Welcome!

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Mobile IoT, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, Cloud Security, SDN Journal

Microservices Expo: Article

Securing Mobile Networks with Trustworthy Systems

Public and private organizations should seek out vendors that prioritize continued innovation

In our increasingly connected world, the number of mobile phones will exceed the world's population by 2014. Users expect to be able to run diverse applications on these devices at work, home, and practically anywhere else. We assume secure access to any information we need, with an expectation of seamless mobility and a high-quality user experience.

Security is a primary concern, but at the same time users don't want security to get in the way of their experience. Users want to simply be able to find an application in an app store, and then download and use it without having to be concerned about whether it's a trusted application.

Today, the customer chooses a product based on a vendor's ability to fulfill the customer's need, the price point, and vendor attributes such as viability. The "trust" market transition introduces three other essential criteria: the vendor's trustworthiness and transparency, the product's trustworthiness and integrity, and the vendor's commitment to and understanding of security issues. Taken together, these criteria can help a company determine the most trustworthy system for its mobile network.

The Network Is Square One
Fortunately, it is possible to address the hidden risks of choosing a vendor and to reduce the known risks of operating a mobile infrastructure. This ideal - a "trustworthy system" - can be achieved through vendor inspection, delineation between assumed and verifiable trust and, ultimately, a network security infrastructure more advanced than the one in which we operate today.

Mobile device security begins with the network. Networks should be based on verifiably trustworthy network architectures built on secure software and hardware that are backed by prudent supply chain security practices. These elements enable an intelligent network to engage the service provider's access policies and challenge the trustworthiness of mobile devices attempting to access network resources. In turn, mobile device manufacturers and vendors should focus on building verifiable trustworthiness and transparency with regard to their processes and technologies to allow for the creation of secure mobile networks.

Trusted Environments Within Devices
Fortunately, there are many useful ways to ensure that mobile devices are trustworthy. One particularly effective approach is to build a trusted environment within the devices. This is accomplished by partitioning mobile phones and tablets in a logical and secure way, such that they become, in effect, multitenant devices. This enables:

  • The service provider to provide radio service without fear that the user will tinker with security elements within the device, potentially compromising the network's security.
  • The manufacturer to provide secure booting of the device with an initial signed image that can be upgraded over time.
  • The user to run third-party applications without fear of affecting the other device elements.

Industry collaboration and standardization initiatives will make this vision a reality. For instance, the GlobalPlatform organization is developing secure Trusted Execution Environment specifications for mobile devices. A verifiable root of trust is built sequentially from the time a user boots up the hardware (phone), through the loading of the operating system, to the activation of individual applications within this trusted environment.

GlobalPlatform has been working to get mobile device manufacturers moving in the same direction in terms of standardizing a single trusted architecture for mobile devices. The Trusted Computing Group, another standards organization, has been collaborating with GlobalPlatform and working to bring mobile device manufacturers into alignment along common standards of trustworthiness.

Standards for Success
The network's primary role in the context of mobile security and trustworthiness is in the access-control realm. In support of this role, organizations should ensure that their network infrastructures enforce security-policy compliance on all devices that attempt to gain access to the network. Network administrators should use best practices to authenticate, authorize, evaluate, and remediate wired, wireless, and remote users before they can gain access to the network and its resources.

By using protocols such as device posturing, organizations can classify devices that attempt to gain network access and understand who the user is and what policies should be enforced based on the information that is captured from the device and by the authentication of the user. In order to secure the corporate network, the network needs to understand the level of trustworthiness in mobile devices. The convergence of mobile platforms to a common trusted architecture will make the problem easier for network administrators. Once the network discovers and classifies devices, then it can immediately determine whether the device is compliant to a certain common standard.

Government organizations are helping drive common standards by asking vendors to support standards and move away from proprietary solutions. They are also identifying specific standards and certifications upon which they would like to see mobile devices manufactured. Given this push, there will eventually be a convergence to one standardized, secure and trustworthy ecosystem and architecture. At that point, government agencies and other institutions will be able to verify the trustworthiness of a particular device based on its certificates and then allow or deny access based on its assessment of the device's trustworthiness.

Virtualization's Role
Currently, efforts are being made to extend the concept of virtualization in servers to virtualization in mobile devices through hypervisors, providing a more flexible environment to implement a multiple stakeholder model. Cloud and other forms of virtualization provide extended storage, improve resiliency, increase efficiency, and reduce costs; but they also introduce additional security risks. Managing and mitigating these risks demands a new level of planning, user education, and security procedures to create a trustworthy system for securing mobile networks.

Looking Ahead
The importance of selecting a vendor that can ensure trust throughout the entire mobile system cannot be overstated. Taken together, trustworthy systems combine verifiably trustworthy hardware, software, firmware and, as appropriate, the resulting services built upon them, demonstrating in a provable manner the trust and risk management required for today's standards of security and reliability.

Trust is not guaranteed. It must be proven on a continuous basis. Public and private organizations should seek out vendors that prioritize continued innovation to ensure resiliency in customer networks through visibility and transparency while partnering with customers to prepare for any and all threats.

More Stories By Rafael Mantilla Montalvo

Dr. Rafael Mantilla Montalvo is a Principal Engineer at Cisco Systems. He holds a B. Sc. in Electrical Engineering from the Instituto Politécnico Nacional and an MS and PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Latest Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Doug Vanderweide, an instructor at Linux Academy, discussed why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers wit...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to w...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
"Loom is applying artificial intelligence and machine learning into the entire log analysis process, from start to finish and at the end you will get a human touch,” explained Sabo Taylor Diab, Vice President, Marketing at Loom Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
When growing capacity and power in the data center, the architectural trade-offs between server scale-up vs. scale-out continue to be debated. Both approaches are valid: scale-out adds multiple, smaller servers running in a distributed computing model, while scale-up adds fewer, more powerful servers that are capable of running larger workloads. It’s worth noting that there are additional, unique advantages that scale-up architectures offer. One big advantage is large memory and compute capacity...
"We are a monitoring company. We work with Salesforce, BBC, and quite a few other big logos. We basically provide monitoring for them, structure for their cloud services and we fit into the DevOps world" explained David Gildeh, Co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
What's the role of an IT self-service portal when you get to continuous delivery and Infrastructure as Code? This general session showed how to create the continuous delivery culture and eight accelerators for leading the change. Don Demcsak is a DevOps and Cloud Native Modernization Principal for Dell EMC based out of New Jersey. He is a former, long time, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, specializing in building and architecting Application Delivery Pipelines for hybrid legacy, and cloud ...