New cloud business processes need cloud security provisions: reviewed
Businesses across the APAC region are adopting new ways of working that are based heavily on technology — digitally transforming.
But instead of investing vast sums of money in modern data centers, piles of expensive hardware, and recruiting highly skilled (and costly) individuals to run all this new technology, most are instead turning to cloud services.
The cloud offers all the advantages of scalable and incredibly powerful compute, storage, and networking that are found at the bleeding edge, but none of the up-front costs. The as-a-service technology model is now the go-to method deployed in APAC enterprises to get ahead of competitors.
In addition to being low in CAPEX, cloud-based services are simple to spin up, offer transparent licensing models, and in almost all cases, present users with clear interfaces that are quickly assimilated. And as far as security is concerned, the issues of preventing attackers compromising users’ activities are, like upgrading hard disks, the responsibility of the cloud providers.
Of course, any security professional knows full well that passing on the responsibility for cybersecurity to third-parties wholesale is not acceptable. Providers of cloud services are as susceptible to any other business to attack by bad actors, so astute businesses and organizations are minded to add more layers of protection for their users and systems.
Unfortunately, many of the tools that are available to deploy in the context of cloud-centric business technologies were not designed for the new paradigm. Web filtering devices or proxies deployed at perimeter’s edge offer only partial protection and are increasingly fallible. Although no layer of protection is valueless, protective measures that represented significant fractions of an enterprise’s security budget need propping up with additional tools.
The gaps in the armor caused by the shift in the way businesses are deploying technology are widened by the new attack vectors popular among the hackers and bad actors. Last year, over 90 percent of successful attacks on businesses were directed at individuals, rather than by circumnavigating perimeter defenses to attack unprotected servers, for instance.
Hackers take the form of least resistance — it’s most profitable, from their point of view — and people make mistakes. Phishing and malware carried by malicious websites are among the most significant threats faced by organizations across Asia and Australasia today. Here at Tech Wire Asia, we’re looking at three suppliers of next-generation protection, companies whose offerings, we feel, are very much more in tune with the way progressive businesses work today.
The new methodology
Given that businesses use the cloud daily for many of their workflows, the platforms that are proven to make a significant security difference are similarly cloud-based. That’s because a virtual point-of-presence in the cloud gains the agility, elasticity, and speed necessary for enterprises to get the speed of access they need to “the rest” of the internet.
Traditional security gateways suffer in this regard because they have limited resources; when the business grows, the capabilities of the gateway or filtering device need to be manually provisioned. Further, funneling data flows from edge installations and remote workers back into the network hub, and then back out to the internet is inefficient.
As any IT professional will tell you, preventing employees at any level in the organization from working efficiently is seen as a free pass to the affected individual to try and circumvent what they perceive as the obstacle. And that means security risk exposure for that individual, and therefore to the rest of the organization too.
Cloud-based security systems, however, can cope with peak demand bursts for internet access, and do not have to be over-provisioned. The elasticity available means the performance, throughputs, and bandwidth is right there when required. The security systems of the cloud gateway are ready for edge installations, remote workers, branch offices, and multiple locations — seamlessly and without noticeable overhead for users’ day-to-day activities.
For security teams, too, the centralization of the cloud gateway presents the possibility for granular control of policy, and the granting and denying of access to services (and giving access prioritization too, according to business requirements).
The three suppliers chosen here have, we believe, exemplary histories in cybersecurity, but also have the technical acuity to offer solutions ready for the cloud-first business policies adopted by many in the APAC.
The cloud-based Menlo Security Global Cloud Proxy Platform is built on technology called an Isolation Core™, which separates the enterprise network from the public web while providing users with secure, low-latency connections to the Internet and SaaS applications.
The Global Cloud Proxy platform is built in the cloud for the cloud and is architected to help companies embrace a cloud-first architecture. The Isolation Core™ has the capability to assume all internet and web traffic (including email, web, apps and documents) is risky and eliminate both known and unknown threats by removing the active content.
Web traffic, for instance, is rendered by virtualized browser in the Isolation Core before the checked (and if necessary, cleaned) data is passed to the enterprise user’s browser — Adaptive Cloud Rendering (ACR). Of course, any data exfiltration, or user access to unknown sites or services is prevented, and any threats contained and detonated well away from enterprise systems. This is 100 percent protection for email, web, and documents in a cloud-first age.
There’s overarching security control as you might expect, so protection is extended globally as simply as configuring one interface. Policies can be as granular to conservative as required, and because the basis of the cloud platform is elastic, businesses get the agility and scalability essential to compete in today’s markets.
You can read more about the Menlo Security offering on the pages of Tech Wire Asia here.
The industry stalwart Cisco’s offering in this space is termed the Umbrella and comprises of multiple elements which provide fully comprehensive protection for the ways enterprise works today.
Working on the principle of cloud-based control, security professionals can deploy and monitor a range of security measures from a single point of control.
The company’s close ties with major ISPs and CDNs mean that optimizing data traffic flows can also be achieved via the same methods as are used to protect, and the scalability is as high as the end-user’s overheads are low.
With many cloud service providers now advising a direct-to-internet connection to optimize user experience, many security professionals are feeling increasingly uncomfortable with the necessary removal of perimeter devices like traditional proxies or VPNs. Here the Cisco Umbrella layers step in, providing the type of bandwidth required, yet extending robust, enterprise-grade security over all the organization’s activities.
As SaaS is increasingly adopted across the APAC, Cisco is in a unique position in the market thanks to its long pedigree in the security space, plus its ongoing partnerships with network delivery organizations in the region.
Read more about the security offerings from Cisco, here.
Built with the same underpinning security that forms the company’s award-winning McAfee Web Gateway, the Web Gateway Cloud Service is the company’s unified portal through which companies of any size can route their internet traffic of all types.
The solution is designed to work alongside the more “traditional” McAfee Web Gateway, which is available as a hardware or software device and is designed to keep the perimeter of the enterprise safe. The cloud-based instance is designed to protect remote workers, branch offices, and retail stores, as well as employees working from home or on the road.
As threats get more sophisticated, and users and their organizations deploy more to the cloud, extending out protection from the perimeter is an essential part of cybersecurity. Rather than rely on cloud providers’ security layers, the McAfee platform gives proactive organizations a proactive threat detection and prevention platform. Read more here.
*Some of the companies featured on this article are commercial partners of Tech Wire Asia