Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Michael Bushong, Pat Romanski, Sharon Barkai, Adrian Bridgwater, Liz McMillan

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
With the explosion of the cloud, more businesses are transitioning to a recurring revenue model to generate reliable sales, grow profits, and open new markets. This opportunity requires businesses to get to market quickly with the pricing and packaging options customers want. In addition, you will want to take advantage of the ensuing tidal wave of data to more effectively upsell, cross-sell and manage your customers. All of this is possible, but only with the right approach. At 15th Cloud Expo, Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder at Aria Systems and the inventor of cloud billing panelists, will lead a panel discussion on what it takes to launch and manage a successful recurring revenue business. The panelists will offer their insights about what each department will need to consider, from financial management to line of business and IT. The panelists will also offer examples from their success in recurring revenue with companies such as Audi, Constant Contact, Experian, Pitney-Bowes, Teleko...
Planning scalable environments isn't terribly difficult, but it does require a change of perspective. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will broaden your views to think on an Internet scale by dissecting a video publishing application built with The SoftLayer Platform, Message Queuing, Object Storage, and Drupal. By examining a scalable modular application build that can handle unpredictable traffic, attendees will able to grow your development arsenal and pick up a few strategies to apply to your own projects.
Come learn about what you need to consider when moving your data to the cloud. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Skyla Loomis, a Program Director of Cloudant Development at Cloudant, will discuss the security, performance, and operational implications of keeping your data on premise, moving it to the cloud, or taking a hybrid approach. She will use real customer examples to illustrate the tradeoffs, key decision points, and how to be successful with a cloud or hybrid cloud solution.
The cloud provides an easy onramp to building and deploying Big Data solutions. Transitioning from initial deployment to large-scale, highly performant operations may not be as easy. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will discuss the benefits, weaknesses, and performance characteristics of public and bare metal cloud deployments that can help you make the right decisions.
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.
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.
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
Is your organization struggling to deal with skyrocketing volumes of digital assets? The amount of data is growing exponentially and organizations are having a hard time managing this growth. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Amar Kapadia, Senior Director of Open Cloud Strategy at Seagate, will walk through the essential considerations when developing a cloud storage strategy. In this discussion, you will understand the challenges IT is facing, why companies need to move to cloud, and how the right cloud model can help your business economically overcome the data struggle.
If cloud computing benefits are so clear, why have so few enterprises migrated their mission-critical apps? The answer is often inertia and FUD. No one ever got fired for not moving to the cloud – not yet. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Michael Hoch, SVP, Cloud Advisory Service at Virtustream, will discuss the six key steps to justify and execute your MCA cloud migration.
The 16th International Cloud Expo announces that its Call for Papers is now open. 16th International Cloud Expo, to be held June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
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.
In today's application economy, enterprise organizations realize that it's their applications that are the heart and soul of their business. If their application users have a bad experience, their revenue and reputation are at stake. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anand Akela, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Application Performance Management at CA Technologies, will discuss how a user-centric Application Performance Management solution can help inspire your users with every application transaction.
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 Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of 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. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to build reliable, affordable and scalable hybrid cloud storage solutions. Cloudian actively partners with leading cloud computing environments including Amazon Web Services, Citrix Cloud Platform, Apache CloudStack, OpenStack and the vast ecosystem of S3 compatible tools and applications. Cloudian's customers include Vodafone, Nextel, NTT, Nifty, and LunaCloud. The company has additional offices in China and Japan.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise), a leading value-added provider of server and storage virtualization, and r-evolution 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. TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise) is a leading value-added provider of software, systems and solutions for corporations, government organizations, and academic institutions across the United States and Canada. TechXtend is the Exclusive Reseller in the United States for r-evolution