Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Mehdi Daoudi, Elizabeth White, Rene Buest

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Cloud Security, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Seven Causes of IT Security Paralysis & Cloud-Based Cures

From cost to complexity to covered to complacency; the excuses no longer hold up

Over and over again I am confronted with disturbing statistics on how risk is growing in disproportion to security readiness.

-91% of companies have experienced at least one IT security event from an external source.
-90% of all cyber crime costs are those caused by web attacks, malicious code and malicious insiders.
-40% reported rogue cloud issues (shadow IT) experienced the exposure of confidential information as a result
-34% share passwords with their co-workers for applications like FedEx, Twitter, Staples, LinkedIn.

These are real stats from studies by like Gartner, Forrester, Ponemon, Kaspersky, Eschelon and others. But there’s one stat that really curls my hair (what little of it is left).

  • Due to complexity, over 70% of organizations still not adequately securing critical systems.

Wow. It’s a staggering number. But it got me to thinking why. What is causing this universal security paralysis? Now I’m not proclaiming securipocolypse, but knowing what we now about the realities and fragility of an IT environment, I am a bit taken aback at the size of the issue.

I’ve broken it down into seven “excuses.” But rather than bemoaning the problem, I want to  rebut those excuses by promoting cloud-based answers.

  1. It’s expensive
  2. It’s time consuming
  3. It’s resource heavy
  4. There’s perceived imbalance in the risk/reward quotient
  5. We’ve got it covered
  6. We haven’t been attacked/complacency
  7. Expertise difficult to retain

Cost: There is no doubt many companies think that a fully integrated security program is going to force it to open its wallet. It is predominantly this reason alone that so many companies  ”get by” with what they have—be it malware or firewall protection, an email sniffer, or based on compliance requirements, whatever is the smallest investment to  get the alphabet soup of agencies off their back.

How cloud security overcomes the obstacle. It’s simple, really. More bang for the buck.  Using the ability to apply operation expenses over capital ones is a significant savings in itself. No expensive servers to buy, no software to maintain and watch depreciate, etc… More importantly is the realization that a company can incorporate a fully capable enterprise juggernaut for pennies on the dollar they would otherwise spend to manage on-premises. Most of us are already aware of the justifying benefits that cloud-based applications provide. I’ve gone on record before stating that for the amount a mid-size company currently pays in support and maintenance for their on-premise initiative, they can easily deploy a robust, fully integrated, fully-capable suite of enterprise-class security solutions from the cloud. The stumbling block here is the proof that such a deployment can adequately meet the specific needs of the unique company.  However by applying the 80/20 rule, by covering 80 percent of a company’s needs, it is more than likely well ahead of anything they are currently doing. Now on top of all that is all the professional services and consulting costs that ostensibly go away, or at least are tremendously reduced when managing from the cloud.

Time: There’s just never enough of it. Every IT pro I talk to wears many hats. They are installers, monitors, coders, patchers, reporters, developers, and a hundred other chapeau descriptors. And security in the modern enterprise needs to be a fully dedicated concern. Sure there are some companies that can afford this, but most can’t…it’s just another line of job description.

How cloud security overcomes the obstacle. Being proactive takes time. By applying security as a service, you remove any additional headcount. You can take the time that was dedicated to certain security functions and reprioritize them for core business functions. Also the fact that so many of the cloud security functions are automated—from self-service password management to HIPAA/PCI compliance reporting to role-based provisioning to correlated alert escalation— give rise to a surplus of  available resources.

Resources. In many companies this is the premium currency. And, in many companies resources are spread devastatingly thin. Whether we are talking human resources, financial resources, spatial resources, application/functional resources or knowledge resources, the ability to weigh and deploy the right amount of assets towards an issue, directly effects its successful management. In every company resources are finite and typically require hard decisions where best to position assets to ensure the smooth running of an enterprise. This is especially true when applied to security.

How cloud security overcomes the obstacle. Security managed from the cloud relieves a great deal of the resource overload. It provides the additional capabilities at a lesser cost. With this expanded functionality and potential, one can create greater awareness and better visibility across a larger scope of information. So not only are you expending less resources to secure many aspects of your enterprise, but it’s  ability to divine things faster and clearer provides a unique advantage to control a greater  scope of the IT environment. By leveraging and unifying these resources, you now know things that would have remained invisible. Therefore you gain the ability to make better decisions faster—giving you the ability to best marshal resources (minimizing costs and maximizing efficiencies) where they need to be.

Risk/Reward Imbalance. The expense of security does not necessarily pay for itself. It’s a cost center, right? But security must be perceived as more than a purchase of some software and the manpower to run reports. There are other factors to consider. The balance sheet doesn’t show the lost business because of lack of trust or poor security reputation. It doesn’t show the savings as it prevents proprietary secrets like sales databases walking away to the competition when an angry employee can gain access weeks after termination. It doesn’t show the fines and lost time when compliance isn’t met. But the big question is not that you apply a security measure or not. That point is moot, you simply have to. However the question CSOs and CIOs struggle with is how much? Where is the tipping point between peace of mind and overkill?

How cloud security overcomes the obstacle. The biggest reason for the risk-reward imbalance is typically the reasons noted already. It’s costly, it takes a certain percentage of manpower, and it’s complex. But if cloud-based security capabilities remove those obstacles, the balance starts tipping more heavily toward reward. If an organization can deploy a fully-integrated, unified security platform for what it is paying now for its current bits and pieces, AND have it properly monitored and analyzed without adding headcount, AND have it deployed to the company’s unique specifications and scale, then the conversation becomes about performance rather than scope; then the TCO drops and the ROI begins to climb.

Covered: Log management, by itself, won’t cut it. Neither will just web access control or firewall protection. In some cases, it may bring you up to the letter of the law with regard to compliance, but if security is like a house, the door is locked but all the windows are open. If you’re of the 30% who truly are properly secured, then stop reading. But if you are most companies, you really don’t have it covered. The excuse is simply code for I have other fires to put out, and it isn’t a large enough issue for me to raise it up on the priority scale. I should know, I use it as a default setting for most sales calls.

How cloud security overcomes the obstacle. Quick answer is a unified security deployment from the cloud allows you to fill in the gaps of where you currently are lacking. Not consistently monitoring? Check. Not controlling access to certain applications. Check. Not analyzing data and creating escalation alerts in real time? Check. It doesn’t have to be a replacement strategy—get rid of all the investment and hard work you’ve put into a certain systems, solutions, processes and tools. The beauty of the cloud is you can pick and choose the pieces you need easily and have them leverage any existing program. It is scalable, flexible and manageable.

Not attacked: Do you know that for sure? If you are not checking for termites, doesn’t mean your house isn’t infested. Those who think their organizations are too small or too unimportant for hackers to care are only seeing part of the picture. It’s common understanding that it is not an issue of ‘if” anymore, but a measure of “when.” an IT security event will occur. Still not convinced? Hackers are banking on this thought process to use these systems as stepping stones for larger fish. If your system is open and you connect to larger payment systems or applications, you are open to danger. Second, not every danger is some barbarian at the gate. Sometimes the threats (or carelessness) come from within. Again, check the stats. 91%. If you are part of the 9% who hasn’t been touched by an IT security event, I want to know what you’re doing right!

How cloud security overcomes the obstacle. Simply apply one of the free trials of any of the cloud-based SIEM solutions out there that monitor in real time and you will have your eyes opened into how much activity is pinging your system every day. I am fond of telling the story of a significant retailer who had thought they had a pretty good handle on what was going on in their environment. After our SIEM system had been monitoring intrusions and the like for just over a month, the results were starkly different than the client anticipated. It was more than triple the amount of negative activity they thought.

Lack of expertise: Finding the right person to deploy and manage a top notch security program is tough. Stats say (MSP Alliance) that unemployment for pros with these skills is less than 1%. And once you find them, they are expensive to recruit and keep. In fact their salaries have doubled over the past three years.

How cloud security overcomes the obstacle. Security as a service builds in the expertise required to monitor, analyze, and manage a strong security presence. Through this version of outsourcing, you not only save on the hard costs of salary, but the soft costs of training, ramp up, benefits, vacations, etc. Yet  more than the costs, is the propagation of continuous tribal knowledge of orchestrating, manipulating,  analyzing the vast amount of inbound data, and applying the right actions quickly and decisively to keep the IT landscape operating smoothly, in the confines of compliance and strategically viable. In the end, this is one of the most valuable assets cloud security offers.

There’s no longer an excuse to be part of that 70%!

 

Kevin Nikkhoo

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.

@CloudExpo Stories
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. Jack Norris reviews best practices to show how companies develop, deploy, and dynamically update these applications and how this data-first...
Intelligent Automation is now one of the key business imperatives for CIOs and CISOs impacting all areas of business today. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Boeggeman, VP Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, will talk about how business value is created and delivered through intelligent automation to today’s enterprises. The open ecosystem platform approach toward Intelligent Automation that Ayehu delivers to the market is core to enabling the creation of the self-driving enterprise.
"We're here to tell the world about our cloud-scale infrastructure that we have at Juniper combined with the world-class security that we put into the cloud," explained Lisa Guess, VP of Systems Engineering at Juniper Networks, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, discussed how to use Kubernetes to set up a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace. H...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Grape Up will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct. 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company specializing in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market across the U.S. and Europe, Grape Up works with a variety of customers from emergi...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Massive Networks will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Massive Networks mission is simple. To help your business operate seamlessly with fast, reliable, and secure internet and network solutions. Improve your customer's experience with outstanding connections to your cloud.
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution and join Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader, Sergey Grebnov, in his session at @ThingsExpo, for an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
Because IoT devices are deployed in mission-critical environments more than ever before, it’s increasingly imperative they be truly smart. IoT sensors simply stockpiling data isn’t useful. IoT must be artificially and naturally intelligent in order to provide more value In his session at @ThingsExpo, John Crupi, Vice President and Engineering System Architect at Greenwave Systems, will discuss how IoT artificial intelligence (AI) can be carried out via edge analytics and machine learning techn...
FinTechs use the cloud to operate at the speed and scale of digital financial activity, but are often hindered by the complexity of managing security and compliance in the cloud. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Sesh Murthy, co-founder and CTO of Cloud Raxak, showed how proactive and automated cloud security enables FinTechs to leverage the cloud to achieve their business goals. Through business-driven cloud security, FinTechs can speed time-to-market, diminish risk and costs, maintain continu...
"Cloud computing is certainly changing how people consume storage, how they use it, and what they use it for. It's also making people rethink how they architect their environment," stated Brad Winett, Senior Technologist for DDN Storage, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Existing Big Data solutions are mainly focused on the discovery and analysis of data. The solutions are scalable and highly available but tedious when swapping in and swapping out occurs in disarray and thrashing takes place. The resolution for thrashing through machine learning algorithms and support nomenclature is through simple techniques. Organizations that have been collecting large customer data are increasingly seeing the need to use the data for swapping in and out and thrashing occurs ...
As many know, the first generation of Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solutions were designed for managing virtual infrastructure (IaaS) and traditional applications. But that’s no longer enough to satisfy evolving and complex business requirements. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Scott Davis, Embotics CTO, will explore how next-generation CMPs ensure organizations can manage cloud-native and microservice-based application architectures, while also facilitating agile DevOps methodology. He wi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera, that offers a radically new data management architecture, has been named "Exhibitor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo ®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera is transforming the traditional datacenter model through modern cloud simplicity. The technology industry is at another major inflection point. The rise of mobile, the Internet of Things, data storage and Big...
Blockchain is a shared, secure record of exchange that establishes trust, accountability and transparency across business networks. Supported by the Linux Foundation's open source, open-standards based Hyperledger Project, Blockchain has the potential to improve regulatory compliance, reduce cost as well as advance trade. Are you curious about how Blockchain is built for business? In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, will discuss th...
“Why didn’t testing catch this” must become “How did this make it to testing?” Traditional quality teams are the crutch and excuse keeping organizations from making the necessary investment in people, process, and technology to accelerate test automation. Just like societies that did not build waterways because the labor to keep carrying the water was so cheap, we have created disincentives to automate. In her session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Anne Hungate, President of Daring System...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...