, as people don’t have a sense of risk management — where am I in this continuum and how much should I invest actually to protect myself from that?

We’re starting to see a little bit of a sea change, because starting with HIPAA-HITECH in 2009, for the first time, regulatory bodies and legislatures have put criminal penalties on companies who have exposures and break-ins associated with them.

So we’re no longer talking about ROI. We’re starting to talk about risk of incarceration , and that changes the game a little bit. You’re beginning to see more and more companies do more in the security space — for example, having a Sarbanes-Oxley event notification to take place.

The answer to the question is that it really depends, and you almost can’t tell, as you look at each individual situation.

Gardner: Mary Ann, it seems like assessment then becomes super-important. In order to assess your situation, you can start to then plan for how to ameliorate it and/or create a strategy to improve, and particularly be ready for the unknown unknowns that are perhaps coming down the pike. When it comes to assessment, what would you recommend for your clients?

Comprehensive view

Mezzapelle: First of all we need to make sure that they have a comprehensive view. In some cases, it might be a portfolio approach, which is unique to most people in a security area. Some of my enterprise customers have more than a 150 different security products that they’re trying to integrate.

Their issue is around complexity, integration, and just knowing their environment — what levels they are at, what they are protecting and not, and how does that tie to the business? Are you protecting the most important asset? Is it your intellectual property (IP)? Is it your secret sauce recipe? Is it your financial data? Is it your transactions being available 24/7?

And, to Jim’s point, that makes a difference depending on what organization you’re in. It takes some discipline to go back to that InfoSec framework and make sure that you have that foundation in place, to make sure you’re putting your investments in the right way.

Stikeleather: One other piece of it is require an increased amount of business knowledge on the part of the IT group and the security group to be able to make the assessment of where is my IP, which is my most valuable data, and what do I put the emphasis on.

One of the things that people get confused about is, depending upon which analyst report you read, most data is lost by insiders, most data is lost from external hacking, or most data is lost through email. It really depends. Most IP is lost through email and social media activities. Most data, based upon a recent Verizon study, is being lost by external break-ins.

We’ve kind of always have the one-size-fits-all mindset about security. When you move from just “I’m doing security” to “I’m doing risk mitigation and risk management,” then you have to start doing portfolio and investment analysis in making those kinds of trade-offs.

That’s one of the reasons we have so much complexity in the environment, because every time something happens, we go out, we buy any tool to protect against that one thing, as opposed to trying to say, “Here are my staggered differences and here’s how I’m going to protect what is important to me and accept the fact nothing is perfect and some things I’m going to lose.”

Gardner: Perhaps a part of having an assessment of where you are is to look at how things have changed, Jim Hietala, thinking about where we were three or four years ago, what is fundamentally different about how people are approaching security and/or the threats that they are facing from just a few years ago?

Hietala: One of the big things that’s changed that I’ve observed is if you go back a number of years, the sorts of cyber threats that were out there were curious teenagers and things like that. Today, you’ve got profit-motivated individuals who have perpetrated distributed denial of service attacks to extort money. Now, they’ve gotten more sophisticated and are dropping Trojan horses on CFO’s machines and they can to try in exfiltrate passwords and log-ins to the bank accounts.

We had a case that popped up in our newspaper in Colorado, where a mortgage company, a title company lost a million dollars worth of mortgage money that was loans in the process of funding. All of a sudden, five homeowners are faced with paying two mortgages, because there was no insurance against that.

When you read through the details of what happened it was, it was clearly a Trojan horse that had been put on this company’s system. Somebody was able to walk off with a million dollars worth of these people’s money.

State-sponsored acts

So you’ve got profit-motivated individuals on the one side, and you’ve also got some things happening from another part of the world that look like they’re state-sponsored, grabbing corporate IP and defense industry and government sites. So, the motivation of the attackers has fundamentally changed and the threat really seems pretty pervasive at this point.

Gardner: Pervasive threat. Is that how you see it, Jim Stikeleather?

Stikeleather: I agree. The threat is pervasive. The only secure computer in the world right now is the one that’s turned off in a closet, and that’s the nature. You have to make decisions about what you’re putting on and where you’re putting it on. I’s a big concern that if we don’t get better with security, we run the risk of people losing trust in the Internet and trust in the web.

When that happens, we’re going to see some really significant global economic concerns. If you think about our economy, it’s structured around the way the Internet operates today. If people lose trust in the transactions that are flying across it, then we’re all going to be in pretty bad world of hurt.

Gardner: All right, well I am duly scared. Let’s think about what we can start doing about this. How should organizations rethink security? And is that perhaps the way to do this, Mary Ann? If you say, “Things have changed. I have to change, not only in how we do things tactically, but really at that high level strategic level,” how do you rethink security properly now?

Mezzapelle: It comes back to one of the bottom lines about empowering the business. Jim talked about having that balance. It means that not only do the IT people need to know more about the business, but the business needs to start taking ownership for the security of their own assets, because they are the ones that are going to have to belay the loss, whether it’s data, financial, or whatever.

They need to really understand what that means, but we as IT professionals need to be able to explain what that means, because it’s not common sense. We need to connect the dots and we need to have metrics. We need to look at it from an overall threat point of view, and it will be different based on what company you’re about.

You need to have your own threat model, who you think the major actors would be and how you prioritize your money, because it’s an unending bucket that you can pour money into. You need to prioritize.

Gardner: How would this align with your other technology and business innovation activities? If you’re perhaps transforming your business, if you’re taking more of a focus at the process level, if you’re engaged with enterprise architecture and business architecture, is security a sideline, is it central, does it come first? How do you organize what’s already fairly complex in security with these other larger initiatives?

Mezzapelle: The way that we’ve done that is this is we’ve had a multi-pronged approach. We communicate and educate the software developers, so that they start taking ownership for security in their software products, and that we make sure that that gets integrated into every part of portfolio.

The other part is to have that reference architecture, so that there’s common services that are available to the other services as they are being delivered and that we can not control it but at least manage from a central place.

You were asking about how to pay for it. It’s like Transformation 101. Most organizations spend about 80 percent of their spend on operations. And so they really need to look at their operational spend and reduce that cost to be able to fund the innovation part.

Getting benchmarks

It may not be in security. You may not be spending enough in security. There are several organizations that will give you some kind of benchmark about what other organizations in your particular industry are spending, whether it’s 2 percent on the low end for manufacturing up to 10-12 percent for financial institutions.

That can give you a guideline as to where you should start trying to move to. Sometimes, if you can use automation within your other IT service environment, for example, that might free up the cost to fuel that innovation.

Stikeleather: Mary Ann makes a really good point. The starting point is really architecture. We’re actually at a tipping point in the security space, and it comes from what’s taking place in the legal and regulatory environments with more-and-more laws being applied to privacy, IP, jurisdictional data location, and a whole series of things that the regulators and the lawyers are putting on us.

One of the things I ask people, when we talk to them, is what is the one application everybody in the world, every company in the world has outsourced. They think about it for a minute, and they all go payroll. Nobody does their own payroll any more. Even the largest companies don’t do their own payroll. It’s not because it’s difficult to run payroll. It’s because you can’t afford all of the lawyers and accountants necessary to keep up with all of the jurisdictional rules and regulations for every place that you operate in.

Data itself is beginning to fall under those types of constraints. In a lot of cases, it’s medical data. For example, Massachusetts just passed a major privacy law. PCI is being extended to anybody who takes credit cards.

The security issue is now also a data governance and compliance issue as well. So, because all these adjacencies are coming together, it’s a good opportunity to sit down and architect with a risk management framework. How am I going to deal with all of this information?

Plus you have additional funding capabilities now, because of compliance violations you can actually identify what the ROI is for of avoiding that. The real key to me is people stepping back and saying, “What is my business architecture? What is my risk profile associated with it? What’s the value associated with that information? Now, engineer my systems to follow that.”

Mezzapelle: You need to be careful that you don’t equate compliance with security? There are a lot of organizations that are good at compliance checking, but that doesn’t mean that they are really protecting against their most vulnerable areas, or what might be the largest threat. That’s just a letter of caution — you need to make sure that you are protecting the right assets.

Gardner: It’s a cliché, but people, process, and technology are also very important here. It seems to me that governance would be an overriding feature of bringing those into some alignment.

Jim Hietala, how should organizations approach these issues with a governance mindset? That is to say, following procedures, forcing those procedures, looking and reviewing them, and then putting into place the means by which security becomes in fact part-and-parcel with doing business?

Risk management

Hietala: I guess I’d go back to the risk management issue. That’s something that I think organizations frequently miss. There tends to be a lot of tactical security spending based upon the latest widget, the latest perceived threat — buy something, implement it, and solve the problem.

Taking a step back from that and really understanding what the risks are to your business, what the impacts of bad things happening are really, is doing a proper risk analysis. Risk assessment is what ought to drive decision-making around security. That’s a fundamental thing that gets lost a lot in organizations that are trying to grapple the security problems.

Gardner: Jim Stikeleather, any thoughts about governance as an important aspect to this?

Stikeleather: Governance is a critical aspect. The other piece of it is education. There’s an interesting fiction in both law and finance. The fiction of the reasonable, rational, prudent man. If you’ve done everything a reasonable, rational and prudent person has done, then you are not culpable for whatever the event was.

I don’t think we’ve done a good job of educating our users, the business, and even some of the technologists on what the threats are, and what are reasonable, rational, and prudent things to do. One of my favorite things are the companies that make you change your password every month and you can’t repeat a password for 16 or 24 times. The end result is that you get as this little thing stuck on the notebook telling them exactly what the password is.

So, it’s governance, but it’s also education on top of governance. We teach our kids not to cross the street in the middle of the road and don’t talk to strangers. Well, we haven’t quite created that same thing for cyberspace. Governance plus education may even be more important than the technological solutions.

Gardner: One sort of push-back on that is that the rate of change is so rapid and the nature of the risks can be so dynamic, how does one educate? How you keep up with that?

Stikeleather: I don’t think that it’s necessary. The technical details of the risks are changing rapidly, but the nature of the risk themselves, the higher level of the taxonomy, is not changing all that much.

If you just introduce safe practices so to speak, then you’re protected up until someone comes up with a totally new way of doing things, and there really hasn’t been a lot of that. Everything has been about knowing that you don’t put certain data on the system, or if you do, this data is always encrypted. At the deep technical details, yes, things change rapidly. At the level with which a person would exercise caution, I don’t think any of that has changed in the last ten years.

Gardner: We’ve now entered into the realm of behaviors and it strikes me also that it’s quite important and across the board. There are behaviors at different levels of the organization. Some of them can be good for ameliorating risk and others would be very bad and prolonged. How do you incentivize people? How do you get them to change their behavior when it comes to security, Mary Ann?

Mezzapelle: The key is to make it personalized to them or their job, and part of that is the education as Jim talked about. You also show them how it becomes a part of their job.

Experts don’t know

I have a little bit different view that it is so complex that even security professionals don’t always know what the reasonable right thing to do it. So, I think it’s very unreasonable for us to expect that of our business users, or consumers, or as I like to say, my mom. I use her as a use case quite a lot of times about what would she do, how would she react and would she recognize when she clicked on, “Yes, I want to download that antivirus program,” which just happened to be a virus program.

Part of it is the awareness so that you keep it in front of them, but you also have to make it a part of their job, so they can see that it’s a part of the culture. I also think it’s a responsibility of the leadership to not just talk about security, but make it evident in their planning, in their discussions, and in their viewpoints, so that it’s not just something that they talk about but ignore operationally.

Gardner: One other area I want to touch on is the notion of cloud computing, doing more outsourced services, finding a variety of different models that extend beyond your enterprise facilities and resources.

There’s quite a bit of back and forth about, is cloud better for security or worse for security? Can I impose more of these automation and behavioral benefits if I have a cloud provider or a single throat to choke, or is this something that opens up? I’ve got a sneaking suspicion I am going to hear “It depends” here, Jim Stikeleather, but I am going to go with you anyway. Cloud: I can’t live with it, can’t live without it. How does it work?

Stikeleather: You’re right, it depends. I can argue both sides of the equation. On one side, I’ve argued that cloud can be much more secure. If you think about it, and I will pick on Google, Google can expend a lot more on security than any other company in the world, probably more than the federal government will spend on security. The amount of investment does not necessarily tie to a quality of investment, but one would hope that they will have a more secure environment than a regular company will have.

On the flip side, there are more tantalizing targets. Therefore they’re going to draw more sophisticated attacks. I’ve also argued that you have statistical probability of break-in. If somebody is trying to break into Google, and you’re own Google running Google Apps or something like that, the probability of them getting your specific information is much less than if they attack XYZ enterprise. If they break in there, they are going to get your stuff.

Recently I was meeting with a lot of NASA CIOs and they think that the cloud is actually probably a little bit more secure than what they can do individually. On the other side of the coin it depends on the vendor. I’ve always admired astronauts, because they’re sitting on top of this explosive device built by the lowest-cost provider. I’ve always thought that took more bravery than anybody could think of. So the other piece of that puzzle is how much is the cloud provider actually providing in terms of security.

You have to do your due diligence, like with everything else in the world. I believe, as we move forward, cloud is going to give us an opportunity to reinvent how we do security.

I’ve often argued that a lot of what we are doing in security today is fighting the last war, as opposed to fighting the current war. Cloud is going to introduce some new techniques and new capabilities. You’ll see more systemic approaches, because somebody like Google can’t afford to put in 150 different types of security. They will put one more integrated. They will put in, to Mary Ann’s point, the control panels and everything that we haven’t seen before.

So, you’ll see better security there. However, in the interim, a lot of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers, some of the simpler platform-as-a-service (PaaS) providers haven’t made that kind of investment. You’re probably not as secured in those environments.

Gardner: Mary Ann, do you also see cloud as a catalyst to a better security either from technology process or implementation?

Lowers the barrier

Mezzapelle: For the small and medium size business it offers the opportunity to be more secure, because they don’t necessarily have the maturity of processes and tools to be able to address those kinds of things. So, it lowers that barrier to entry for being secure.

For enterprise customers, cloud solutions need to develop and mature more. They may want to do with hybrid solution right now, where they have more control and the ability to audit and to

have more influence over things in specialized contracts, which are not usually the business model for cloud providers.

I would disagree with Jim in some aspects. Just because there is a large provider on the Internet that’s creating a cloud service, security may not have been the key guiding principle in developing a low-cost or free product. So, size doesn’t always mean secure.

You have to know about it, and that’s where the sophistication of the business user comes in, because cloud is being bought by the business user, not by the IT people. That’s another component that we need to make sure gets incorporated into the thinking.

Stikeleather: I am going to reinforce what Mary Ann said. What’s going on in cloud space is almost a recreation of the late ’70s and early ’80s when PCs came into organizations. It’s the businesspeople that are acquiring the cloud services and again reinforces the concept of governance and education. They need to know what is it that they’re buying.

I absolutely agree with Mary. I didn’t mean to imply size means more security, but I do think that the expectation, especially for small and medium size businesses, is they will get a more secure environment than they can produce for themselves.

Gardner: Jim Hietala, we’re hearing a lot about frameworks, and governance, and automation. Perhaps even labeling individuals with responsibility for security and we are dealing with some changeable dynamics that move to cloud and issues around cyber security in general, threats from all over. What is The Open Group doing? It sounds like a huge opportunity for you to bring some clarity and structure to how this is approached from a professional perspective, as well as a process and framework perspective?

Hietala: It is a big opportunity. There are a number of different groups within The Open Group doing work in various areas. The Jericho Forum is tackling identity issues as it relates to cloud computing. There will be some new work coming out of them over the next few months that lay out some of the tough issues there and present some approaches to those problems.

We also have the Trusted Technology Forum (TTF) and the Trusted Technology Provider Framework (TTPF) that are being announced here at this conference. They’re looking at supply chain issues related to IT hardware and software products at the vendor level. It’s very much an industry-driven initiative and will benefit government buyers, as well as large enterprises, in terms of providing some assurance of products they’re procuring are secure and good commercial products.

Also in the Security Forum, we have a lot of work going on in security architecture and information security management. There are a number projects that are aimed at practitioners, providing them the guidance they need to do a better job of securing, whether it’s a traditional enterprise, IT environment, cloud and so forth. Our Cloud Computing Work Group is doing work on a cloud security reference architecture. So, there are number of different security activities going on in The Open Group related to all this.

Gardner: What have you seen in a field in terms of a development of what we could call a security professional? We’ve seen Chief Security Officer, but is there a certification aspect to identifying people as being qualified to step in and take on some of these issues?

Certification programs

Hietala: There are a number of certification programs for security professionals that exist out there. There was legislation, I think last year, that was proposed that was going to put some requirements at the federal level around certification of individuals. But, the industry is fairly well-served by the existing certifications that are out there. You’ve got CISSP, you’ve got a number of certification from SANS and GIAC that get fairly specialized, and there are lots of opportunities today for people to go out and get certifications in improving their expertise in a given topic.

Gardner: My last question will go to you on this same issue of certification. If you’re on the business side and you recognize these risks and you want to bring in the right personnel, what would you look for? Is there a higher level of certification or experience? How do you know when you’ve got a strategic thinker on security, Mary Ann?

Mezzapelle: The background that Jim talked about CISSP, CSSLP from (ISC)2, there is also the CISM or Certified Information Security Manager that’s from an audit point of view, but I don’t think there’s a certification that’s going to tell you that they’re a strategic thinker. I started out as a technologist, but it’s that translation to the business and it’s that strategic planning, but applying it to a particular area and really bringing it back to the fundamentals.

Gardner: Does this become then part of enterprise architecture (EA)?

Mezzapelle: It is a part of EA, and, as Jim talked, about we’ve done some work on The Open Group with Information Security Management model that extend some of other business frameworks like ITIL into the security space to have a little more specificity there.

Gardner: Last word to you, Jim Stikeleather, on this issue of how do you get the right people in the job and is this something that should be part and parcel with the enterprise or business architect?

Stikeleather: I absolutely agree with what Mary Ann said. It’s like a CPA. You can get a CPA and they know certain things, but that doesn’t guarantee that you’ve got a businessperson. That’s where we are with security certifications as well. They give you a comfort level that the fundamental knowledge of the issues and the techniques and stuff are there, but you still need someone who has experience.

At the end of the day it’s the incorporation of everything into EA, because you can’t bolt on security. It just doesn’t work. That’s the situation we’re in now. You have to think in terms of the framework of the information that the company is going to use, how it’s going to use it, the value that’s associated with it, and that’s the definition of EA.

Gardner: Well, great. We have been discussing the business risk around cyber security threats and how to perhaps position yourself to do a better job and anticipate some of the changes in the field. I’d like to thank our panelists. We have been joined by Jim Hietala, Vice President of Security for The Open Group. Thank you, Jim.

Hietala: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: Mary Ann Mezzapelle, Chief Technologist in the Office of the CTO for HP. Thank you.

Mezzapelle: Thanks, Dana.

Gardner: And lastly, Jim Stikeleather,Chief Innovation Officer at Dell Services. Thank you.

Stikeleather: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: This is Dana Gardner. You’ve been listening to a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast in conjunction with The Open Group Conference here in San Diego, the week of February 7th, 2011. I want to thank all for joining and come back next time.

Copyright The Open Group and Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.

Dana Gardner is the Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, which identifies and interprets the trends in Services-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and enterprise software infrastructure markets. Interarbor Solutions creates in-depth Web content and distributes it via BriefingsDirectblogs, podcasts and video-podcasts to support conversational education about SOA, software infrastructure, Enterprise 2.0, and application development and deployment strategies.

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Cloud Computing & Enterprise Architecture

By Balasubramanian Somasundram, Honeywell Technology Solutions Ltd.

What is the impact on Enterprise Architecture with the introduction of Cloud Computing and SaaS?

One word – ‘Serious’.

Here is my perspective.

On the first look, it may seem like Enterprise Architecture is irrelevant in a company if your complete IT is running on Cloud Computing, SaaS and outsourcing/offshoring. I was of the same opinion last year. However, it is not the case. In fact, the complexity is going to get multiplied.

We have moved from monolithic systems to client-server to tiered architectures. With SOA comes the truly distributed architecture. And with Cloud Computing and SaaS, we are moving to “Globally Decentralized/Distributed Architecture”.

With global distribution, we will be able to compose business processes out of services from SalesForce.com, Services running on Azure/Amazon and host the resulting composite in another cloud platform. Does that sound too cool and flexible! Of course. But it is also exponentially complex to manage in the long run!

Some of the challenges: What are the failure modes in these global composites? Can we optimize the attributes of those composites? How do we trace/troubleshoot, version control these composites? What are the foreseeable security threats in these global platforms?

Integration between these huge Clouds/SaaS platforms? – Welcome to the world of software-intensive, Massive System of Systems! :-)

If the first-generation EA guided us in dealing with System of Systems within an Enterprise, the next generation EA should help us in addressing ‘Massive System of Systems’.

With this new complexity, not only Enterprise Architecture gets necessary, but becomes absolutely critical in the IT ecosystem.

Enterprise Architecture and Cloud Computing will be topics of discussion at The Open Group India Conference in Chennai (March 7), Hyderabad (March 9) and Pune (March 11). Join us for best practices and case studies in the areas of Enterprise Architecture, Security, Cloud Computing and Certification, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Balasubramanian Somasundaram is an Enterprise Architect with Honeywell Technology Solutions Ltd, Bangalore, a division of Honeywell Inc, USA. Bala has been with Honeywell Technology Solutions for the past five years and contributed in several technology roles. His current responsibilities include Architecture/Technology Planning and Governance, Solution Architecture Definition for business-critical programs, and Technical oversight/Review for programs delivered from Honeywell IT India center. With more than 12 years of experience in the IT services industry, Bala has worked with variety of technologies with a focus on IT architecture practice.  His current interests include Enterprise Architecture, Cloud Computing and Mobile Applications. He periodically writes about emerging technology trends that impact the Enterprise IT space on his blog. Bala holds a Master of Science in Computer Science from MKU University, India.

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World-class EA

By Mick Adams, Capgemini UK

World-class Enterprise Architecture is all about creating definitive collateral that defines how the architecture delivers value for societal value.

I know that’s a big, bold claim, but there’re enough dreamers and doers that are making this happen right now. World-class EA tackles big industry issues and offers big, brave solutions. The Open Group has already published several whitepapers at on this… banking, anyone? no problem… public services? Absolutely. World-class EA tackles these industry verticals and a bunch of others to describe a truly holistic model that unlocks value. Take a look at the World Class EA White Paper available in The Open Group’s online bookstore. Highlights of the whitepaper include:

  • Selection of industry drivers and potential architecture response
  • Suggested maturity model to calibrate organizations
  • Example of applying a maturity rating
  • Set of templates and suggested diagrams to provision TOGAF® 9 content

The work is ongoing; it’s not definitive yet. We are looking for more problem definitions and solutions to drive a collective global mindset forward to ensure that IT delivers benefits across the entire value chain. If we agree on what the problems are, prioritize and work on them in a wholly collegiate manner, the industry is in a better place as a consequence. My view is that The Open Group is the only viable platform to provision BIG IT to industry and society.

The Open Group India is running an event soon that I’m hoping will further refine world-class EA. The IT industry in India is flying red hot, and thriving at the moment. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of the boldest and most innovative entrepreneurial people in the world that happen to come from India. There is an absolute passion for learning and contribution on the sub continent like no other. At The Open Group India event, we will discuss:

  • Defining the BIG IT topics for today
  • Insights about IT and EA
  • Providing/provisioning demonstrable value to make a difference

The countdown has begun to The Open Group India Conference. If you want to know what’s happening in architecture right now, or want to influence what could happen to our industry in India or globally, come along.

World-class EA will be a topic of discussion at The Open Group India Conference in Chennai (March 7), Hyderabad (March 9) and Pune (March 11). Join us for best practices and case studies in the areas of Enterprise Architecture, Security, Cloud and Certification, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

As a member of Capgemini global architecture leadership, Mick Adams has been involved in the development of some of the world’s largest enterprise architectures and has managed Capgemini contributions to The Open Group Architecture Forum for over two years. He has wide industry experience but his architecture work is currently focused on Central Government(s) and oil super-majors.

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What’s the use of getting certified?

By Mieke Mahakena, Capgemini

After a day discussing business architecture methods and certification at The Open Group Conference in San Diego last week, I had to step back and consider if what I have been doing was still adding value. It seems to me that there is still much resistance against certification. “I don’t need to be certified; I have my college degree.” Or, “I have so much experience. Why should I need to prove anything?”

But let me ask you a question. Suppose you need to have surgery. The surgeon tells you that he hasn’t got a medical license, but you shouldn’t worry because he is so experienced. Would you let him perform surgery on you? I wouldn’t! So, if we expect others to be able to prove their skills before we hire them to work for us, shouldn’t the same apply to business architects? In our profession, mistakes can have severe consequences. As such, it is only reasonable for customers to demand some kind of impartial proof of our professional skills.

To become a good surgeon you not only need good education, you need a lot of practical experience as well. The same goes for the IT and architecture profession: Your skills develop with every new practical experience. This brings us to the importance of the ITAC or ITSC certifications. Both programs define the skills necessary for a certain profession and use a well-defined certification process to ensure that the candidate has the experience needed to develop those skills.

During The Open Group India Conference in March, you will be able to learn more about these certification programs and find out if they can bring value to you and your organization.

Certification will be a topic of discussion at The Open Group India Conference in Chennai (March 7), Hyderabad (March 9) and Pune (March 11). Join us for best practices and case studies in the areas of Enterprise Architecture, Security, Cloud and Certification, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Find out more about the ITSC program by joining our webinar on Thursday, March 3.

Mieke Mahakena is an architect and architecture trainer at Capgemini Academy and label lead for the architecture training portfolio. She is the chair of the Business Forum at The Open Group, working on business architecture methods and certification. She is based in the Netherlands.

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