Caring About The Client End Point In A Cloud

Caring About The Client End Point In A Cloud

CloudTweaks Comic #100 - David Fletcher

In a cloud infrastructure, should one care about the client end point?  One of the key enabling factors for the enterprise mobility of an organization is the cloud-technology-based model. However, most of the real access is from practical devices such as smartphones, desktop PCs, etc. However, since the applications are stored and delivered through the cloud, these end-point devices largely become insignificant.

However, if you’re really serious about securing the cloud, then there is an increased need to secure mobile devices as well. These can be termed as access points to the real cloud. Also, from an end-user perspective, the actual difference between a mobile device and the cloud is almost lost. These are actually conflicting messages that are basically a result of productivity colliding with security. This can also be seen as a security against performance conflict. In real terms, we know which wins that conflict more than often than not. However, the problem is that many people try to deal with this conflict with an either/or approach, which is perhaps harmful. Based on the end point, people try to answer this question with an allow/deny approach, while ignoring the other end of the funnel – the application or resource in question.

Just like the two sides of a coin, the client and the resource go together, hand-in-hand. The answer to the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) strategy should be based not on the question of whether or not Z is able to access the network, but on the question, whether Z is allowed access to this resource. These are perhaps important decisions to make for business owners getting into these kinds of conflicts. SaaS can be taken as a good example in this context, where data is always stored in the database or actually on the server, rather than by the client program itself. Therefore, we must not disallow access from mobile devices such as the iPad, etc., over any such network. However, there are many who do not like leaving the office premises with their confidential data on a mobile device, especially when there is a high risk involved and they are not able to compensate data loss in the event of a theft.

The real point is that this BYOD policy is not quite so simple – there are complex elements associated with it. There are people who prefer mobility and would like to carry their mobile devices with them. Here, there is a to security if the cloud actually sits on those devices. However, in practice the cloud server infrastructure is quite separate and the end user devices do not generally compromise the security requirements of the end client. The question as to whether or not the client end is important is an important one for cloud service providers to consider. Though the client and the resource go hand-in-hand, this important decision should be made in order to manage other issues related to using the cloud for your organization.

By Kaamil Nakhasi

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