Local Software vs. Automated Virtual Appliances: IT Security and Threat Management in 2015

Local Software vs. Automated Virtual Appliances: IT Security and Threat Management in 2015

IT Security
IT Security in 2015 is about making better use of what you have before branching out into new initiatives.
Image source: Flickr CC user Kris Krug

If there’s one good thing to come out of 2014’s rash of security breaches, it’s increased awareness and more serious treatment of security in budgets. Greater financial resources bring important IT improvements, but also enhanced accountability for threats. As a result, more foresight than ever is required. The best way to prepare for the future is to evaluate your current IT security tools and determine how to make optimal use of them. On that solid foundation, new IT security initiatives can be developed.

The Year of Mega Breaches Spurs Action on IT Budgets

The Ponemon Institute called 2014 the Year of Mega Breaches. Apparently that’s what it took for executives to come to grips with the true threat level and the extent of defensive action their companies must take. Indeed, with predictions for an even worse year in 2015, there’s little time to spare. Boardroom conversations are finally moving from “Why is IT security necessary?” to “How do we implement IT security effectively?”

Are You Using the Tools You Have Correctly?

Research conducted by Trustwave and Osterman Research reveals that many security investments made by companies are underutilized, or even worse, completely disregarded. Firewall configurations have fallen out of date, no one is looking at database monitoring and SIEM reports, and security software sits on shelves, never fully implemented because of time and staff constraints. It’s time to take a good, hard look at those tools.

Unfortunately, software quickly becomes outdated. It’s sometimes possible to purchase discounted upgrades, but regardless, security configuration updates are oftentimes readily available. Security configuration improvement is the low-hanging fruit of the security trade and it should be your first priority. Number two should be tracking and monitoring your IT inventory to minimize future problems with under-utilized software. For these reasons, many businesses are going to the cloud where managed services replace shelfware and actually get used. That done, it’s time to look at security solutions to fit your infrastructure.

Where Are Your Dollars Going?

According to Ponemon’s report, IT budgets have grown by about one-third and spending primarily went to the following technologies:

  • Security incident and event management (SIEM)
  • Endpoint security
  • Intrusion detection and prevention
  • Encryption/tokenization
  • Web application firewalls

Ponemon’s list includes several important technologies for securing data both locally and in the cloud, whether on a private cloud or public one. Although greater use of the cloud has brought many advantages over locally hosted software, security in the cloud presents new and different challenges.

Cloud environments are more dynamic and workloads are highly portable. When you consider studies like one in the U.K. showing that 93 percent of data breaches originate from human failure (rather than technical failures), it becomes clear that security platforms need to do more than manage configuration updates and event logging. If your organization is highly-virtualized, keep a laser-focused eye on the privileged administrator accounts for that environment – these users have very broad privilege and can do a lot of damage in a short period of time, either accidentally or maliciously.

Gain Total Control Over Your Infrastructure and Your Data

Good security software should automate, enhance, and reinforce your security policies, which will help people behave more securely.

We must plan and design for the fallibility of people. We know that admins multitask and we also know that one wrong click can bring an app or virtual workload crashing down. HyTrust CloudControl offers extensive control over virtual infrastructure security, including the ability to keep an eye on admin actions and stop the execution of potentially high-risk activities without additional approvals. Most of the time, this policy automation simply catches mistakes before they create problems, but some of the time, this visibility catches a lot more than mistakes. Contact Hytrust for more information about CloudControl.

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