Scientists in Britain Mull Secure Communication for Cloud Computing

Securing personal data in today’s digitized world is assuming greater importance with several security threats looming on the cyber horizon. Projects are underway, which are aiming at safeguarding of multi-party computation tasks.

Multi-party computation as a technology is aimed at helping groups of people compute personal functions with secret inputs while ensuring secrecy of inputs. Multi-party computation may be capable of offering significant benefits for cloud collaboration as it can help secure systems and protect user’s data from others.

Scientists of the UK-Danish region are partnering on a project to enable secure communication for cloud computing. The project goal is to enable real-world performance of the SPDZ protocol (where two machines work on multi part computation tasks whilst ensuring secrecy of their respective data). The description of the protocol SPDZ is: “secure against active static adversaries in the standard model, is actively secure, and tolerates corruption of n-1 of the n parties.

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While the protocol allows some sharing, exclusive of inputs and computing tasks in the offline phase during the run up to the actual processing, during the online phase, secure computation is executed.

SPDZ depends on message authentication code to perform and its performance is hampered because users are required to provide their respective code to communicate in a system where the message authentication code is shared. The result is sluggish performance. Apart from the reduced performance, other challenges include a laborious key generation and weak security.

Successful testing and fine tuning of the SPDZ protocol could mean greater security to users seeking to protect their information.

Cosentry DataCenter Storage and Managed Technology Major

DataCenter storage and managed technology major, Cosentry, spearheaded by its new CEO, Mr. Brad Hokamp is adding to its Papillion center as the company witnesses soaring demand for data storage needs. Several businesses in the region need to gather, store and process data and are driving demand for Cosentry’s data center storage and managed technology services.

To meet surging demand, Cosentry is availing fresh credit and has embarked on an expansion drive. Construction of a new 15,000 sft facility is underway at its existing location at Papillion. In addition to its existing data center services, Cosentry is also focusing on growing its cloud computing, managed IT services and e-commerce hosting services to drive revenues.

The company has charted a spectacular growth path from its modest beginnings over a decade back, and its team comprising technicians and engineers have doubled its strength in the last four to five years. Cosentry has built a formidable reputation with six data centers and is today, a name to reckon with, even as it continues to grow at a rapid clip. The company which began with a few clients on board now enjoys hundreds of reputed names relying on it for their diverse IT service needs.

Cosentry enjoys the patronage of several companies across industry sectors including healthcare, financial services, construction, logistics and e-commerce. These companies depend on Cosentry for leased space and other services through its co-location data centre.

Cosentry is firming up further growth plans for the future and aims to expand its footprint across geographies while enhancing it service portfolio and delivery standards. The enterprise strategy is to achieve leadership position in data center services in the Midwest.

Is Cloud Computing Costing You the Earth?

Cloud has been quite a news maker in the IT industry with increasing number of leading IT players opting for Cloud computing services. While most industrialists are increasing their profit margin with less manpower and better efficiency, environmentalist are frowning upon the energy consumed by the leading IT players to keep the service up and running.

An in-depth study conducted on energy sourcing and consumption by Greenpeace titled “How Clean is Your Cloud?” showed some alarming results. The study included data centers of some of the largest tech companies and investigated the data center deployments of 14 of the market leaders. Clean Energy Index, an evaluating system has been set by the International Environmental Organization with the main purpose being assessing & comparing energy linked footprints of cloud providers & their data centers.

Greenpeace has observed that there’s limited transparency with regards to electricity consumption by IT companies; this being the case despite the fact that there are various metrics for the purpose of measuring the consumption with the most prominent being PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness). As per Greenpeace, the data that depicts the dirty energy consumed (energy sourced from coal & nuclear power) & companies opting for clean source (renewable sources of energy) are poorly demarcated. Bearing this in mind, Greenpeace hopes that Clean Energy Index provides a clearer picture. The index considers recent investments & current energy supply related to these investments.

The most relevant findings of this index are:

  • The 3 largest companies – Apple, Amazon & Microsoft are expanding rapidly but continue to behave irresponsibly towards the source of energy supply. As per reports, they rely heavily on dirty energy to keep their clouds up & running
  • The most responsible companies were found to be Yahoo & Google, resorting to using renewable energy in their cloud expansion
  • Facebook has also come on board with renewable energy. It has gone a step ahead and constructed a data center in Sweden that can be powered by renewable/ clean energy.
  • The location for these data centers is also playing an important factor in the form of energy being consumed. Certain areas have a concentration of data centers around dirty energy sources. Its aggravating the environmental damage for that geography
  • One of the first companies to give a detailed report of carbon intensity under the CUE (Carbon Utilization Effectiveness) standards is Akamai. As per Greenpeace, the rest of the companies chose to refrain from commenting about CUE.
  • Though most IT companies have pitched cloud as a more “greener” option, they fail to back it up with valid reports supporting this claim.

Despite the picture not being perfect, there are encouraging signs that more & more IT companies are opting for renewable sources of energy, thus playing a positive role in shaping a better future for the earth.