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Cloud Security: Article

Cyber Safety & Climate Change

As more organizations move to virtualized computer services and cloud computing, secure authentication access is vital

Secure authentication access will become even more paramount as more organizations move to virtualized computer services and hosted applications i.e. cloud computing.

Continued lapses in network security are holding back more activities being conducted online, poor security leads to distrust and this stifles adoption of technological change. If cyber security is better designed it will increase user certainty and it will result in greater use of the internet and better accumulation of skills by users and foster changes in user habits and the way commerce is undertaken. There will be a greater adoption of new methods of communication which will greatly assist the planet in reducing the requirements for people to travel unnecessarily.

This can’t happen to soon, if climate experts are to be believed, it is a matter of urgency. Even if they are not to be believed the fact is that at the current increasing rates of energy consumption and prices and projected shortages are going to eventually dictate changes if technological developments in renewable and efficient energy use are not developed fast enough. It will just then be a question of whether we tackle those problems in the context of a significantly degraded environment.

At present armies of people travel each day from their homes to various places of work in metropolitan regions all over the world many in private motor vehicles. Sadly governments have been ploughing huge investments into infrastructure to cope with this traffic demand that could be used to invest in the infrastructure that will be required in the future, for example better communications and public transport. Many of these people are white collar workers doing jobs on computers or using paper based systems or a combination of both that could well be done from their own residence without the need for travel to an office or meeting venue but only occur in this manner because organisations have yet to come to terms with controlling processes and protecting information in an online working environment.

Secure remote access is critical to the process and yet still today most remote access to information systems, processes, networks and applications are controlled by a user name that is not masked, a password that has insufficient controls and with no lockouts to prevent hacking attempts because to do so results in users being locked out when hacking attempts are made. Many organisations inadvertently publicise where their most valuable asset, their customers, logon and may unintentionally inconvenience and confuse their existing customers when running promotions to attract new customers and vice versa.

There are many client side solutions that purport to secure client computers for authentication but in truth most of these will not detect a compromised client device. Strength must come from a properly constructed set of routines that test the veracity of the person seeking to gain entry to the network the solution provided by Armorlog is the only solution for networks, computers and intelligent devices with a graphical user interface capability that does this.

If required, tokens or certificates can be an additional level of security however these are not practical in many circumstances and lead to additional costs of maintenance and device capability to cater for the additional system requirements. There is an ever increasing variety of operating systems on client equipment to cater for and when combined with the increasing numbers of updates it becomes unwieldy for system administrators. A solution such as Armorlogs’ that is server side based can alleviate this demand and will be of significant value for network administrators.

Secure authentication access will become even more paramount as more organizations move to virtualized computer services and hosted applications i.e. cloud computing. The challenge will be to operate systems that allow for memorable sets of access credentials that users can easily remember while having a system that is designed to deploy sufficient complexity and sophistication to deter hacking attacks. In doing this security will be improved and users and organisations will have more confidence to allow remote computing to be undertaken by more of their work force. If security is properly developed in authentication methods more purchasing will occur online reducing the need for travel. This may also facilitate more efficient goods transfer systems as transport logistics specialists may benefit from increasing outsourced volumes.

Collaboration for freight distribution may not come about by organisations acting alone it may be important that outsourcing for goods transportation is encouraged to facilitate maximum efficiency to assist in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Facilitating online commerce will assist in this process as businesses customer bases become more disparate it will necessitate the outsourcing of goods movements by more and more organisations which in turn will facilitate development of transport logistics. This will occur more quickly when online security is properly deployed and organisations can feel safe in decentralising information management processes & procedures and user can feel more confident in dealing with online merchants.

Improving computer, network and internet security will facilitate this and consequently will indirectly help to reduce pollution by creating a safer environment to encourage more commerce to be conducted online, resulting in more efficient use of transport. Obviously the improvement of security and safety on the internet is of paramount importance in any case but if climate scientists are correct then this is perhaps a more urgent task than might otherwise be apparent.

More Stories By Louis Leahy

Louis Leahy is the inventor of VPCSML, a new authentication technology, and a Director of the technology vendor Armorlog International Ltd. Leahy will be giving a talk about VPCSML at Worldcomp 2010 in Las Vegas on 13 July. More details about VPCSML can be obtained at www.amorlog.com.

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