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Summary:

Amazon Web Services and GoGrid both made some significant strides this week toward addressing digital-rights management issues. Neither feature is particularly sexy by cloud computing standards, but both are very necessary for bringing certain user and software-vendor communities into the fold.

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Lost in the storm surrounding new cloud products and leaked plans, Amazon Web Services and GoGrid both made some significant strides this week toward addressing key digital-rights management issues. Neither feature is particularly sexy by cloud computing standards, but both should improve the experience for enterprises as they move applications to the cloud.

AWS now offers a new feature called Identity and Access Management, which goes by the acronym IAM (like Congress, Amazon is getting cute with its acronyms). The IAM feature lets account holders grant various roles and permissions to other authorized users, so a developer working on an HR project wouldn’t be able to mess with the settings of a project in another area of the company because she doesn’t have permissions. This is nothing new for enterprise software, in which policies and permissions are commonplace to ensure security, compliance and performance for key applications, but it’s fairly new in the cloud, especially for AWS.

In his blog post announcing the new features, AWS Jeff Barr wrote that the initial capabilities “represent our first steps toward our long-term goals for IAM.”

For its part, GoGrid is attempting to simplify cloud licensing for its independent software vendor (ISV) partners via a system called Image Rights Management. As explained in the press release:

Once a partner application is live in the GoGrid Exchange marketplace and available for GoGrid’s customers to deploy through value-added subscription plans, the IRM system automatically tracks instances where the application is actually running within the GoGrid cloud. The system then authenticates whether or not the application is operating on a validly deployed cloud server for which GoGrid is collecting the required subscription fees on behalf of the partner.

Licensing has long been a sticking point for ISVs in cloud-enabling their applications, which is why partner programs like the GoGrid Exchange, through which the cloud provider handles most of the heavy lifting, have proliferated. The IRM just takes this a step further by helping ISV partners monitor unauthorized use in IaaS environments. IRM doesn’t directly affect end-users (except to the degree it eliminates the option of running software on unauthorized servers), but it should help them by luring more ISVs into making their applications available in the cloud. Initial IRM partners include Zeus Technology, Gazzang and CloudPassage.

Access management and license enforcement won’t cure all the ills of cloud computing, but they likely will make cloud computing appear like a much safer investment for enterprise users and ISVs alike.

Image courtesy of Amazon Web Services.

  1. The AWS announcement is a nice step forward. As you said it isn’t necessarily sexy but security often isn’t. This feature should also help any SaaS providers on Amazon control security and accounts with their customers. Thanks for the informative post.

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