Novell aims to tighten cloud security

Novell demonstrated an advanced prototype of its Cloud Security Service, which is due for release to enterprise organisations as a product early in 2010.
Written by Toby Wolpe, Contributor
Novell has unveiled a cloud-computing identity and access management service, designed to extend corporate security policies to hosted facilities.

On Wednesday, Novell demonstrated an advanced prototype of its Cloud Security Service, which is due for release to enterprise organisations as a product early in 2010.

Novell said the new service, which has been in a private joint-development phase with hosting partners, is based on existing components used in its Access Manager, Sentinel and Identity Manager products.

"We have a prototype, but we haven't had to build a brand-new product. It's been more of a repackaging and adding of features and functions to existing technologies, and then building those out as a cloud-computing service," Markus Krauss, vice president of identity and access management, EMEA, told ZDNet UK.

"Most of the connectivity is already there in our standard products, but now we combine them differently and enhance their functionality to be more cloud-specific," he added.

Based on more than 60 cloud patents and patent applications, the service uses proxy technology to avoid exposing critical information, according to Novell. It also supports a number of industry standards used in public and private clouds.

Krauss said the Cloud Security Service product comprises enterprise connectors to annex part of the cloud under existing security controls, a broker to provide a secure bridge, identity connectors to control user access and roles, and event-tracking connectors to report on what is happening in the cloud.

"If you have governance, risk-management and compliance activity in your organisation, the cloud becomes absolutely seamless for you from a policy point of view — because, through the connectors, we integrate the cloud as part of your standard infrastructure. It becomes fully transparent," he said.

Krauss said Novell is investing heavily in this area and has a roadmap setting out cloud-security development up to 2012. "This is not just a repackaging to have one product, it's really a roadmap for how we evolve this notion into a kind of intelligent workload-management infrastructure," he said.

"At the moment, cloud-services people are talking about single sign-on to cloud services. But Novell is talking about sharing the roles, policies and workflows so that the cloud becomes part of your infrastructure."

Laurent Lachal, open-source research director at analyst firm Ovum, said Novell is building on its identity and access-management technology and extending it to the cloud.

"The cloud is an area where you need to have strong federation technology, where you need to expand the boundary of your trusted domain to third parties. It's a logical development in Novell's offering," Lachal said. "It's not a breakthrough, but it's the application of what Novell's been doing in identity and access management to cloud computing."

This article was originally posted on ZDNet UK.

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