As people, devices, and objects become more connected, protecting all these connections and environments has become critical. It’s become one of the biggest challenges currently facing IT. Why? Because IT across all industries must, by necessity, secure each and every interaction between users, applications, and data – regardless of how and where they’re connecting. Moreover, they must secure these interactions in environments that are constantly changing and increasingly dynamic.
So how do you mitigate risk in a world where IT complexity and “anytime, anywhere” digital interactions are growing exponentially? For organisations embracing cloud and virtualised environments, maximum visibility and control are key to mitigating this risk.
In recent years, businesses across virtually every industry have experienced high profile data breaches that have compromised sensitive corporate and customer data, adding up to millions of pounds in terms of remediation costs, brand damage, loss of trust and sales. Although the methods of attack varied, most breaches exploited (and exposed) the inherent weakness of perimeter-centric network security, which traditionally focuses on protecting north-south traffic via perimeter firewalls. But what happens when a threat actually makes it past the perimeter firewall? In such instances, there are very few controls in place inside the data centre to prevent it from spreading across east-west (i.e., server-to server) traffic. With the growing sophistication of today’s modern threats, this has unfortunately become an all-too-common occurrence.
To attempt to solve this problem, many organisations have deployed an array of point products, creating a complex and disconnected web of systems that are inflexible, difficult to provision, and largely out of alignment with the applications they’re intended to protect. To make matters worse, the tools available to carry out malicious attacks have become extremely powerful and easy to use, enabling a broader range of actors to successfully breach their targets.
IT Needs Both Security and Agility
To meet the expectations of business leaders and stakeholders, IT must be able to deliver critical services and applications quickly, yet securely. However, as they strive to secure the business, IT teams face numerous obstacles, including:
- Changing application architectures, from on-premises monolithic applications toward distributed applications and microservices
- Lack of visibility and context of network traffic
- Rigid, perimeter-centric security models and policies
- Difficulty in achieving, maintaining, and demonstrating compliance
Businesses Need Agility to Drive Growth
As organisations seek to accelerate time to market, they also need to control security and manage risk more effectively. And therein lies the challenge: dramatically improving security and compliance posture using conventional tools can often negatively impact business agility.
So how do you give IT teams the solutions and resources they need to keep pace with the speed of business operations while maintaining infrastructure security? Employing a fresh approach to securing the application infrastructure lets IT take advantage of several powerful capabilities:
Abstraction of Applications from Infrastructure
This unlocks full visibility into the application data path for a better understanding of traffic patterns. It lets IT dramatically increase contextual understanding of how infrastructure and applications interact with one other as well as with data. With a complete and unified view of data, applications, and infrastructure, organisations can create policy and respond to threats more effectively.
Granular Application-Aligned Security Policy
A virtualised approach lets organisations closely align security policies to the applications they are meant to protect, and follow them as they move across public and private clouds. It enables network micro-segmentation to prevent the lateral (east-west) spread of threats between workloads and applications. And it makes it easier to intelligently insert third-party security services into the platform when new capabilities are needed.
Hypervisor-Based Infrastructure Protection
A model that abstracts applications from the underlying infrastructure also provides an ideal point within the infrastructure to protect against compromising the infrastructure itself. Organisations can protect data at rest through workload level encryption on each hypervisor host. And they can encrypt data in flight to mitigate the risk of compromised networking components like routers and switches.
Today, IT is facing unprecedented challenges driven by digital transformation and a fast-changing threat landscape. In this dynamic environment, it’s more important than ever to partner with a proven technology vendor to help ensure that business operations stay safe. We partner with VMWare who offer industry-leading technologies that enhance application security environments.
‘3 Fundamentals to Securing the Application Infrastructure’ taken from the VMWare solution overview ‘The Fundamentals of a Secure Application Infrastructure’