Posted: 3 Min ReadProduct Insights

Cloud Security in the era of the Vanishing Perimeter

With the crumbling of the fortress concept of cyber defense, defenders need to rethink security in the age of the Cloud Generation

The cloud has changed much about how the world does business. Companies integrating cloud computing have realized tremendous gains in productivity and operations while also helping to reduce infrastructure costs.

At the same time though, the Cloud has hastened the demise of the traditional concept of a network security perimeter. While putting new and exciting IT capabilities within reach, the Vanishing Perimeter also presents profound security challenges.

Not long ago, network security was a physical entity largely built by adding additional pieces to an organization’s cyber fortress and then keeping pace as the operation grew. But now, valuable company information no longer sits in just one place, safely protected behind a protective barrier.

Nowadays, users are everywhere, accessing vital cloud applications from laptops and mobile devices, and perhaps bypassing a carefully planned perimeter defense.  Employee expectations have changed, too. They want to be able to securely access information stored in the cloud directly no matter where they are – and do it as easily as they do from inside the central office. They don’t want to experience latency from backhauling traffic to that central office - and they don’t want to bear the burden of that additional cost.

Storming the “Fortress” 

Against the backdrop of this transformed business landscape, the challenges involved addressing security risk becomes much more complex. Companies that can’t adapt to the changes are bound to find themselves overwhelmed.  

The fortress concept of cyber defense, which held sway for decades, allowed businesses to adopt a perimeter approach for network security. IT deployed – and maintained – sundry firewalls and antivirus solutions to block attacks.

In the traditional fortress concept, the idea was to encircle the crown jewels with multiple layers of defense – in much the same way that historical castles surrounded themselves with moats. The more obstacles that defenders put in place, the more difficult they would make it for the attackers to overcome the fortifications.  

But no fortress lasts forever.

We’re now living in the Cloud Generation – and the proverbial edge of the enterprise has morphed in ways that are causing old architecture walls to crumble. There’s too much data flowing into and out of too many places leading IT professionals to rethink the traditional idea of securing the enterprise edge behind a fortress defense.

Cloud application traffic is by definition encrypted. That’s normally a good thing as encryption guarantees more privacy. But you also need to vet any encrypted traffic and make sure you have the necessary security tools in place to protect your data. Unfortunately, the bad guys are taking advantage of the blind spots that encryption creates and hiding malware inside some of this encrypted traffic. What’s more, research shows that the average breach takes 35 days to fix and 200 days to detect - which means a ticking time bomb may be hanging out in your cloud and you won’t even know about it until it’s too late.

Fortunately, there is a solution. The best way to ensure security and compliance for the Cloud Generation is to have your infrastructure right there with them – in the cloud.  Ubiquitous, high-performing network security is available with a cloud-delivered service, dealing with these myriad new security challenges.

The cloud approach makes it easy by offering affordable scale, reduced operational overhead as well as the benefits having up-to-date software. At Symantec, our proactive approach, starts off with a basic cloud solution that grows out as your business scales. We also put security first in everything that we do with an offering of flexible compliance tools let customers decide whether and when to decrypt traffic.

We have solutions to help customers manage policies as they see fit. Moreover, we’re not limited by the boundaries of network, email, web or endpoint. Moving to the cloud enables seamless integrations for many of the market leading solutions our customers love. At the center of it all is our best-in-breed Symantec Global Intelligence Network that keeps them apprised of any looming threats. 

Organizations shouldn’t need to give up on security when it’s time to make the move. The same applies to performance. Customers don’t have the luxury of compromising on a solution that may bring the network to its knees periodically, leaving frustrated users cut off from their data. That’s why we back our cloud proxy solution with the highest uptime SLA in the industry.

CEOs no longer need convincing why they ought to embrace cloud computing. But they need to know that their organizations’ data will remain safe in this new world order. That’s where the onus will be on IT to plan a cloud security strategy that will justify the C-suite’s embrace of the cloud.

And that’s where we’ve got you covered. Check out the following links to learn more.

Symantec Enterprise Blogs

A CTO's Perspective: Network Security for the Cloud Generation

Dr. Hugh Thompson, CTO Symantec and Mark Urban, VP Product Strategy & Operations, Symantec Data, devices and employees are mobilized and traffic is increasingly going to the internet and cloud applications.

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About the Author

Tim Murphy

Head of Product Marketing, Symantec Enterprise Division

Tim leads Product Marketing for Symantec Enterprise Division. He specializes in cloud-delivered Secure Web Gateway, Intelligence Services, Privacy & Compliance, Encrypted Traffic Management and Network Performance Testing.

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