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Focusing on Data and Fact with less Hype

Jon Shende

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[Adopted from my BLOG December 2009] Lately in the IT community all the hype is on Cloud Computing. We have small start-ups offering several variations of Cloud services as well as some of the established big players (Google, Amazon, IBM, Novell (aimed at cloud service providers),Sun) stepping up their offerings of cloud services. But what exactly is Cloud Computing? Is it Virtualization? Is it services that we accessed via a web browser over the years, something totally new, or is it all of these,but  just rebranded? The term Cloud Computing started gaining traction when Google and IBM launched a university initiative to address internet scale computing back in 2007. These services has been evolving since the 90s and its previous incarnations can be said to be Grid and Utility computing and the Software as a Service offerings we saw around a decade ago. Cloud Compu... (more)

To Cloud or Not to Cloud

I've been asked quite a few times, "when will it be a good time to get into cloud computing?" by potential clients. My answer is typically it depends... I know, I know.... not much direction there, but really it all depends. Why ? Well, some may state, "we all know of the much beaten security concerns, and we will ensure that systems on our end are secured and synced to work in tandem with the vendors' security." Can one ensure some degree of monitoring by the implementation of an Intrusion Detection System (IDS) residing within the system hosting the gateway into the cloud? The... (more)

Digital Forensic Challenges within Cloud Computing

Proponents of the cloud ecosystem touts its "vastness, flexibility and scalability as advantages for the implementation of cloud services. However, from a digital point of view this can be a veritable forensic challenge as we view the cloud in terms of its scope and diversity. According to Dr. Stephen Wolthusen[1] "Digital forensics (also referred to at times as computer forensics) encompasses approaches and techniques for gathering and analyzing traces of human and computer-generated activity in such a way that it is suitable in a court of law." A key challenge to a digital inve... (more)

The Impact of the Cloud on Digital Forensics - Part 1

Digital Forensics is not an elephant, it is a process and not just one process, but a group of tasks and processes in investigation. Examiners now perform targeted examinations using forensic tools and databases of known files, selecting specific files and data types for review while ignoring files of irrelevant type and content. Despite the application of sophisticated tools, the forensic process still relies on the examiner's knowledge of the technical aspects of the specimen and understanding of the case and the law - Mark Pollitt. As has been established from articles by var... (more)

The Impact of the Cloud on Digital Forensics - Part 2

As mentioned in  Part 1 of this article, one of my functions is to research current and up and coming solutions within the technology realm, particularly that of distributed computing and cloud computing. It is a strong possibility that malicious users will eventually identify and exploit potential flaws within the cloud computing model. CSPs, in their pursuit to secure market share may have underestimated the possibilities of attack and misuse of their cloud resources by a malicious user or users. The likelihood that the creation, storage, processing and distribution of illicit ... (more)