As we trust more and more of our critical applications, services and systems to the cloud, there is no reason why security should not be on that list, says Gary Newe, technical director at F5 Networks.
The advantage of being in this industry for a while is that you get to see first-hand how things change, mostly for the better, and usually quite quickly, too. Some of these changes have a knock-on effect on other parts of the industry.
One recent example of this is security. In days gone by, security was very much focused within a company’s network; all the necessary data and applications sat behind the firewall, so that’s where defences were concentrated. These days, that’s simply not the case. Thanks to a raft of industry developments – primarily mobile devices and cloud computing – network perimeters are no longer contained within a company’s (metaphorical) four walls.
That’s made security a slightly more difficult task – how can you be expected to use on-premises security solutions to protect apps, data, devices, and so on, when they themselves are far beyond the traditional network perimeter?
That’s why security solutions delivered via the cloud could help protect today’s businesses. It means workers – and all that important, sensitive data – are protected, no matter where they are, what device they’re using, or what service/application they’re connecting to. It simply isn’t feasible for a company to protect each endpoint, inside and outside the perimeter.
Using cloud-based security solutions can help with a variety of different threats. Take DDoS attacks, for example. DDoS attacks are getting bigger in scale, and when you’re talking about attacks around 300 Gbps in size (and up), the only way to stop these is with cloud-based technologies, as local network appliances won’t be able to cope with the bandwidth required.
Delivering DDoS protection from the cloud also means (depending on the service provided) that companies can call on a globally distributed DDoS mitigation network operated by experts. On-premises DDoS protection is unlikely to be able to say the same.
When you think about it, if you need to protect cloud-based devices, applications, data and so on, it makes sense to do that in the cloud, right? Cloud-based security can stop many attacks before they reach a corporate network and can use intelligence from the entire network to spot anomalies and new threats as they emerge. That real-time defence is something that on-premise software can struggle with, as databases have to be updated and new versions rolled out before the corporate network is secure.
It’s worth noting that many of the benefits of cloud computing – cost reduction, better scaling, automation, and so on – apply when it comes to using cloud-based security services. As we trust more and more of our critical applications, services and systems to the cloud, there is no reason why security should not be on that list.