Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Greg Schulz, Liz McMillan, Brian Lavallée, Hovhannes Avoyan, Peter Silva

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, SOA & WOA, Virtualization, Security, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: Article

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

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!

Kevin Nikkhoo
Unified!
www.cloudaccess.com

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.

Cloud Expo Latest Stories
14th International Cloud Expo, held on June 10–12, 2014 at the Javits Center in New York City, featured three content-packed days with a rich array of sessions about the business and technical value of cloud computing, Internet of Things, Big Data, and DevOps led by exceptional speakers from every sector of the IT 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.
Hardware will never be more valuable than on the day it hits your loading dock. Each day new servers are not deployed to production the business is losing money. While Moore’s Law is typically cited to explain the exponential density growth of chips, a critical consequence of this is rapid depreciation of servers. The hardware for clustered systems (e.g., Hadoop, OpenStack) tends to be significant capital expenses. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mason Katz, CTO and co-founder of StackIQ, to discuss how infrastructure teams should be aware of the capitalization and depreciation model of these expenses to fully understand when and where automation is critical.
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e., the largest single medical system in the United States.
In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Hinkle, Senior Director, Open Source Solutions at Citrix Systems Inc., will provide overview of the open source software that can be used to deploy and manage a cloud computing environment. He will include information on storage, networking(e.g., OpenDaylight) and compute virtualization (Xen, KVM, LXC) and the orchestration(Apache CloudStack, OpenStack) of the three to build their own cloud services. Speaker Bio: Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Source Solutions, at Citrix Systems Inc. He joined Citrix as a result of their July 2011 acquisition of Cloud.com where he was their Vice President of Community. He is currently responsible for Citrix open source efforts around the open source cloud computing platform, Apache CloudStack and the Xen Hypervisor. Previously he was the VP of Community at Zenoss Inc., a producer of the open source application, server, and network management software, where he grew the Zenoss Core project to over 10...
Most of today’s hardware manufacturers are building servers with at least one SATA Port, but not every systems engineer utilizes them. This is considered a loss in the game of maximizing potential storage space in a fixed unit. The SATADOM Series was created by Innodisk as a high-performance, small form factor boot drive with low power consumption to be plugged into the unused SATA port on your server board as an alternative to hard drive or USB boot-up. Built for 1U systems, this powerful device is smaller than a one dollar coin, and frees up otherwise dead space on your motherboard. To meet the requirements of tomorrow’s cloud hardware, Innodisk invested internal R&D resources to develop our SATA III series of products. The SATA III SATADOM boasts 500/180MBs R/W Speeds respectively, or double R/W Speed of SATA II products.
As more applications and services move "to the cloud" (public or on-premise) cloud environments are increasingly adopting and building out traditional enterprise features. This in turn is enabling and encouraging cloud adoption from enterprise users. In many ways the definition is blurring as features like continuous operation, geo-distribution or on-demand capacity become the norm. NuoDB is involved in both building enterprise software and using enterprise cloud capabilities. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Proctor, CTO at NuoDB, Inc., will discuss the experiences from building, deploying and using enterprise services and suggest some ways to approach moving enterprise applications into a cloud model.
Until recently, many organizations required specialized departments to perform mapping and geospatial analysis, and they used Esri on-premise solutions for that work. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Dave Peters, author of the Esri Press book Building a GIS, System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers, will discuss how Esri has successfully included the cloud as a fully integrated SaaS expansion of the ArcGIS mapping platform. Organizations that have incorporated Esri cloud-based applications and content within their business models are reaping huge benefits by directly leveraging cloud-based mapping and analysis capabilities within their existing enterprise investments. The ArcGIS mapping platform includes cloud-based content management and information resources to more widely, efficiently, and affordably deliver real-time actionable information and analysis capabilities to your organization.
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mac Devine, Distinguished Engineer at IBM, will discuss bringing these three elements together via Systems of Discover.
Cloud and Big Data present unique dilemmas: embracing the benefits of these new technologies while maintaining the security of your organization’s assets. When an outside party owns, controls and manages your infrastructure and computational resources, how can you be assured that sensitive data remains private and secure? How do you best protect data in mixed use cloud and big data infrastructure sets? Can you still satisfy the full range of reporting, compliance and regulatory requirements? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Derek Tumulak, Vice President of Product Management at Vormetric, will discuss how to address data security in cloud and Big Data environments so that your organization isn’t next week’s data breach headline.
The cloud is everywhere and growing, and with it SaaS has become an accepted means for software delivery. SaaS is more than just a technology, it is a thriving business model estimated to be worth around $53 billion dollars by 2015, according to IDC. The question is – how do you build and scale a profitable SaaS business model? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Jason Cumberland, Vice President, SaaS Solutions at Dimension Data, will give the audience an understanding of common mistakes businesses make when transitioning to SaaS; how to avoid them; and how to build a profitable and scalable SaaS business.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridstore delivers vmOptimized™ Storage that self-optimizes to each application or VM across both virtual and physical environments. Leveraging a grid architecture, Gridstore delivers the first end-to-end storage QoS to ensure the most important App or VM performance is never compromised. The storage grid, that uses Gridstore’s performance optimized nodes or capacity optimized nodes, starts with as few a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia, the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between personal and professional social, mobile and cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dramatically improve productivity, reduce collaboration costs, and increase the overall enterprise value by bringing collaboration and infrastructure solutions to the cloud.
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, war stories, case studies, and recommendations.
Enterprises require the performance, agility and on-demand access of the public cloud, and the management, security and compatibility of the private cloud. The solution? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Simone Brunozzi, VP and Chief Technologist(global role) for VMware, will explore how to unlock the power of the hybrid cloud and the steps to get there. He'll discuss the challenges that conventional approaches to both public and private cloud computing, and outline the tough decisions that must be made to accelerate the journey to the hybrid cloud. As part of the transition, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service model will enable enterprise IT to build services beyond their data center while owning what gets moved, when to move it, and for how long. IT can then move forward on what matters most to the organization that it supports – availability, agility and efficiency.
Every healthy ecosystem is diverse. This is especially true in cloud ecosystems, where portability and interoperability are more important than old enterprise models of proprietary ownership. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Baker, Server Product Manager at Canonical/Ubuntu, will discuss how single vendors used to take the lead in creating and delivering technology, but in a cloud economy, where users want tools of their preference, when and where they need them, it makes no sense.