Welcome!

Open Source Cloud Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez, Jeev Trika, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Article

The TPM, Trust and the Cloud: Making Trust Real

The journey towards higher cloud security begins with the first step of establishing a foundation

As one of the hottest trends going in the information/computing world, how do the requirements for cloud security relate to the security concerns that enterprises have been addressing prior to the uptick in cloud computing? While the cloud is a relatively new area for concern, improved security has been a hot button for organizations of all size for well over a decade.

The cloud continues to evolve with various services and models including externally hosted public cloud services such as Amazon, independently hosted cloud services by an enterprise or third party that are either outside the firewall or inside the firewall (private cloud services), and a hybrid of private/internal and public/external models. On the surface, the different models might appear to have different privacy, access control and data protection issues. However, compliance issues and business data leakage out of any of these clouds pose problems for an organization similar to ones that existed prior to working in the cloud.

No matter which cloud services or model is pursued, security improvements should be among the criteria on the "must have" list. Issues to consider include: hardware versus software-based security, hardware activation, known users, known machines, accessing both data and application services, data protection and compliance, and protecting the service provider's agreement for controlled user access. For data leakage and access control, authorization to access information from the cloud, whether it's an application or an application with data, requires a trusted endpoint to ensure strong authentication and knowledge of who is accessing the cloud service and the data hosted by the cloud service. In fact, a trusted endpoint is part of the solution for addressing all of the issues. One solution involves implementing the Trusted Platform Module (TPM), a widely available security chip that already resides in most business PCs. This standard-based hardware component provides stronger security than software-only approaches that can be stolen, hacked, impersonated or worse, causing security breaches and business disruption.

Hardware-Based Trust
Developed by the Trusted Computing Group (TCG), the TPM is a standard for providing a hardware-based root of trust for computing and other systems. Unlike other hardware token security tools that are available in USB, key fob, and smart card type products, the standards-based TPM is typically an application-specific integrated (ASIC) available from multiple sources to ensure a highly competitive and readily available component installed in the computer when it was manufactured. TPM capability also can be integrated into chipsets, Ethernet controllers, and the like. To date, it has been is estimated that 200-300 million TPMs have shipped in enterprise PCs based on these standards.

The open standards-based approach provides a low-cost, flexible solution from multiple sources with a higher adoption rate and extensive support from over 100 technology companies in the industry across the globe. International governments have already adopted or plan to adopt the TPM as the standard for authentication. If these governments pursue cloud services, they will not proceed without a similar strong authentication methodology - and they will not implement proprietary technology.

Although inside the computer, the TPM needs to be activated by the user to enable its ability to improve security. Once the TPM is activated, users can more securely store and manage keys and passwords as well as easily encrypt files, folders and email. The TPM allows multi-factor authentication to be based on hardware vs. the simple password in software. For multi-factor authentication requirements, the TPM complements fingerprint readers, PKI, certificates and smart cards.

Dual-Level Identification & Authentication
As a hardware item inside the computer, the TPM allows the identification of the machine as well as the user.

This elevates the sign-on process to two-factor or dual-level authentication: the user through their passwords and the second through the machine itself or the machine's authentication to a service. The approach provides a significant increase in security, especially when compared to single-factor software-only approaches.

With its secure storage for a credential or critical piece of information, the TPM also provides the ability for a multi-use module where multiple users employ the machine's TPM for machine authentication and each user authenticates to the machine. A user could have a single sign-on to different services but would still have to authenticate to the machine. Once the user has authenticated to the machine, the machine can release credentials.

The layers of authentication, where the machine is known by the cloud and the machine has a relationship with the user, significantly enhance cloud security. This process provides a chain of trust for machine-to-machine connectivity so that only known machines and known users obtain access to applications and data. Implementing this dual-level authentication solves one of the most frequently discussed cloud issues - specifically knowing the users and machines that are connected to the cloud service.

Integrating Solutions
The TPM's hardware-based security can easily integrate with software security identification (ID) standards for federated ID management such as OpenID, Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML), WS (Web Services) - Federation and others. For example, OpenID is an industry standard protocol for communication or authentication at the service level. Over 20,000 service providers support OpenID as a software token. Figure 1 shows the process for cloud access based on the two-level authentication and an identity service that uses OpenID.

Figure 1: Improved cloud security requires a hardware-based TPM token to ensure machine integrity.
Source: id.wave.com.

A cloud service can use the TPM binding an OpenID certificate to the TPM for strong machine authentication to their service. This provides not only the identity of the client but could provide a health measure as well. The service could measure the health of the client, verify a relationship, and then provide the appropriate access. This also allows multiple users per client because the machine has a relationship with the service and multiple users have relationships with the machine. The process extends the security approach across different use models.

SAML, WS-Federation and other software identification standards can be implemented in a similar manner for establishing a known identity for cloud access. The essential element for sharing an identity is a trustworthy endpoint. In all of these cases, the TPM provides the base level, the foundation of trust.

Summary
The hardware-based security model that has been described supports cloud-based private/internal, public/external and hybrid combinations of both as well as traditional IT managed networks. This allows a reuse of the security technology for minimizing costs, including the reuse of corporate client policies. The alternative is continuing on the same path of software-only authentication. However, software in the computer can be hacked, impersonated, stolen, or victimized by the malicious software it is attempting to stop. This is the same model that is broken inside the enterprise today.

Once hardware-based access is implemented for machine authentication, it enables the use of other industry standards-based tools for self-encrypting drives (SEDs) and trusted network connect (TNC). These added tools can address the data leakage problem that may result from storing the data accessed from the cloud on a user's client. The journey towards higher cloud security begins with the first step of establishing a foundation by implementing the hardware-based security of the TPM.

More Stories By Brian Berger

Brian Berger is an executive vice president for Wave Systems Corp. He manages the business, strategy and marketing functions including product management, marketing and sales direction for the company. He has been involved in security products for a number of years including work with embedded hardware, client/server applications, PKI and biometrics. He has worked in the computer industry for 20 years and has held several senior level positions in multinational companies. Berger holds two patents and has two pending patents for security products and commerce transactions capabilities using security technology. He has a bachelors of arts degree from California State University, Northridge and attended Harvard Business School, Executive Education.

Berger is Promoter member Wave’s representative to the TCG board of directors and chairs the Trusted Computing Group’s marketing work group, where he leads strategy and implementation of the organization’s marketing and communications programs. He has spoken at a number of RSA conferences, the IT Roadmap events, CTIA and a number of other industry events.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device. For more information, please visit https://www.mangoapps.com/.
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for companies, and it’s imperative that brands seamlessly connect the customer journey across all platforms. With the continued explosion of IoT, join us for a look at how to build a winning digital foundation in the connected era – today and in the future. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Nguyen, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how to successfully leverage mobile, rapidly deploy content, capture real-time d...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
SYS-CON Events announced today Object Management Group® has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobile software company with over 200 develope...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, will discuss the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to fo...