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New model to improve security of cloud computing

Cloud computing is a type of internet-based computing that provides shared computer processing resources and data to computers and other devices on demand. For the typical user, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of a computer’s hard drive. While the use of a cloud gives considerable flexibility, it can be more prone to hacks and data breaches.

The idea of using a cellular structure to protect cloud computing systems comes from Pete Kofod, who founded a company called The Sixth Flag. Koford has communicated with Digital Journal about his alternative approach. The need for a new approach arose from Kofod’s frustration with current computer and on-line security approaches. According to Koford, the computer industry’s response to increasingly advanced and persistent security threats has been to continue to focus on hardening single points of failure, such as central authentication systems (in other words a single sign-on protocol for the web).

According to Koford, focusing on the source is a worthwhile approach, but it represents just one activity and it carries the risk of eventual compromise. “It’s not good enough to harden a system against an attack,” Kofod explains. “You must also have a process that contains the effects of an inevitable breach.”

Breaches happen, Kofod explains, due to a paradox in cloud computing systems. He explains this as: “If the systems that employ multiple layers of security all rely on the same single ‘Central Authentication’ mechanism, the question that never gets asked is whether those systems actually provide independent layers of defense, or ‘Defense in Depth.’ This is not an academic exercise. Recognizing the criticality of authentication systems, attackers have spent significant resources on compromising them, often successfully.”

Due to these vulnerabilities, Kofod has adopted a different approach called ‘cell structure security.’ Kofod outlines the main features in the following video:

With this Kofod outlines the basis of the cell approach: “Should the cell be compromised, the parent organization immediately isolates and collapses it. This is a concept regularly employed in clandestine warfare.”

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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