Sony Secures the Cloud

Sony has it’s head in the clouds.

Photo by mesh cube via iStock.

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Sony wants to lock down the cloud: The company filed a patent application for configurations for the “secure use of cloud technology.” 

Sony’s system is essentially trying to prevent misconfigurations that happen when a business sets up shop in a cloud environment. Such misconfigurations can be any error that occurs when onboarding with a new cloud platform, including things like overly permissive access, inconsistent monitoring, or even just a weak password, and can result in vulnerabilities that can lead to cybersecurity attacks.

Sony’s patent gets quite technical, but to break it down simply, this system consolidates a bunch of standard, secure settings for configuring a cloud environment in a way that’s “enterprise-friendly,” addressing risks like insecure identity, access management, threat monitoring and auditability. For example, this system includes an audit-logging function that rapidly responds to security incidents, or threat-monitoring that gives “real-time visibility” into existing, active risks to address. 

Sony noted that deploying cloud infrastructure involves hundreds of different configuration options. But when getting set up on a new cloud environment, some systems don’t have any standardized guidance on which configurations are the most secure. 

The result of this, Sony said, can be “cloud environments with insecure identity and access management implementations, inconsistent security configuration practices, and nearly zero auditability.”

Photo via the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Sony has some cloud offerings, but it’s far from a major player. On the consumer side, Sony’s been plugging away at cloud gaming for nearly a decade. The company also has reportedly been gearing up for a big cloud gaming push: in April, The Verge reported that Sony was hiring 22 positions for cloud gaming tech. But CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said in an interview with The Financial Times in early June that cloud gaming is “very tricky” to pull off, citing content delivery delays as a major issue.  

On the enterprise side, Sony in September rolled out its Creators’ Cloud, a platform for the media and entertainment industries that allows creators to connect cameras to the cloud to upload content directly. 

Trevor Morgan, VP of product at OpenDrives, said that this patent could be applicable to both its gaming and Creators’ Cloud ambitions. For media and entertainment companies, migrating to cloud technology without the right security configurations could put their creative IP at risk of cybersecurity attacks, said Morgan. For gamers, meanwhile, misconfigurations in cloud gaming can mean anything from a compromised individual account “all the way up to compromised competitions,” said Morgan. 

When breaking into an already-competitive industry like cloud technology, nailing down cybersecurity is critical, Morgan said, especially when you’re up against the likes of Amazon, Microsoft and Google. Sony may be trying to get ahead of potential missteps with this patent, he added, by showing “due diligence and thought leadership.” 

“When you’re doing a foray into something, you better make sure you’re attending to the cybersecurity aspects of it first,” said Morgan. “Taking a reactive posture not only kills you with potential litigation, but it kills you reputationally.” 

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