Send in the cloud
The sky’s the limit, so to speak, when it comes to the use of the cloud. Tagged by some as revolutionary, the cloud—or the storage bin for massive amounts of data over the Internet—has churned out lots of apps and software that have transformed lives for the better.
But can it also be used for the bad?
During the Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent Conference in Las Vegas in December, AWS chief executive Andy Jassy was asked: “There’s a lot of talk about using technology for the good … How do you make sure that it’s not being used for the evil?”
The cloud is so pervasive that anyone can use it for as long as a great idea emerges—think Netflix or mobile wallets—but then there are those who use it for other means, say for money laundering or election tampering (See related story on page B2-2).
Like in any organization, there will always be bad actors, Jassy answered. “The key is, if you are aware of somebody who is using the service in such a way that violate our terms of service, then you shut them down. That’s what we’ve done and we have people who are not shy about telling us if they believe that somebody is using our platform to do something inappropriate. When we hear about it we investigate it quickly.”
In an email correspondence with Inquirer, AWS head of security architecture in the Asean region Myles Hosford said security would always be top priority for AWS.
“AWS uses the same secure hardware and software to build and operate each of our regions, so all of our customers benefit from the only commercial cloud that has had its service offerings and associated supply chain vetted and accepted as secure enough for top-secret workloads. This is backed by a deep set of cloud security tools, with more than 200 security, compliance, and governance services and key features,” he said.
In the Philippines, agencies and companies relevant in nation development require servers such as the cloud. Take for instance the Bureau of Customs. Surely, an agency that processes about 12,000 import and export transactions every day would need a secure cloud to make its operations precise and efficient.
“AWS has a shared responsibility model with the customer, which means AWS manages and controls the components from the host operating system and virtualization layer down to the physical security of the facilities in which the services operate, and AWS customers are responsible for building secure applications,” he said.
In fact, privacy and hacking issues are the very same problems that the cloud wants to remediate.
In a separate interview with Philippine reporters back in December, Stratpoint Technologies chief executive Mary Rose dela Cruz said: “It’s also an opportunity for us [to resolve tech issues such as data hacking] because we provide security services, so things like penetration testing is one of our services. That’s kind of like ethical hacking. So, we will try to penetrate [a system] and hack and expose all the vulnerabilities.”
Stratpoint is a software solutions provider and has created apps and designed technological remedies for local clients such as Union Bank, Globe Telecom and ABS-CBN as well as Silicon Valley companies.
Hosford said the cloud, even if it is already being used by the good guys, has yet to reach full potential.
“New technology should not be banned or condemned because of its potential misuse. Instead, there should be open, honest and earnest dialogue among all parties involved to ensure that the technology is applied appropriately and is continuously enhanced,” he said. INQ