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June 19, 2012

CloudPassage Unveils Halo GhostPorts SMS, Talks Cloud Security with TMCnet

When TMCnet sat down with CloudPassage – a provider of server security products purpose-built for dynamic public and hybrid cloud hosting environments – six months ago at Cloud Expo West in California, the company alluded to the fact that the market still had a ways to go when it came to understanding just how critical it is to find a trust cloud security platform. And that was simply because many companies were too busy determining if cloud was even right for them.

Six months later, however, companies are clamoring to move to the cloud and now they are certainly catching on to just how important it is to consider security so that virtual servers are protected.

“Awareness around security issues has increased,” Rand Wacker, vice president of product management at CloudPassage, told TMCnet at Cloud Expo East in New York last week. “One of the things people who are using cloud servers need to keep in mind is if they are launching their own servers and building their own systems, their IT group is not taking care of security for them; they need to build that into their systems. This is a big shift from six months ago when people were still unsure of how they would use the cloud. People are now seeing what they are using it for and coming to grips with the details and increased responsibility that that sometimes means.”

While at Cloud Expo last week, Wacker took note of just how different the New York show was from the California event, which took place just last November, in that companies now are very much beginning to actively use all kinds of cloud models – from public to private to hybrid – and figuring out what exactly it takes to make these systems work.

The conversations on the expo floor are less about whether a company should move to the cloud and more about how exactly the company can most benefit from the cloud, he said. Moreover, the launch of several new large cloud providers and the expanding cloud market have spelled good things for companies as customers can now pick and choose the provider they feel will give them the best services.

CloudPassage is one company that is eager about the widespread ubiquity of cloud as the company addresses the number one deterrent to cloud adoption – security. Specifically, CloudPassage’s award-winning Halo platform is a security SaaS (News - Alert) that operates seamlessly across public, private, and hybrid cloud environments and can even be used on physical servers. Halo bridges the gap between traditional perimeter-oriented datacenter security and security in dynamic cloud environments, according to officials.

But while at Cloud Expo the attention was all on the company’s latest news that it has introduced SMS support for GhostPorts, a multi-factor mobile authentication method for its Halo cloud server security platform. GhostPorts SMS provides secure access control for any application on any server in any cloud using any mobile phone as the authentication device, removing the need for any additional authentication infrastructure.

“Generally you run a cloud server and your sensitive ports, your administrative ports, are open to the world and that can be very dangerous,” Wacker said. “We lock that down so that no one can see that port unless you authenticate it using your mobile phone and then we will open up a port just for your laptop to connect the server.”

“We’ve solved a very standard security need,” he added. “Every data center does some type of authentication and we have solved it in the cloud without the need for customers to deploy additional infrastructure. You can very easily protect your cloud servers without having to worry about software or new systems.”

For secure server access, Halo GhostPorts SMS generates a one-time passcode that authenticates the user and temporarily opens a server management port for only the IP address the user authenticates from. When used in conjunction with existing server authentication, this broadly accepted process for multi-factor authentication provides server access control and keeps the server port invisible and inaccessible to would-be hackers, worms, malware and other threats.

“Every company out there is trying one or two projects in the cloud and in six months those will be successful and people will see how radically different it is,” Wacker said. “We will see a lot more people trying to figure out how do we take what we have learned to do in the public cloud and not just use it in the public cloud environment, but use it internally as well.” 

Want to learn more about cloud communications? Then be sure to attend the Cloud Communications Expo, collocated with ITEXPO West 2012 taking place Oct 2-5, in Austin, TX. The Cloud Communications Expo will address the growing need of businesses to integrate and leverage cloud based communications applications, process enhancement techniques, and network based communications interfaces and architectures. For more information on registering for the Cloud Communications Expo click here.

Stay in touch with everything happening at Cloud Communications Expo. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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