Click here to close now.


Industrial IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Steve Watts, Brian Daleiden, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Cloud Security, Java IoT, Industrial IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

Cloud Security: Article

Network Security Operations in an Increasingly Application-Centric World

It’s Bridge-Building Time

Using technology to break down corporate silos within IT is not a new concept, but seeing it in action is a testament to the power technology has to transform business. One area of IT that is currently undergoing such a transformation is network security operations. Over the past few years, complexity has been the catalyst for automating critical facets of network security operations. Having reaped the benefits that come with automating outdated manual processes, administrators have found that a deeper challenge exists: network security operations as whole must evolve in order to account for an increasingly application -centric enterprise.

Business-critical applications such as CRM, ERP, Payroll and HR systems - not to mention sophisticated e-commerce and back-end transaction processing systems - have become the lifeblood of the modern enterprise. These applications need to be up and running 24/7. Now that a much-needed wave of automation has given network security operations teams more breathing room, they have found that one of the most important things the business wants from them is to ensure the connectivity requirements of these business-critical applications are being met. Commissioning applications, de-commissioning applications, managing a major upgrade or bug fix, or rolling out a new enterprise application are all items that can impact application availability. Additionally, mergers, acquisitions, data center consolidations and other and technology transitions require IT departments to translate application connectivity requirements into firewalls policies that are secure and if applicable, align with any internal or regulatory mandates.

While these tasks are mainly the charter of applications teams, network security teams have become increasingly involved in managing these aspects of application connectivity. In fact, managing application connectivity requirements has become the main reason rule (a.k.a policy) changes are made to network devices such as firewalls, switches, routers, web proxies and load balancers. However, these devices were not necessarily designed to manage application connectivity as a specific business requirement, so extracting the necessary information needed to manage application connectivity is extremely difficult. Application-connectivity related data is parsed across numerous network devices and rules within those devices. It is also constantly changing.

Furthermore, it is not something that operations teams can create from scratch or in a vacuum. They need to communicate with application owners in order to get information such as server IP addresses, port numbers, database, LDAP, authentication and other servers needed to ensure the application runs smoothly, and they need to make sure that application owners are aware of and account for relevant changes that impact other aspects of application management.

However, network security teams and application teams have not had much interaction. While these two groups now share a common need to access and manage application connectivity-related data, there is little, if any, common ground between them. They have different agendas, use different lingo, and are measured on different criteria. Network Security teams care about network security, regulation compliance and risks. Applications teams care about service delivery, application up-time and business continuity.

This has presented a new set of challenges - business process and communication issues that require attention. It's no secret that these two teams must find a way to work in harmony to implement increasingly complex security requirements without compromising the organization's business objectives. This is where technology can be used to quite literally to bridge the existing gaps that exist between these two groups. It is a people, as opposed to a device-oriented approach to managing IT. And it is in this capacity - the use of technology to break down existing silos within IT - where technology can be truly transformative, in the very best sense of the word.

While Next Generation firewalls have introduced the concept of application-awareness to network security, both network security operations teams and application teams require application connectivity-awareness. In order to achieve it they need to change their whole approach to their jobs, and start collaborating with each other. But until these two silos are aligned with a single set of objectives, they are sure to continue along parallel lines. The good news is that this problem has now reached critical mass, and the market is responding. Good automation usually accomplishes two things - it either simplifies complexity or simplifies processes. While both are equally important, there is something to be said for using technology to bring people together. It's good to see process automation happening in the network security operations world. It's time to knock down the walls that prevent network and application administrators from communicating the way the need to in an application-centric world.

"Something there is that doesn't love a wall, That wants it down..."

--Robert Frost, Mending Wall

More Stories By Shaul Efraim

Shaul Efraim is Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Tufin Technologies. He brings more than 18 years of results-oriented industry experience in key sales and marketing management roles. He has driven Tufin’s message through the creation of powerful channel, customer relations and marketing programs, highlighting the company’s unmatched expertise in firewall change management solutions and dedication to technical excellence.

Previously, Shaul held positions as various product management and technical marketing roles at Check Point Software, as well as PortAuthority Technologies and Eastronics Company. With a rich technical and marketing background, he holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from Tel Aviv University.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Countless business models have spawned from the IaaS industry – resell Web hosting, blogs, public cloud, and on and on. With the overwhelming amount of tools available to us, it's sometimes easy to overlook that many of them are just new skins of resources we've had for a long time. In his general session at 17th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, an IBM Company, broke down what we have to work with, discussed the benefits and pitfalls and how we can best use them to design hosted applications.
Most of the IoT Gateway scenarios involve collecting data from machines/processing and pushing data upstream to cloud for further analytics. The gateway hardware varies from Raspberry Pi to Industrial PCs. The document states the process of allowing deploying polyglot data pipelining software with the clear notion of supporting immutability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Shashank Jain, a development architect for SAP Labs, discussed the objective, which is to automate the IoT deployment process from development to production scenarios using Docker containers.
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
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).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.