Saturday, February 20, 2010

Book Review “Cloud Security and Privacy”

Amazon just posted my review for “Cloud Security and Privacy” by Tim Mather, Subra Kumaraswamy and Shahed Latif.

It is reposted below for posterity – and my esteemed blog readers :-)

It goes without saying that I was very excited to pick up the first book on cloud security and privacy. Due to my Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) involvement, I was extremely interested in Tim’s take on the subject. The book is indeed a comprehensive treatise on everything cloud, and everything cloud security. The author team covers the topics based on IaaS/PaaS/SaaS (SPI) for infrastructure, platform, and software as a service model. They address stored data confidentiality, cloud provider operations, identity and access management in the cloud, availability management as well as privacy. My favorite chapter was of course the one on audit and compliance - chapter 8. Another fun chapter was chapter 12 on conclusions and the future of the cloud (which is, BTW, all but assured…).

One of the most important things I picked from the book was a very structured view on separation of security responsibilities between the cloud provider and the customer for all of the SPI scenarios. This alone probably justifies getting your own copy.

As far as technical contents, the book stays fairly high-level even though it touches on the details of SAML and other authentication protocols.

The only downside of the book is its extremely dry writing style. There are only a few examples and case studies. Following “just the facts” model sometimes might lead the reader towards losing interest, no matter how important the subject is – and this subject is pretty darn important. To put this in the context, I do read security books for fun, not only for work.

Enjoy the book!

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Dr Anton Chuvakin