Being a leader in security for over 25 years, we’ve seen a lot of change – in threats, in technology and now recently, in server technology.
The truth is that no two data centers are alike anymore. Some are in an early stage of virtualizing your servers, others are already at 90% virtualization. Some organizations have started a private cloud project, while others are jumping with both feet into the public cloud for the scalability and agility it provides. While these new options hold the promise of greater business agility, better performance and lower costs, the full benefits have yet to be realized. This is especially evident in virtualization. Although a virtual server can be brought online in minutes – corresponding changes to networks, load balancers, firewalls and security controls and policies can take days to implement. And that’s not an equation that works for anyone.
Leading change through operations and security partnership
Security and operations groups operate independently and can sometimes have an acrimonious relationship. Operations needs to move quickly to bring new or modified applications online, while security needs to ensure these applications and data are protected appropriately. This can be exacerbated by legacy security tools that are not optimized for virtualized or cloud environments. Security, like the operational infrastructure in next gen data centers, must be completely automated. There is no time for manual steps to be taken before applications can be brought online.
The basic principles of security haven’t changed – you still need to protect your data, comply with regulatory requirements, block malware, detect suspicious activity, and detect and block vulnerabilities in applications and platforms. What needs to change is the approach. Protection needs to be application aware. Primarily, this means that instead of only depending on physical network security appliances (firewall, IDS/IPS), the administrative load on these systems can be reduced by placing complementary firewall and IDS/IPS functionality closer to the applications.
Virtualization and Cloud environments have the promise of being protected BETTER than they were with applications deployed on physical servers. But this is only possible if security platforms leverage the same virtualization and cloud infrastructure that the applications are benefitting from. This means a shift in thinking from a hardware-based perimeter only mindset to software security that is deployed where it makes the most sense – the result being both security AND operational improvements.
By embracing new technologies and changing the approach to securing your data center – security no longer needs to be the department that says “no” or inhibits business agility and slows transformation. Now you can journey to the public cloud with confidence and even put security and operations back on speaking terms.