In light of concerns surrounding the security of the cloud for business and mission-critical applications, Unisys has placed security at the heart of its new cloud strategy with the launch of its ‘Stealth’ security technology.
According to Paul Allen, director of real time infrastructure at Unisys Asia Pacific, the Stealth technology — first developed for the US defence department to allow it to safely transfer data across any network — works by bit-splitting data and encrypting it using defence certified AES encryption. This secures the data from sniffing, allowing it to be sent safely through open networks.
“It can’t be intercepted,” he said. “You can’t ping the servers that are Stealth protected, so even if someone does intercept a packet, it is bit-split and encrypted and it means nothing to them. They can’t capture the whole message so data is very secure moving across the internet.”
Organisations could use the technology to effectively flatten their networks, removing the need for multiple virtual private networks (VPNs) and, in doing so, reducing telecommunications costs, Allen said.
“It makes it very easy in a merger and acquisition to implement the acquired infrastructure and applications into the acquirers business by separating them through Stealth technology based on communities of interest — so Stealth moves beyond just cloud,” he said.
Discussing the importance of Stealth, Allen said that providing “extreme security” around cloud infrastructure would allow cloud computing to move much deeper into the application stack within organisations.
“Obviously there are large components and core business applications that will always stay and reside within the customers own infrastructure,” he said. “But if you are able to provide that extreme security you can move cloud far beyond test-dev, web 2.0, email and collaboration-type toolsets.”
Allen also outlined Unisys’s wider cloud strategy, which revolves around four pillars: data centre transformation to create private clouds; secure public clouds (including Stealth, and Infrastructure/Software/Platforms/Secure Applications/Disaster Recovery–as-a-service ); secure private clouds — which it launched on 2 November; and a hybrid cloud solution, to be launched in Q1 2010, that allows workloads to be move from private clouds to Unisys’s public cloud.
Allen added that the the company’s public cloud services were currently hosted within Unisys’s Egan, Minnesota and Milton Keynes, England data centres. The company is, however, working on developing the business case to run the service out of its Rhodes, Sydney and its Kapiti, New Zealand data centres.
Unisys had the capacity available in both Rhodes and Kapiti to supply all of its Australian and NZ customer public clouds locally, he said.
The company is now selling Stealth to commercial and government customers, however it is waiting on certification by the Defence Signals Directorate, which will determine whether the technology can be deployed in government departments and agencies. Allen estimates this will take about another four months.
He said Unisys was aiming for an Evaluation Assurance Level (EAL) rating of eight for use on the US’s Top Secret network environment and was being certified for EAL four plus for use in Australian defence and government networks.
To further encourage government department and agency use, Unisys has also set up a Stealth pod in Canberra to allow ethical hacking teams to test the security level of the new technology.