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May 5, 2011

2:30
P.M.

Cloud computing: How secure is your data?

Total Responses: 11

About the hosts

About the host

Host: Francis deSouza

Francis deSouza

Francis deSouza is senior vice president of the Enterprise Security Group at Symantec. In this role he leads engineering, product management, field enablement, business development, and operations for Symantec's Endpoint Security and Management, Data Loss Prevention, and Information Risk Management businesses.

Most recently, deSouza served as senior vice president of Information Risk Management where he led Symantec's compliance and security management, messaging security, and archiving businesses. deSouza joined Symantec through the company's acquisition of IMlogic in February 2006.

At IMlogic, he was founder and chief executive officer, building the company into a recognized leader in the rapidly growing market for instant messaging security with more than 750 customers across 23 countries.

Prior to IMlogic, deSouza served as product unit manager at Microsoft, directing a team in the development of the enterprise real-time communications platform, including instant messaging, chat, Voice over IP and NetMeeting. Previously, he founded Flash Communications, which quickly emerged as a leader in the corporate instant messaging space and was acquired by Microsoft in 1998.

deSouza graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

About the topic

What exactly is cloud computing? And how can you keep your information secure? Join Symantec's Francis deSouza, senior vice president of the company's Enterprise Security group Thursday, May 5 at 2:30 p.m. ET, to chat about how cloud computing works and how safe your data really is.

Have a question? Ask now.
Q.

Hello everybody and welcome to this Live Chat on Cloud Security.  I am looking forward to your questions.  I'll try and type as fast as possible and hope to get to everyone.  Francis

Q.

Clouds

What exactly is cloud computing?
A.
Francis deSouza :

That's a great question.   Cloud computing covers a lot of areas.  At a top level, cloud computing is an approach to IT where many users (potentially even from different companies) get access to shared computing resources, rather than each having their own dedicated servers.  This offers many advantages including lower costs and getting up and running quickly. 

– May 05, 2011 2:34 PM
Q.

What is it?

I'm still trying to figure out what cloud computing is? Is it solely a function of Windows 7? How does it work and what is it used for?
A.
Francis deSouza :

Cloud computing is not a function of Windows 7.  It's a approach to deploying IT systems where many users have access to share computing resources such as software applications, servers, storage etc.  It is used to deliver IT at a lower cost and more flexibly.

 

– May 05, 2011 2:37 PM
Q.

Data Safety

Having confidential data on vendor premises without local backup - is it safe?
A.
Francis deSouza :

There have been a number of high profile incidents recently where some of the largest cloud providers have had outages and some even lost data.  This underscores the fact that, if you have important data, it is important to build in backup, security and disaster recovery capabilities.  This could be on your own site or at another cloud provider.

– May 05, 2011 2:40 PM
Q.

My head is in the clouds

I am confused by what cloud even is. It is was explained to me that I am on flickr and other things, so I am already on the cloud? Yes, I think, but isn't that also known as "the Internet"? What distinguishes "the cloud" from having things on the Internet? I obviously am confused.
A.
Francis deSouza :

Internet based software applications, such as flickr, are definitely one type of "cloud" (known in the industry as SaaS or software-as-a-service).  Another type of "cloud" is the private cloud, where IT departments in companies, will share computer resources across many applications and employees.

– May 05, 2011 2:44 PM
Q.

IS, Reputation,and ERM

How does information security play into an overall enterprise-wide risk management program? How can we fit IS and IT into exisiting ERM and RM programs?
A.
Francis deSouza :

As some of the recent data breaches and outages have shown, IT/IS risk is an important component of the overall enterprise risk.  Many companies today are using tools to explicitly assess their IT risk across a number of dimensions - technology, people and processes - and then feed this IT risk assessment into their overall enterprise management work. 

– May 05, 2011 2:49 PM
Q.

Can you explain the types of encryption relating to cloud computing and what is the 99.99% secure way to do it for cloud computing?

Also, I noticed Amazon does not include any real technical details about their cloud, so I have to assume nothing is encrypted, especially if you upload your stuff to their cloud. Shouldn't there be warnings/disclosures required when you are basically giving away your data like that?

A.
Francis deSouza :

Amazon does recommend encrypting data before it is moved into their AWS cloud. The advantage is that a company or individual maintains control over their encryption keys – and thus the access to their data. This does however require additional effort on companies using AWS resources ; encryption products like PGP help solve this problem.

– May 05, 2011 2:50 PM
Q.

Personal computer users

I read your explanation and I sort of understand it. As a personal consumer and not a company, how might this affect me, or does it not affect me?

A.
Francis deSouza :

Cloud computing is good for consumers because it means that they will be able to access more and more capabilities directly from websites online , rather than having to buy software and install the software on their computers at home.  For example, for years people had to buy tax preparation software like TurboTax and install it at home.  Today Intuit (the company that makes TurboTax) also provides this capability as a "cloud offering" on their website, and consumers can use it without having to install anything at home.   

– May 05, 2011 2:55 PM
Q.

Federal Cloud

What is your opinon of FED RAMP? -- do you think federal standards will lead to commercial community?
A.
Francis deSouza :

I am supportive of efforts like FedRAMP -- The Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program or FedRAMP and it has the potential to help the commercial sector too.

– May 05, 2011 3:00 PM
Q.

Data security

How is data security in a cloud environment better than the poor security of other remote access setups like online banking?
A.
Francis deSouza :

Data security in the cloud is a critical concern for any individual or company looking to take advantage of cloud applications or storage. Encryption is the most important technology used to protect data stored in the cloud. Many cloud storage platforms provide some encryption as part of their solution. Companies looking to get more control over their data often encrypt the data before it’s moved to the cloud – especially any data that is considered sensitive.

– May 05, 2011 3:00 PM
Q.

Better?

How is data security in a cloud environment better than the poor security of other remote access setups like online banking?

A.
Francis deSouza :

Data security in the cloud is a critical concern for any individual or company looking to take advantage of cloud applications or storage. Encryption is the most important technology used to protect data stored in the cloud. Many cloud storage platforms provide some encryption as part of their solution. Companies looking to get more control over their data often encrypt the data before it’s moved to the cloud – especially any data that is considered sensitive.

– May 05, 2011 4:03 PM
Q.

Francis deSouza :

Thanks for chatting with us today!

Q.

 

A.
Host: