Cloud or Not? Fighting Words for Sure

March 5, 2021

I read “SolarWinds Hack Pits Microsoft against Dell, IBM over How Companies Store Data.” Ah, ha, a dispute with no clear resolution. The write up suggests that some big dogs in technology will be fighting over the frightened gazelles. Will the easily frightened commercial buyers take off when the word “cloud” is voiced. Or, will the sheep-inspired animals head for the perceived security of computers in the farm house?

The write up states:

[The dispute over where to put data] pits Microsoft Corp., which is urging clients to rely on cloud-computing systems, against others including Dell Technologies Inc. and International Business Machines Corp., who argue customers want to mix the cloud with the more traditional on-premise data-storage systems in a construct called hybrid-cloud.

Do you want pickle on top of a hamburger or underneath the juicy patty? Which method? Come on. Decide.

The write up reports:

Microsoft, one of the world’s biggest cloud vendors, has said cloud services offer customers the most robust data protection. A mixed approach “creates an additional seam that organizations need to secure. A consequence of this decision is that if the on-premises environment is compromised, this creates opportunities for attackers to target cloud services,” Microsoft said in a blog post on its investigation of the hack.  The notion that the hybrid cloud is less secure is inaccurate, said Paul Cormier, chief executive of Red Hat, the business IBM acquired two years ago in part in a bet on the growing demand for hybrid cloud services. “Any software could get broken into. The cloud providers could get broken into as well,” he told The Wall Street Journal.

Plus the article points out:

Microsoft itself was a victim in the attack and had some of its source code used to write software downloaded. The hackers viewed software linked to Microsoft’s Azure cloud, the company said. Mr. Smith, at the Senate hearing on the hack on Tuesday, called for a “full examination of what other cloud services and networks the Russians have accessed.”

I don’t think any computer data are secure, but that’s just me. Here in Harrod’s Creek, professional etch secrets on lumps of boghead. Once the message has been read, one burns it. Good for secrecy, not so good for the environment.

Who will win this battle? The key is marketing. Security is a slippery fish particularly when the boats are owned by Dell, IBM, and Microsoft. The SolarWinds’ attack exploited the cloud and on premises devices. How does one spell “insider threat”? One can unplug computing devices. Put them in a locked room. Don’t let anyone enter the room. Is that a solution?

Stephen E Arnold, March 5, 2021

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