Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Tech Spot, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Dan Ristic

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Microservices Journal, Virtualization, Security, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: 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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ciqada will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ciqada™ makes it easy to connect your products to the Internet. By integrating key components - hardware, servers, dashboards, and mobile apps - into an easy-to-use, configurable system, your products can quickly and securely join the internet of things. With remote monitoring, control, and alert messaging capability, you will mee...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GENBAND, a leading developer of real time communications software solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The GENBAND team will be on hand to demonstrate their newest product, Kandy. Kandy is a communications Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables companies to seamlessly integrate more human communications into their Web and mobile applicatio...
SYS-CON Events announced today that BroadSoft, the leading global provider of Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) services to operators worldwide, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BroadSoft is the leading provider of software and services that enable mobile, fixed-line and cable service providers to offer Unified Communications over their Internet Protocol networks. The Compa...
The IoT Bootcamp is coming to Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo on June 9-10 at the Javits Center in New York. Instructor. Registration is now available at http://iotbootcamp.sys-con.com/ Instructor Janakiram MSV previously taught the famously successful Multi-Cloud Bootcamp at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in November in Santa Clara. Now he is expanding the focus to Janakiram is the founder and CTO of Get Cloud Ready Consulting, a niche Cloud Migration and Cloud Operations firm that recently got acquir...
PubNub on Wednesday released an open source template to allow developers to add Skype-like video chat into their apps. The free template provides a fully functional video chat platform using WebRTC, PubNub and Google Authentication for a global, reliable collaboration solution. “While the WebRTC protocol has created huge excitement as a way to deliver video chat ubiquitously, there’s still a gap between the protocol itself and the ability to deploy a working, globally scaled, collaboration appl...
Today, IT is not just a cost center. IT is an enabler and driver of business. With the emergence of the hybrid cloud paradigm, IT now has increasingly more capabilities to create new strategic opportunities for a business. Hybrid cloud allows an organization to utilize multi-tenant public clouds, dedicated private clouds, bare metal hosting, and the associated support and services for the right use cases through an on-demand, XaaS model. This model of IT creates tremendous opportunities for busi...
SOASTA, the leader in performance analytics, today reported record growth of the CloudTest community, exceeding 30,000 registered users of the CloudTest platform in Q1 2015. SOASTA also announced widespread adoption of its Web and mobile testing solutions, with more than 1,600 customers completing more than 285,000 tests using CloudTest during the quarter. This rapid growth shows that DevOps-driven digital businesses are embracing a more continuous approach to testing, and CloudTest is meeting t...
ProfitBricks has launched its new DevOps Central and REST API, along with support for three multi-cloud libraries and a Python SDK. This, combined with its already existing SOAP API and its new RESTful API, moves ProfitBricks into a position to better serve the DevOps community and provide the ability to automate cloud infrastructure in a multi-cloud world. Following this momentum, ProfitBricks has also introduced several libraries that enable developers to use their favorite language to code ...
While DevOps most critically and famously fosters collaboration, communication, and integration through cultural change, culture is more of an output than an input. In order to actively drive cultural evolution, organizations must make substantial organizational and process changes, and adopt new technologies, to encourage a DevOps culture. Moderated by Andi Mann, panelists will discuss how to balance these three pillars of DevOps, where to focus attention (and resources), where organizations m...
SYS-CON Events announced today that kintone has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. kintone promotes cloud-based workgroup productivity, transparency and profitability with a seamless collaboration space, build your own business applic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Stratoscale, the new data center operating system, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Based in Herzeliya, Israel, Stratoscale is redefining the data center, developing a hardware-agnostic, software platform hyper-converging compute, storage and networking across the rack or data center. The self-optimizing platform automatically distributes all physical...
of cloud, colocation, managed services and disaster recovery solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. TierPoint, LLC, is a leading national provider of information technology and data center services, including cloud, colocation, disaster recovery and managed IT services, with corporate headquarters in St. Louis, MO. TierPoint was formed through the strategic combination of some of t...
How do you securely enable access to your applications in AWS without exposing any attack surfaces? The answer is usually very complicated because application environments morph over time in response to growing requirements from your employee base, your partners and your customers. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Haseeb Budhani, CEO and Co-founder of Soha, will share five common approaches that DevOps teams follow to secure access to applications deployed in AWS, Azure, etc., and the frict...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Soha will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit New York, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Soha delivers enterprise-grade application security, on any device, as agile as the cloud. This turnkey, cloud-based service enables customers to solve secure application access and delivery challenges that traditional or virtualized network solutions cannot solve because they are too expensive, inflexible and operational...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vicom Computer Services, Inc., a provider of technology and service solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. They are located at booth #427. Vicom Computer Services, Inc. is a progressive leader in the technology industry for over 30 years. Headquartered in the NY Metropolitan area. Vicom provides products and services based on today’s requirements...
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, 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 bu...
What exactly is a cognitive application? In her session at 16th Cloud Expo, Ashley Hathaway, Product Manager at IBM Watson, will look at the services being offered by the IBM Watson Developer Cloud and what that means for developers and Big Data. She'll explore how IBM Watson and its partnerships will continue to grow and help define what it means to be a cognitive service, as well as take a look at the offerings on Bluemix. She will also check out how Watson and the Alchemy API team up to off...
With IoT exploding, massive data will transform businesses with opportunities to monetize almost anything that can be measured. In this C-Level Roundtable Discussion at @ThingsExpo, Brendan O’Brien, Aria Systems Co-founder and Chief Evangelist, will lead an expert panel of consultants, thought leaders and practitioners who will look at these new monetization trends, discuss the implications, and detail lessons learned from their collective experience. Finally, the panel will point the way forw...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Column Technologies, a global technology solutions company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Established in 1998, Column Technologies is a leader in application performance and infrastructure management for commercial and federal markets. The company is headquartered in the United States, with a diverse and talented team of more than 350 employees around th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY., and the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ...