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Amazon Web Services security evangelist quits

Steve Riley, Amazon’s cloud security guru, has quit the company. Where did he end up, and what’s the next move for Amazon Web Services?

Weekly cloud computing update

Steve Riley, technical program manager and security guru at Amazon Web Services, has quit. According to his LinkedIn profile, he’s joined Riverbed as a technical leader in the office of the CTO.

What a switch! He’s jumped from the company revolutionizing the technology industry to, well, a box shifter, albeit one with some neat products. It must have been bad, but at least we know why Steve wasn’t answering our emails the past two weeks.

Rumor has it he got fed up with the PR handcuffs. Amazon Web Services (AWS) has some draconian rules about what information it will share with the public regarding its cloud infrastructure and security practices in particular. It’s basically silent on everything. And for someone like Steve, who loves to talk, that must have been frustrating.

He joined AWS in July 2009 after several years at Microsoft, where he was a senior security strategist. At AWS, he spent most of his time touring the globe giving presentations on a new approach to security that depended less on securing data, machines and locations and more on access control -- identification, authentication and authorization. Out, vile antivirus!

Steve always seemed to be an odd fit at a big company, to me at least. Maybe Riverbed will suit him better.

Meanwhile, AWS still faces a hostile crowd of IT folks who want answers on its security practices that aren't just “trust us,” which frankly is insulting. Without Riley, they better come up with a plan B soon. IT giants Microsoft, IBM and HP are slowly waking up from their decade-long sleep and are pulling some competitive services together, and they already have the trust of the enterprise IT marketplace.

Jo Maitland is the Senior Executive Editor of Contact her at

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