From the Blogosphere
When Is a Stack Not a Stack? When It's Unified in the Cloud
All the right tools do not necessarily give you the best visibility across your enterprise
By: Kevin Nikkhoo
Feb. 19, 2013 10:15 AM
While trawling the blogs, feeds and news I came across an analyst’s article about best security practices in which he kept referring to “the stack.” And by this, he meant a multitude of various solutions that address certain security needs and capabilities; everything from email filtering, firewalling, authenticating, credentialing, logging and intrusion detection, etc...
And, if you read my blogs often enough, you know I am a big proponent of unified security. However, unified security is not a stack. It is easy to be confused as both look to utilize best of breed tools to prevent negative impact on IP assets. A stack references a number of technologies where each operates independently from one another. Single sign on by itself is a sufficient tool, but when operating alone in its own silo, important contextual information is lost.
The unified approach, as I describe in REACT, is a collaborative practice whereby each tools’ capabilities are cooperatively leveraged. It is a tightly integrated system where everything is correlated in real time in order to provide an accurate and up-to-the-moment view of who is doing what and how to your online and network resources. For example all the data collected from identity or access management is shared with SIEM and Log Management. Unification is about better visibility. It marries the features and functionality into a central understanding of what is truly going on in your network.
As 451 Group analyst and research director Rachel Chalmers said, “It takes more than a firewall to secure virtual infrastructure.”
Let’s look at unified security collaboration (UniSec) from a more practical standpoint. Your company has invested in several cloud-based database/CRM and other useful (legacy) applications. In some cases sensitive data exists somewhere in these apps—passwords, customer numbers, invoices, even personal/personnel information. Now single sign on makes it easier for authorized users to log into these resources. Identity management provisions (based on roles/rules) what specific assets they can see. If it ends there, you have partial visibility. You have controlled information and get the necessary reports. They only cover certain applications, but not the entire expanded network.
However, you also use a log management tool. So every log on is noted in some machine code and filed away for further review. But, your security designee is now reviewing similar data in multiple places. And, it’s often without context and days or weeks after any particular incident.
Now assume your company also has SIEM or some version of intrusion detection. Is it looking at Active Directory log ons? Is it looking at application usage? Is it notating unusual activity? Is it doing so in real time?
If stacked, you potentially have all the tools but, like a thoroughbred with blinders, it doesn’t see to the left or right. These tools do their job, but if they are performing in parallel, your visibility is limited. When unified through a REACT (real time event and access correlation technology) platform, a very different picture may emerge. Because an active SIEM correlates data from multiple silos of information, what looked like a simple log in, now is suspect (or vice versa). Who is accessing the database and making modifications at 3 in the morning? Who is using an unsecured device? Why does R&D need access to payroll records? Why is a retired password being used to log on…from an IP address in Bulgaria? Mr. Jones is no longer an employee, but has logged in 3 times this week and accessed our customer list.
And most importantly, what can be done with enhanced visibility? Faster, better decisions; quicker response to potential harmful situations; smarter deployment of personnel and computing resources. And that the reporting and the capabilities are all controlled centrally removes the time and effort to compile and analyze all the silos independently.
The unified approach addresses the broader threat landscape. Threats aren’t always large brute force attacks by some army of hackers trying to knock down the castle door with a battering ram. In most cases they’re considerably more subtle, but just as destructive. So if you can intelligently correlate information from a variety of sources, the greyer, more problematic issues can be addressed, alerted and remediated.
Now bundle it up as a cloud-based security initiative and there emerges other tangible and budgetary benefits. Companies who were certain they could only afford firewall and malware protection can now deploy an enterprise-grade security program complete with live security-as-a-service analysts monitoring 24/7. The scalability and agility make this option very attractive and very affordable for most modest or budget restrictive companies.
It is a great first step if an organization makes the investment in such tools as SIEM, Log Management, Single Sign On, Identity and Access Management. If you can afford it and have the manpower the proactively manage it, great. However, not to belabor the point, having all these tools can be like having lumber, nails, appliances, carpeting, concrete, etc…but if it doesn't “work” together, it is not a house, it is simply a stack of useful parts. . Unification makes it a house…and the cloud makes it a home!
Cloud Expo Breaking News
Best Recent Articles on Cloud Computing & Big Data Topics
The Arlington, Virginia-based National Science Foundation has just released its "Report on Support for Cloud Computing" - in response to the America Competes Reauthorization Act of 2010, Section 524. It is an absolute must-read for all concerned with current and future research projects in Cloud Computing.
"The volume of data we're generating now from machines pales in comparison to the volume of data we'll soon generate from our own bodies," says data security expert Dave Asprey. Writing in a Trend Micro blog, Asprey - who is one of the leaders in the emerging Quantified Self movement - explains his vision of a world in which personal biometrical data is shared via the cloud.
Cloud computing has caught the attention of business leaders around the world in every industry because of its enormous transformative potential. Visionary companies know that the value of the cloud is far greater than the current focus solely on technology and operating costs: when combined with a collaborative approach to designing processes, cloud computing will change how we do business.
Want to make sense of the hottest new concept in Enterprise IT? Want to understand in just hours what experts have spent many hundreds of days deciphering? Cloud computing is a technology that has rapidly evolving peppered with a lot of hype along the way. Customers find it hard to navigate through this and make sense of what aspects of this technology will give them real business benefit. Cloud Computing Bootcamp, led by our 2013 Bootcamp Instructor Larry Carvalho, is a great way to get a practical understanding of this technology. We offer multiple days of actionable insight into what vendor offerings are currently available and help you comprehend their strategy. The ever-popular Bootcamp, which is now held regularly around the world, is being held in conjunction with the 12th Cloud Expo, June 10-13, 2013, at the Javits Center, New York, NY.
Did you know that ninety percent of the data in the world has been created in the last two years? Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion (or 2.518) bytes of data, according to IBM. As corporations across all industries globally are struggling with how to retain, aggregate and analyze this mounting volume of what the industry refers to as Big Data, it also provides a unique opportunity for innovative startups that recognize the business prospects Big Data presents. Big Data is not just unlocking new information but new sources of economic and business value. Interactivity is driving Big Data, with people and machines both consuming and creating it. Digital companies focused on becoming good at aggregating and analyzing the data created by the end users of their product, who then provide their customers with solid insights taken from that data are at a distinct competitive advantage over others in the marketplace.
Industry-specific clouds are those PaaS, IaaS, and PaaS services that are tailored for a specific vertical, such as transportation, retail, finance, and health care. IDC sees a $65 billion market in these industry solutions for 2013, rising to $100 billion in 2016. The value of industry-specific clouds is that businesses within a vertical can connect to applications, processes, and databases that are pre-defined for that vertical within a public or private cloud. They can extend processes and databases into the business domain, versus defining the data and processes within a generic cloud-based platform. So, are industry specific clouds right for your business? What options are out there? How do you figure out the ROI?
SYS-CON Events announced today that Rackspace Hosting, the open cloud company, has been named "Platinum Plus Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 12th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 10-13, 2013, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. Rackspace® Hosting (NYSE: RAX) is the open cloud company, delivering open technologies and powering more than 205,000 customers worldwide. Rackspace provides its renowned Fanatical Support® across a broad portfolio of IT products, including Public Cloud, Private Cloud, Hybrid Hosting and Dedicated Hosting. Rackspace has been recognized by Bloomberg BusinessWeek as a Top 100 Performing Technology Company, is featured on Fortune's list of 100 Best Companies to Work For and is included on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Rackspace was positioned in the Leaders Quadrant by Gartner Inc. in the "2011 Magic Quadrant for Managed Hosting." Rackspace is headquartered in San Antonio with offices and data centers around the world.
10th International Cloud Expo, held on June 11-14, 2012 at the Javits Center in New York City, featured four content-packed days with a rich array of sessions about the business and technical value of cloud computing led by exceptional speakers from every sector of the cloud computing ecosystem. The Cloud Expo series is the fastest-growing Enterprise IT event in the past 10 years, devoted to every aspect of delivering massively scalable enterprise IT as a service. We invite you to enjoy our photo album of the show - we'll be adding new images all week.
Ulitzer.com announced "the World's 30 most influential Cloud bloggers," who collectively generated more than 24 million Ulitzer page views. Ulitzer's annual "most influential Cloud bloggers" list was announced at Cloud Expo, which drew more delegates than all other Cloud-related events put together worldwide. "The world's 50 most influential Cloud bloggers 2010" list will be announced at the Cloud Expo 2010 East, which will take place April 19-21, 2010, at the Jacob Javitz Convention Center, in New York City, with more than 5,000 expected to attend.
Cloud computing is becoming one of the next industry buzz words. It joins the ranks of terms including: grid computing, utility computing, virtualization, clustering, etc. Cloud computing overlaps some of the concepts of distributed, grid and utility computing, however it does have its own meaning if contextually used correctly. The conceptual overlap is partly due to technology changes, usages and implementations over the years. Trends in usage of the terms from Google searches shows Cloud Computing is a relatively new term introduced in the past year. There has also been a decline in general interest of Grid, Utility and Distributed computing. Likely they will be around in usage for quit a while to come. But Cloud computing has become the new buzz word driven largely by marketing and service offerings from big corporate players like Google, IBM and Amazon.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dell Inc. has been named "Silver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 12th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 10-13, 2013, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. For more than 28 years, Dell has empowered countries, communities, customers and people everywhere to use technology to realize their dreams. Customers trust Dell to deliver technology solutions that help them do and achieve more, whether they're at home, work, school or anywhere in their world. Learn more about Dell's story, purpose and people behind its customer-centric approach.
One of the most compelling promises of the cloud is that you can pull out a credit card and be working in minutes. No purchase orders to fill out, no equipment to wait for on the loading dock. Just instant access to the resources you need, when you need them. But accessibility comes at a price, and an unintentional consequence may be that you create yet another orphaned identity silo. Enterprise IT has spent years consolidating its mishmash of directories, only to discover that cloud now threatens to turn back their hard-won victories. In his session at the 12th International Cloud Expo, Scott Morrison, CTO and Chief Architect at Layer 7 Technologies, will look at strategies to incorporate identity into cloud applications. Enterprise identity or social login can both be a part of your go-to-cloud strategy, but you must plan for this upfront, rather than try to retrofit identity and access control at a later date.
Cloud Expo, Cloud Expo East, Cloud Expo West, Cloud Expo Silicon Valley, Cloud Expo Europe, Cloud Expo Tokyo, Cloud Expo Prague, Cloud Expo Hong Kong, Cloud Expo Sao Paolo are trademarks and /or registered trademarks (USPTO serial number 85009040) of Cloud Expo, Inc.
The World's Most Influential Blogs