Martin Hester, Head of Channels and Alliances, EMEA, Juniper Networks, explains how channel partners need to implement security that protects the business from the inside out.
In the era of the cloud, the network has become more important than ever, but anytime/anywhere access has also led to cyber-attacks becoming an increasingly large risk for organisations. Hence, it’s no surprise that high-profile incidents where cyber-crime campaigns have crippled company operations have made the headlines across the Middle East.
For example, the Shamoon virus first struck the energy sector in Saudi Arabia back in 2012. The destructive disk-wiping malware was recently implicated again in a series of attacks targeting the private sector and various government agencies, including a division of the labor ministry. This new version – named Shamoon 2 – has been updated to delete Virtual Machine snapshots, making it much more difficult to restore affected systems.
This example of the constantly evolving threat landscape translates to a new set of challenges for customers. One of the areas impacted directly is increasing expenditures in the area of network security, which doesn’t necessarily equate with being more secure. As technology advances, hackers are becoming more sophisticated and organised, forming groups and collaborating across borders to successfully penetrate their targets. Their methods are also more focused and, with network complexity, sometimes harder to track. Thus, their campaigns have become pervasive, more effective and ever present.
For channel partners and resellers, the challenge is to move customers towards software-driven, open architecture and deciding how and where to deploy security in the network. Driven by the growth in mobile-centric technologies, it’s now essential to consider security at every point in, and on, the network, both inside and out – in other words, it’s become a zero-trust world.
The proliferation of digital technologies has also made the surface area for cyber-attacks larger than ever, with a constantly-changing threat landscape that now spans malware, phishing and email scams using social engineering techniques. Combined with the popularity of BYOD this means that threats can include any employee who walks into the office with the potential for malware on their laptop or smart device.
Compounding the problem, many networks are built on yesterday’s architectures and instead of creating greater certainty, the usual approach of defense-in-depth using multi-layered security solutions now just creates agonising complexity, without providing sufficient protection.
Juniper’s approach to this challenge has been to take a step back and re-think how best to mitigate the increasingly sophisticated threat landscape across the entire network. It’s clear that the traditional ‘castle model’ of securing the perimeter and endpoints by putting up ‘walls’ has to change. Turning this traditional security mindset on its head, we believe that the stance now required is to enable the network to protect itself.
By combining network information at the infrastructure core and extending into cloud-based, real-time threat intelligence, every element of the network can become an active and automated participant in security and a policy enforcement point. Businesses can now use all of their resources for security, not just the dedicated appliances.
Increasingly, many end customer organisations will struggle moving away from the traditional and complex defense-in-depth model. At Juniper, we recognise that a software-defined security strategy is a new approach for many of our channel partners, especially in how they do business and serve their customers. By combining SDN with the strength of cloud economics for intelligence and computing resources, we believe a software-defined security infrastructure is the future of network security. And by creating an ecosystem of security intelligence, SDSN brings significant added value by providing the ability for partners to cross-sell hardware and software and to wrap their own services into this integrated and open solution.
We are applying both investment and focus into ensuring our channel partners can fully take advantage of the opportunities that this shift in mindset is creating, one that embraces the elements of a software-defined network and leverages the economy of the cloud to help businesses stay one step ahead of constantly evolving threats and attacks.