Welcome!

Open Source Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez, William Schmarzo, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microsoft Cloud, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Article

Analyzing the Top 10 Benefits of Unified Security

Providing collaborative intelligence from the cloud

Of all the strategies and tactics available to prevent breaches, deter data leakage and theft, control access and secure beyond the so-called network perimeter, the one that is emerging as an achievable and affordable best practice is that of unified security from the cloud.

But if you look across the web, you will no doubt come across various versions of what constitutes “unified,” what is “protected,” and, what is “security from the cloud?” Luckily this means that the concept of unified security from the cloud is becoming more and more of a best practice. In general, the practice of unified security is the centralization of all security functions under one umbrella across the enterprise. This means more than ensuring data encryption. It means more than access policies. It means more than intrusion detection, malware blocking, data review. It’s more than ensuring compliance to the various regulatory bodies that provide general guidelines. It is the sum of all these things… and more.

So what is unified security? In short, it is an enterprise-powered tactical strategy that not only centralizes various security toolsets, but creates the seamless means to create cooperative functionality between them all. And as a cloud-based security initiative, this creates several tangible benefits that will allow any-sized company to upgrade their protection, but expand their protection beyond the network-centric traditional models of perimeter security.

To properly expand visibility, unified security is typically comprised of several solutions including system log archiving (the collection and storage of all online activity), identity management (administration of users, passwords and applications), access management (enforcement of identity rules and channeled access to data) and SIEM (the  intelligence that correlates and contextualizes all activity).

True unified security is also more than the solutions it comprises; it includes the analysis, management, and the implementation of access and intelligence policies that transform it from passive to proactive and immediately responsive. And by developing and managing these security features, solutions and policies from the cloud is more than the obvious cost savings, it allows for the exponential expansion of  real time visibility over a broader landscape and facilitates a more secure transaction compatibility with the way modern enterprises exchange, process and share  information.

To that end, the following are 10 benefits of implementing unified security from the cloud.

10. Right size as the situation dictates – In today’s business landscape, change is often fast and evolutionary. Being able to keep up is a major challenge for IT and IT security. One of the hallmarks of a cloud-based implementation is the flexibility and agility to adjust its scope quickly and without the oppressive costs and time of a consultant or IT service. Considering the hoops of fire and Herculean strength needed to expand coverage to a new department or division, on-premise security initiatives may require the purchase of new expensive servers, resource-heavy reconfiguration and re-prioritization of core competency projects.   With the cloud’s natural economies of scale, these costs are already absorbed and changes are more fluid and immediate. And with unified security, it’s more than just applying a sensor or agent on a server to collect new data. The changes to right size affect more than a single solution, —you must consider the constant fluctuation of change within an enterprise-the ebb and flow of staffing, the adjustment of new, updated and retired applications, and all the moving parts that come with incorporating vendors, suppliers and customers into the permission and protection mix. Unified security from the cloud creates the freedom and necessary speed to evolve with a company’s changing situation on an as-needed basis without an Act of Congress while still ensuring the adjustments across all the entire security landscape.

9. Make compliance easier: One of the substantial drains of time and energy go into the process of proving to various regulatory bodies that various slices of data are free from prying keyboards. Some companies go so far as dedicating personnel to simply comb through logs and find and report upon instances of breach and questionable activities. As I’ve insisted many times before, this practice is akin to looking for the horse in a gigantic haystack long after its left the barn (no matter how often sys-logs are reviewed, it is done in a rear-view mirror. These are events that have already occurred. And the damage is already done).

When evaluating what organizations like PCI and HIPAA require, the scope is more than just continuous monitoring (see blog regarding continuous monitoring satisfies compliance, but not security). They require proof of compliance for everything from firewall configuration to vulnerability scans, from data storage protocols to the development of identity authentication, password management and access privileges. I've identified about 20 common critical controls that are typically required by all compliance agencies. Unified security consolidates all the capabilities so that the reporting is considerably more streamline and accessible. Instead of four or five solutions each requiring four or five reports, logins and the physical coordination, collection and review for reporting, compliance is achieved by an automated model (see the white paper Mapping Compliance Requirements). It is the multiple collaborative and concurrent layers of security that support the automations, create better accuracy and significantly reduce the time previously dedicated to compliance reporting.

8. Easier, faster to deploy and find ROI. Forrester noted that 73% of major software implementations don’t get past phase 1. Whether a result of scope creep, budget issues or flagging executive buy-in, the promise of ROI for on premise security initiatives are difficult; not to mention the drag on IT productivity and lack of measurable results. And it’s those results we depend on to drive ROI and solve the business need (see the article: Is your security initiative “one inch into a mile”? ) It’s no secret that way too many companies view security solutions as a “nice to have” luxury or a grudgingly purchased cost center. But this is a different business environment than even that of 5 years ago; beyond the drivers of compliance and industry required governance IT security must be built into the fabric of every online facet of the business. Ignore reality at your own peril.

Assuming that security investments are not simply a luxury, the question remains how do you find ROI in a prevention initiative? On-premise point solutions are expensive. There’s no getting around that fact. Installing them is expensive. Configuring them is expensive. Maintaining them is expensive. In fact, Gartner estimates the annual cost to own and manage traditional on-premise security software applications can be 4X the initial purchase. Each and every move is a significant bite out of the any potential ROI gain in productivity. It might be more than 3 years before the investment starts paying off in any tangible way. Now the cloud, especially the unified security configuration, removes all of the waiting time. As a multi-tenant deployment, there is no hardware to buy, no software to install. Your complex, planned multi-phased, multi-year rollout can be fused a single week (sometimes “installation-to-insight” in minutes). Therefore the cloud version is providing the immediate benefits and immediate returns. Moreover, unified cloud security removes the complexity in configuration, installation and deployment because it is already built and easily customized to fit any sized organization.

We’ll deal with cost later on, but in terms of ROI, because there are no capital expenditures and the ability to keep investment minimized and output maximized means you can realign resources based on immediate business needs. The ROI is the elimination of negative impact—no compliance fines, no trust-busting breaches while waiting for the system to be fully functional, reduced risks and liabilities may decrease various insurance costs, no employees slipping away unnoticed with a database of your customers, no having to put out malware fires, no excessive time management conflicts from multi-sourced coordination, no de-centralized shadow IT, etc..

7. Better safeguard against BYOD: It may be the buzzword of the moment, but it is a trend that will continue to proliferate. Employees are increasingly using their own potentially-unsanctioned devices (smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices) to access your network, applications and data. (Read the blog “The Genie, the bottle and BYOD).  Users love the mobility and the immediacy of these devices, but forget these devices are just hand-held computers prone to the same intrusions, attacks, viruses and risks as the computers used in the office. The larger problem is many users don’t see that, so every time they sign on to your network or download an app, it creates a wider and wider vulnerability gap for the enterprise network. However, by implementing unified security (that includes access control and identity management), you can minimize what an employee (or supplier, partner or any other group) can see and what tools they can access. Additionally unified security policies can create an alert every time one of these unsanctioned devices tries to access the enterprise. Based on your protocols and administrative policies, the system can grant access or block for these mobile devices. It is one way in which identity management, access management; log management and SIEM work seamlessly together and prevent unwarranted access or careless usage issues.

6. Security-as-a-service offers continuous tribal knowledge (expertise) without adding headcount. One of the constant impediments to shrinking the vulnerability gap is recruiting and retaining the specific type of talent necessary to maintain an enterprise-level security initiative. But The MSPAlliance reports that the unemployment rate for such professionals is less than 1%--and the salary for these specialists has doubled in the past three years. Security-as-a-service is the “secret” value-add that accompanies a cloud-based deployment.  Having an expert that understands more than what a denial of service/brute force attack looks like can be invaluable; one that knows how to read in between the lines; that understands context and can trigger an alert or dismiss a possible threat as harmless—and to do it without any additional personnel costs to a company is a huge benefit.

We will be continuing this list next week with our entries of 5 through our number one benefit. However, in case you can’t wait, here’s a preview...

5. Control applications and who gets to use them

4. Know what’s happening faster, more completely

3. Real time actionable information

2. One single, centralized management component

1. More protection, less cost

More Stories By Kevin Nikkhoo

With more than 32 years of experience in information technology, and an extensive and successful entrepreneurial background, Kevin Nikkhoo is the CEO of the dynamic security-as-a-service startup Cloud Access. CloudAccess is at the forefront of the latest evolution of IT asset protection--the cloud.

Kevin holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering from McGill University, Master of Computer Engineering at California State University, Los Angeles, and an MBA from the University of Southern California with emphasis in entrepreneurial studies.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation; Alan Williamson, Principal...
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, discussed how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your aud...
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
"At ROHA we develop an app called Catcha. It was developed after we spent a year meeting with, talking to, interacting with senior citizens watching them use their smartphones and talking to them about how they use their smartphones so we could get to know their smartphone behavior," explained Dave Woods, Chief Innovation Officer at ROHA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and sh...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
"We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data professionals...
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2017 New York The 7th Internet of @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Chris Matthieu is the co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, a revolutionary real-time IoT platform recently acquired by Citrix. Octoblu connects things, systems, people and clouds to a global mesh network allowing users to automate and control design flo...
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...