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Cloud Operators Are Solving Security Integration Issues

Stephen Gates
Edge Security Evangelist & SME

One key takeaway from the RSA Conference, which took place earlier this month in San Francisco, is that the cybersecurity industry is extremely healthy. The number of vendors, products, and solutions that were present or represented demonstrates the deep collective knowledge of the industry. Some of the world’s best demand-generation, marketing, sales, engineering, product, solution, and management teams participated in the event, which drew attendees from all over the world.

Booth after booth, aisle after aisle, and session after session, vast numbers of cybersecurity professionals attended the conference, and each likely took home a free trinket or two. Some high-dollar prizes were being awarded, and even a sports car was raffled off by a vendor to those who attended the vendor's booth presentation. For individuals who have never participated in RSA, attending at least once is a must.

Shortage of Experts

Although thousands of cybersecurity professionals were present at RSA, this number stands in stark contrast to the insufficient number of cybersecurity experts in the industry. Why is there such a shortage? Is it because cyberattack activity is at an all-time high, or is something else driving such a tremendous need? Artificial intelligence, supervised machine learning, zero-trust models, and big-data analytics—some of the common themes at RSA—are likely contributing to the need.

Lack of Integration

When considering the security technologies displayed on the showroom floor, another takeaway was quite apparent: very few cybersecurity vendors have integrated their technologies and solutions. An immense number of standalone products have a single common theme that continues to repeat itself every year. Few, if any, of these products can be easily integrated within the enterprise, beyond the available log management tools on the market today. This multitude of nonintegrated products could be a significant reason why demand is escalating for skilled personnel to manage and operate these products.

One can imagine a new enterprise sending their newly hired IT security team to RSA to select all of the products and solutions needed to adequately secure their enterprise. Where would they possibly begin and how many standalone products would they need? Nearly every product comes with its own user interface, operating requirements, maintenance and support agreements, and so on, and each requires its own level of operator skill and knowledge. Attempting to integrate many of the products found on the showroom floor at any level beyond log aggregation would be nearly impossible.

Even if an enterprise did identify and purchase all of the necessary products to sufficiently protect their organization against today’s cyberthreats, the time and effort required to proficiently deploy all of the products would likely be measured in months or even years. However, all this is about to change because of the widespread adoption of cloud computing. As organizations increasingly move their operations and workloads to the cloud, many of the standalone security products found at RSA will likely become obsolete.

Integration in the Cloud

Today’s cloud operators understand the need for integration at every level within their cloud environments. Many offer a single user interface for creating IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS environments, and they provide a marketplace with a menu of compatible and often integrated applications and solutions. Additionally, many cloud operators include vast numbers of embedded security products and capabilities within their offerings.

Because cloud operators understand that a top priority of organizations today is protecting data (primarily driven by regulatory requirements), securing their customers' cloud workloads and datastores in an integrated fashion is imperative. Integration provides for a better security posture while keeping costs under control. Clearly, a modern defense-in-depth approach that provides integrated security controls is badly needed in our industry overall.

Oracle Cloud Infrastructure provides top-down, bottom-up, internally focused, and externally focused security controls that include the following options, among others:

The goal is to completely integrate all the available solutions into a single administrator experience, all purchased from one place. Customers can choose what products they need, and then purchase and deploy them in a matter of minutes.

Regarding the cloud operators and their offerings at RSA, the lack of integration in traditional cybersecurity controls is being addressed by the more forward-looking operators. Not only are these operators providing increasing numbers of integrated security solutions, they are also helping to reduce the need for more security experts through their streamlined solutions, integrated offerings, and outsourced SOC subscriptions. Today’s second-generation cloud operators appear to be on the right track and are pulling far ahead of many of the traditional standalone security products and approaches.

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