For years, organizations have focused most of their network security efforts on the perimeter. First there were firewalls, then intrusion prevention systems came along followed by web proxies, and recently advanced malware detection (AKA sandboxing) solutions. This perimeter-focused approach is often referred to as the M&M Strategy – a hard crunchy outside and soft chewy inside. The problem of course, is once hackers successfully penetrate the perimeter of the network or the data center, (and let’s face it, this has not been a rare occurrence in recent years) there is very little restriction of lateral movement between servers in the data centers.
One of the more interesting phenomena I have observed when working with companies on their network security challenges is that every company feels that their challenges are unique. While this is true to some extent, there are many more similarities than differences between companies. One such similarity is the existence of “Network Ned”.
Why is it that virtually all aspects of IT operate at near real time EXCEPT security? You can spin up a new server on demand or create a new database in a couple of minutes, but anything that has to do with the security policy can take weeks—or longer.
According to a recent survey, two thirds of organizations are currently deploying or planning to deploy business applications on a public cloud infrastructure. If your organization is among them consider this: two-thirds of the organizations we surveyed are struggling to figure out how to extend their security policy across the hybrid environment. It a little daunting, right?
This situation may sound familiar – your CEO, CIO, or another executive outside of the security organization summons you to a meeting. “We have decided to move [Enter unreasonable number here] of our business applications to the public cloud by [Enter impossible timeframe here] he announces. “And don’t tell us that security is an issue in the cloud – [Enter name of high-profile competitor here] has already saved millions of dollars by moving to the cloud – so do what you need to do make sure we are secure”.
In September, a critical bug in the open source Bourne-Again Shell (BASH) that’s ubiquitous in Unix-based systems, including Linux and Mac OS X, displaced Heartbleed as the top network security threat. Called Shellshock, the bug allows hackers to insert code into the shell and hijack an operating system through the internet. From there, they can access sensitive information—unless a strong defense is in place.