I was reading Reuven Cohen's "Elastic Vapor: Life In the Cloud Blog" yesterday and he wrote an interesting piece on what is being coined "Fraud as a Service." Basically, Reuven describes the rise of botnets as the origin of "cloud" based service utilities as chronicled from Uri Rivner's talk at RSA Europe:
The one sentence that really clicked for me was the following:
One of the obvious benefits of cloud computing is the distribution of applications, services and information. The natural by-product of this is additional resiliency from operational downtime caused by error or malicious activity.
This benefit is a also a forcing function; it will require new security methodologies and technology to allow the security (policies) to travel with the applications and data as well as enforce it.
I wrote about this concept back in 2007 as part of my predictions for 2008 and highlighted it again in a post titled: "Thinning the Herd and Chlorinating the Malware Gene Pool" based on some posts by Andy Jaquith:
Grid and distributed utility computing models will start to creep into security
A really interesting by-product of the "cloud compute" model is that as data, storage, networking, processing, etc. get distributed, so shall security. In the grid model, one doesn't care where the actions take place so long as service levels are met and the experiential and business requirements are delivered. Security should be thought of in exactly the same way.
The notion that you can point to a physical box and say it performs function 'X' is so last Tuesday. Virtualization already tells us this. So, imagine if your security processing isn't performed by a monolithic appliance but instead is contributed to in a self-organizing fashion wherein the entire ecosystem (network, hosts, platforms, etc.) all contribute in the identification of threats and vulnerabilities as well as function to contain, quarantine and remediate policy exceptions.
Sort of sounds like that "self-defending network" schpiel, but not focused on the network and with common telemetry and distributed processing of the problem.
Check out Red Lambda's cGrid technology for an interesting view of this model.
This basically means that we should distribute the sampling, detection and prevention functions across the entire networked ecosystem, not just to dedicated security appliances; each of the end nodes should communicate using a standard signaling and telemetry protocol so that common threat, vulnerability and effective disposition can be communicated up and downstream to one another and one or more management facilities.
It will be interesting to watch companies, established and emerging, grapple with this new world.