Inside Advanced Scale Challenges|Thursday, November 23, 2017
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AWS Stresses ‘Security by Design,’ DevOps Freedom 

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Citing its "mind-blowing" impact on the IT industry, Amazon's CTO argued that the cloud is emerging as the "new normal" for digital enterprises while providing developers with resources designed to get applications and services out the door faster.

"Public cloud is the place you go if you want to build new IT" along with new capabilities and functionality for customers, Werner Vogels told this year's AWS public sector summit in Washington, DC. The public cloud powerhouse asserts an irreversible trend has emerged over the last few years in which more enterprises are "migrating en masse" functionality from their datacenters to the public cloud.

The cloud migration is being driven by the ability to scale cloud operations and control costs along with steadily improving performance along with higher availability and security, Vogels asserted in a keynote address.

Among the outcomes of the cloud migration has been the unshackling of embattled developers. "Developers felt liberated," the AWS executive said. "I have heard from many customers around the world that developer productivity has increased tremendously," doubling and tripling because DevOps teams no longer have to wait for computing and storage resources.

"It is as if developers have been given superpowers," Vogels declared.

Amazon CTO Werner Vogels

AWS (NASDAQ: AMZN), which provides cloud services to the U.S. intelligence apparatus, also came the nation's capital last week to emphasize cloud security as more government agencies and corporations struggle with sophisticated cyber attacks.

"It's clear to us that for many of our customers security is becoming the main priority," Vogel said. "There is no line in the sand that says, 'This is good enough security.'"

The AWS pitch includes both "operational security" in the cloud along with security tools cloud customers can use to beef up internal cyber defenses. Those tools also cover compliance with data and privacy regulations as well as managing identity and network access guidelines.

The cloud giant is betting that the embrace of agile development methods where new code is constantly being deployed will create new enterprise requirement for tools used monitor compliance once new code is rolled out.

As the frequency and sophistication of malware and other cyber attacks increases, AWS is among the cloud providers urging developers to design security into distributed applications. "Security is not something you can sprinkle over [applications and services] afterwards, it's not a firewall," Vogels stressed. "We protect individual building blocks, and as such you need to do this by design."

The sheer volume of attacks is prompting AWS and other cloud vendors to emphasize "security by design." According to Vogels, the city of Los Angeles alone withstands an estimated 180 million cyber attacks per day.

Hence, AWS makes heavy use of data encryption in services like its Redshift data warehouse service. As more enterprise data moves to public clouds, cyber security specialists are counseling banks and other customers to encrypt data before moving it to the cloud and retaining control of encryption keys. A growing list of banks has recently announced plans to encrypt data to boost cyber security as well as ensuring compliance with stricter privacy rules.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 25 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as Executive Editor for Electronic Engineering Times.

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