Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: David H Deans, Pat Romanski, Janakiram MSV, Jnan Dash, Andreas Grabner

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

@CloudExpo: 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.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet and...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
The security needs of IoT environments require a strong, proven approach to maintain security, trust and privacy in their ecosystem. Assurance and protection of device identity, secure data encryption and authentication are the key security challenges organizations are trying to address when integrating IoT devices. This holds true for IoT applications in a wide range of industries, for example, healthcare, consumer devices, and manufacturing. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lancen LaChance, vic...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IoT Now has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IoT Now explores the evolving opportunities and challenges facing CSPs, and it passes on some lessons learned from those who have taken the first steps in next-gen IoT services.
SYS-CON Events announced today that WineSOFT will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Based in Seoul and Irvine, WineSOFT is an innovative software house focusing on internet infrastructure solutions. The venture started as a bootstrap start-up in 2010 by focusing on making the internet faster and more powerful. WineSOFT’s knowledge is based on the expertise of TCP/IP, VPN, SSL, peer-to-peer, mob...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, discussed the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports.
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it m...
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dataloop.IO, an innovator in cloud IT-monitoring whose products help organizations save time and money, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Dataloop.IO is an emerging software company on the cutting edge of major IT-infrastructure trends including cloud computing and microservices. The company, founded in the UK but now based in San Fran...
Things are changing so quickly in IoT that it would take a wizard to predict which ecosystem will gain the most traction. In order for IoT to reach its potential, smart devices must be able to work together. Today, there are a slew of interoperability standards being promoted by big names to make this happen: HomeKit, Brillo and Alljoyn. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Adam Justice, vice president and general manager of Grid Connect, will review what happens when smart devices don’t work togethe...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sudarshan Krishnamurthi, a Senior Manager, Business Strategy, at Cisco Systems, will discuss how IT and operational technology (OT) work together, as opposed to being in separate siloes as once was traditional. Attendees will learn how to fully leverage the power of IoT in their organization by bringing the two sides together and bridging the communication gap. He will also look at what good leadership must entail in order to accomplish this, and how IT managers ca...