Despite Considerable Kool-Aid Consumption, Security Heads for the Cloud

Kool Aid Man

This article looks at cloud as the final frontier for security, exploring the topic as follows:

  • CSO: 5 Ways Security Solutions Will Change
  • Change #1 – Web as Network Perimeter
  • Change #2 – SaaS Beats Out Endpoint Solutions: Swig of Kool-Aid
  • Change #3 – Integration of Network and Endpoint Protection
  • Change #4 – Transition from Alerts to Smart Use of Data
  • Change #5 – Internet of Things Will Use Cloud Protections as Its Basis
  • Superb Internet: Audited and Certified

CSO: 5 Ways Security Solutions Will Change

Security isn’t running away from the cloud but moving toward it. After all, the third platform (cloud, social, big data, and mobile) is where the action is.

That’s the thrust of a message by Paul Lipman of iSheriff, who wrote in CSO magazine last week that the standard methods businesses have used for security in the past are “insufficient for modern businesses.” While the third platform continues to build and overtake the second platform (personal computers) as the primary means through which the Internet is used, across-the-board security systems can help companies to streamline their operations and scale effectively.

Lipman argues that the current, highly disruptive state of technology – led by red-hot segments such as cloud computing, the Internet of Things, and data analytics – is prompting security professionals to come up with innovative means to protect the enterprise. Whitman argues that five major shifts will occur in the security world in response to the turbulently competitive, increasingly virtualized environment:

Change #1 – Web as Network Perimeter

Even just in the recent past, security officials at companies were concerned with preventing unauthorized intrusion into the network, accomplishing that goal through a variety of in-house applications and hardware. That worked fine when everything was contained within the enterprise’s firewall – which of course is not the case anymore.

Now, the chief information security officer (CISO) grapples with a bring-your-own-device (BYOB) environment in which employees tap into corporate apps based in the public cloud through their cell phones and tablets. The result? Says Lipman, “The potential attack surface has expanded from the corporate network perimeter – which was challenging enough to protect – to encompassing a completely unbounded environment.”

One area that has been growing as a result is cloud-based security, Security-as-a-Service. Three critical notes related to that approach:

  • It means the company no longer needs to backhaul traffic.
  • It creates a consistent umbrella of security that is ultimately managed by the CISO and adapts reasonably to the parameters of user privileges, network of access, and applications.
  • It positions the organization on “high ground,” with lightning-fast real-time monitoring.

Change #2 – SaaS Beats Out Endpoint Solutions

Okay, so let’s get real here. This article is written by a guy who is the CEO of a cloud security company, so it’s not all that surprising that he projects a bright future for his business. Yummy, that Kool-Aid is good! What is it, grape? Well, you call it cherry. I call it grape. We agree to disagree. Life isn’t about getting it right.

Nonetheless, Lipman does have a strong argument in terms of the challenge of integration of multiple endpoint products. The differentiation of security applications throughout the enterprise creates gaps, which means that the CISO’s experience becomes foggy: they can’t see everything. Cloud security could better fuse together the system and, surprisingly, improve clarity.

Change #3 – Integration of Network and EndpointProtection

Up to this point, security companies have created two different types of products for two different audiences: network solutions and endpoint solutions. That approach doesn’t cut it in the current threat environment: “The network layer [needs] to become aware of, and responsive to, endpoint device activity both on-network and off-network.”

What if a handful of PCs at one of your company’s locations start shooting out packets of information to a possibly criminal IP address in Russia? You can stop it immediately if your system is properly integrated, forming a web of protection that Lipman compares to the body’s connective tissue, fascia.

Change #4 – Transition from Alerts to Smart Use of Data

You don’t want to rely on fire alarms. You want predictive analysis that can prevent fires before they start. Hence, we move from alert systems to intelligent security.

When we pull all the elements of security together into one unified front, we can look at interactions and potential aberrations within the intranet, endpoint hardware, SaaS and cloud virtual machine environments, and the overall Web – creating a comprehensive strategy that is “impossible with today’s organizationally silo’d, event-driven approaches.”

Change #5 – Internet of Things Will Use Cloud Protections as Its Basis

The advancement of the Internet of Things is unlikely without security organized and delivered through the cloud. Whether iSheriff represents the best possible platform or not, many commentators have noted that the Internet of Things is at this point highly questionable due to the ridiculous lack of security exhibited by many devices. Along those lines, Lipman makes a sound point: many connected appliances have low processing capabilities, so it would be “impossible or prohibitively expensive” to enable security at the level of the device.

Superb Internet: Audited and Certified

Everyone knows that you need to set up your public cloud environment to optimize your security. That should be a no-brainer. It’s the reason why private and hybrid clouds are becoming so popular: speed, reliability, and enhanced protection as needed.

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By Kent Roberts

Image Credit: Licensed for Free Use via Flickr