Intel President’s “High Order Bit” and the Cloud Identity Challenge

“Identity (now) becomes the high order bit because computing is transitory. With multi devices interacting with the cloud, the focus shifts from not just the user’s identity but also the identity of the data, device and context.”  Intel President, Renée J. James

At McAfee FOCUS13, Renée was joined onstage by McAfee President, Mike DeCesare. They shared a vision of ubiquitous security that will allow people to “Securely Connect” in a world where “privacy, use of personal data, protection of data and intellectual property” are of primary concern. And to address this, “Identity is the only thing that’s true.”

Investment and delivery on this vision is already underway. Today in their personal lives, McAfee customers using LiveSafe may employ biometrics (e.g. facial recognition) to authenticate their identity with online services. By doing so, they reduce risk of identity theft, the top growing crime in the US.

But in their daily business lives, many of these same customers are having an identity crisis. The 2013 Verizon Data Breach Investigation Report states that 76% of breaches exploit their weak or stolen credentials.  This is not surprising considering the exploding number of accounts and passwords, the increasing sophistication of attacks, accelerating cloud adoption, and the consumerization of IT bringing personal devices and social networks into the business environment.  But through these factors, Identity is what they bring with them, from home, to work, and in everything they touch in their digital lives. It’s tied to the user experience and business-critical information stored in data centers and in the cloud. And it’s tied to rising IT costs when they bombard their local help desks with password resets.

So how do IT organizations address this top growing crime and key vulnerability in their corporate networks and data centers?  How do they meet the resulting Cloud Identity Challenge?

The Cloud Identity Challenge
The Cloud Identity Challenge


By following some of the guidance that Renée and Mike offered.  Specifically – integrating across security services, working with the hardware, enabling ubiquity and setting identity as the “high order bit.”

Intel and McAfee offer business customers hardware and software-based solutions, including Intel Identity Protection Technology (IPT) and McAfee identity and access management (IAM) solutions. But deployment of IAM products alone doesn’t address the need for security ubiquity, and as Renée also pointed out, the ‘need to know’.  That requires an integrated approach.

We recently worked with the SANS Institute to test and validate our integrated Web Protection and Identity Solution.  This independent review, “SANS: Simplifying Cloud Access Without Sacrificing Corporate Control” (view the webcast and report) demonstrates a working, integrated web security, data loss prevention, and IAM solution. It walks through a number of common use cases that emphasize an identity-centric approach that has the capacity to manage based on context and helps businesses address the Cloud Identity Challenge.

After her keynote, Mike asked Renée for her view on how identity and security can help support the “compute continuum.” 

Her response?

‘The key is protecting what we know, versus the prevention of what we don’t know.”   She added that to solve this, “In addition to some of the work in the network, Identity is the most important thing we need to work on.”

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