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Chevron's Jump to the Cloud is a Journey

2017-09-26 22:35
Enterprises entertaining a move to the cloud should brace themselves for a challenging path of discovery.

Enterprises that embrace a move to the cloud should prepare themselves for a run into the unknown, advises Gretchen Myers, Chevron's team lead for security strategy and emerging technologies.

Myers, who spoke this week at the ISC(2) Security Congress in Austin, Texas, leads Chevron's cloud efforts that kicked off in 2015. She describes the lessons learned as a journey of discovery, rather than a jump into a new technology.

As part of this journey, Chevron slogged through the thousands of employees using cloud-based services, and tackled a plan to migrate data to a cloud provider by early next year.

Chevron, as part of this cloud strategy, hired a Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) to determine which cloud vendors employees were visiting and to manage that environment.

This process entailed determining which Web sites employees were already accessing for cloud services, such as software as a service (SaaS) provider Salesforce.com, and consumer-business services like Facebook, Myers recalled, adding that was an easy task.

But once the CASB determined which websites employees were accessing, Chevron had to determine how much company business was actually being conducted across the more than 7,000 websites, Myers said.

"We went down from more than 7,000 unsanctioned sites to 250 approved sites," Myers said. The task of culling the list of cloud vendors was arduous, she said.

It required turning the mammoth list of websites over to IT managers, who in turn queried their employees on the purpose of the websites they were visiting. In a number of cases, the discussions led the company to block access to those sites. 

And last year, Chevron allowed restricted use of some websites, where a limited number of people needed access for work-related business. For example, Chevron employees no longer have access to Facebook on company computers, with the exception of the company's marketing department, which uses it for work-related purposes, Myers says.

The oil giant, meanwhile, is planning to move a portion of its data to a hosted cloud environment, says Myers.

And the things that concern Myers about this transition include questions, such as, how secure is Chevron's application program interface (APIs) to how secure is Chevron's data if it leaves it up to the cloud service provider rather than encrypting it and holding onto the encryption master key itself.

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One of the most important lessons Myers says she has learned on her journey is to frame the problem the company faces and stick to solving it.

"People would come up and say what about this, what about that?" Myers said. "It's easy to get sidetracked."  

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