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Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Joseph Beal, Chief Information Security Officer of CCSi (Part 4)

Posted on Thursday, Oct 18th 2012

Sramana Mitra: What open problems or gaps do you see that are not addressed today?

Joseph Beal: One of the major issues we’re having, if you go back to BYOD [bring your own device], and the influx of mobile applications that people want, you’ll see. Look at the smartphone. It’s basically got applications you can use even if you want to manage your bank account. If you want to manage parking in D.C., we have an app now that you can download and say, “I’m parking here. I’ll pay for that automatically.”

From a security perspective, I think the focus is going to be on mobile app security. If you look at how they’re providing virtualization with data centers, how the cloud is virtualized, and the reason services that at one point could only be provided through a desktop … taking all of these into account, plus the mobile market, the increase of security in that mobile space, means that being able to provide security would be paramount. That’s a huge win-win for anyone coming into the market.

I also see that there are a lot of systems that have multiple aspects to them. I’m talking about the UTM boxes, the ones that do all in one. Well, do something very good and sell that. Sell that aspect, then as you provide that service to the government, expand. All too often, everybody tries to bunch multiple services, applications, or solutions into one box. We’ve all seen that one box doesn’t solve the problem. One application’s not going to solve the problem.

If you look at the government, it’s going to find new and inventive ways to expand or innovate systems it already has in place. It’s thus a great time for the system integrator, the person who can come in and address that content or come in and help expand the reach of the technology that’s already in place. That’s going to be the person who succeeds.

SM: What about small, innovative companies? Do you see companies that are interesting?

JB: There are a lot of companies we’re looking at. I don’t know if I’m able to talk about them, but I can say that the company that meets the open standards requirement, meaning it has proprietary software but can have some kind of open architecture to allow for integration of the systems, as well as a company that provides the best return on investment for the government and understands what the government’s performance model is – that is the kind of company we’re moving toward.

We’re coming from a reactive state to more of a continuous, real-time compliance state.

SM: Would you like to add anything?

JB: I just want to add that as companies begin to work with the government in my space, I can see that defining service level agreements (SLAs) or making sure they understand their client before walking in the door is of the utmost importance. By this I mean understanding the government model. There may be push back on moving a lot of systems to the cloud because of loss of control and providing tools as those government customers move into the cloud. Basic management tools or even tools that manage the devices are coming in that may be untrusted at first, such as smartphones.  These are going to be niche areas that will be at the top of the heap in the near future.

SM: OK. Thank you, Joe, for taking the time.

JB: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak with you.

This segment is part 4 in the series : Thought Leaders in Cloud Computing: Joseph Beal, Chief Information Security Officer of CCSi
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