Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Derek Weeks, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog

Linux Containers: Article

Securing the Enterprise Beyond the Perimeter

Deperimeterizing security architecture

Recent high-profile security breaches have taught us a clear lesson: organizations that rely primarily on a secure perimeter to protect sensitive data are fooling themselves. This year, hardly a week has passed without headlines about a security breach involving sensitive data.

However criminals get the data, whether through a traditional perimeter breach, use of insider credentials or outright theft of physical storage media, the lesson is the same. Organizations can no longer regard everything inside the traditional perimeter (people, machines, and networks) as "trusted," requiring only a "soft" approach to security that consists primarily of procedural controls and weakly enforced permissions.

It's an approach to IT security that's like a candy M&M: once criminals penetrate the hard shell that protects the network from the wholly untrustworthy public Internet, they can easily devour the data at the soft center. Actually they often don't have to penetrate the perimeter at all. They can simply go around it by stealing unencrypted backup tapes, for instance, out of the back of a cargo van.

Not only are attackers constantly blowing open security cracks in perimeter security, but enterprises themselves are also willingly, and often unwittingly, contributing to the perimeter's disintegration.

For example, virtual private networks frequently tunnel through the perimeter, which often provides all-or-nothing access to network resources. Web Services, which are starting to finally fulfill the early hype, are meant to interconnect business processes and often reach into the core of an enterprise network. Factor in the mass of mobile devices, wireless networks, portable media storage and off-site data archival, and it's not outlandish to suggest that there really isn't a perimeter at all. Instead, enterprises need a "jawbreaker" model in which the network is "hard" all the way through to the center.

Drivers Behind the Jawbreaker
Unfortunately the traditional perimeter model doesn't just fail to provide adequate security. It's also far too expensive and inefficient to deploy, given today's far-flung workforce. Enterprises have to manage an exploding number of network connections for employees working at home, traveling and staffing remote offices, not to mention the connections they've built to the networks of partners, outsourcers, and customers.

Enterprises need a unified management approach to the identities of users, their rights and roles, and ultimately the enforcement of those rights. The search for a unified approach has led many security experts to believe that security will soon be deperimeterized.

In a deperimeterized world, every user is "remote," whether he's on the corporate campus or in a coffeehouse halfway around the world. Instead of building a perimeter around the network, in a deperimeterized architecture there's a virtual perimeter around every user or internal system that establishes "islands" of trust that securely exchange information.

The Jericho Forum (www.opengroup.org/jericho), a security organization recently founded by corporate CIOs, is taking a stab at defining the requirements for both the short-term and long-term transition to a deperimeterized world - a unified world with an inherently less expensive, more consistent approach to identification, authentication and authorization. By and large, its vision doesn't require the development of brand new, whiz-bang technologies, but rather strings together existing technologies into a unified whole.

The Jericho Forum's vision is no pipe dream. It's already underway. Computer manufacturers like Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Fujitsu have all made trusted platform module (TPM) technology a standard feature in their enterprise-class laptops, enabling users to securely lock away in hardware the secret digital keys that are crucial to encrypted communications. These keys let users securely encrypt and decrypt information with their laptops, and give administrators the ability to verify not only that a user is safe, but also that the user's machine is safe.

Dell, for one, has gone a step farther and has put smart-card technology in its laptops so network administrators can assign a digital identity to each user instead of relying on the notoriously insecure usernames and passwords.

Pervasive Encryption
So a world in which every user is a secure "island" raises important questions like how one know who's actually "on" each island?

The foundation of a deperimeterized security architecture is knowing whether users and their machines are who and what they should be. Enterprises will have to use strong methods of authentication such as smart cards, USB tokens and ultimately biometrics to validate users and embedded digital identities to recognize devices such as laptops, phones and even peripherals.

It also begs the question: How will these islands communicate securely with one another?

At the end of the day, the only sure way to enforce confidentiality is though encryption. No enterprise in its right mind would ever send sensitive data across the Internet without encrypting it first. That mindset is now starting to be applied to all networks. There are well-established means for securing data as it travels "outside" the traditional perimeter, means that can be re-applied in a deperimeterized world. SSL, virtual private networks, and Web Services will all be used to link up the islands protecting data "inside" as it moves between cubicles or campuses.

You also have to ask: How will enterprises protect sensitive data and the processes that use them once they've arrived on the islands?

The reality is that pockets of stored data are virtually everywhere and that much of this data is sensitive in nature. In a deperimeterized world, the situation is probably going to get worse. There is a "data at rest" problem that goes well beyond backup tapes. There will be need to be the islands responsible for protecting the data on the island - whether the data is stored in a database, file system, tape drive, or the laptop's hard drive. In some cases, tightly integrated access controls may suffice but, once again, encryption will often be used to provide a last line of defense. If all else fails, a thief's efforts will be in vain - he may have access to data, but because it's encrypted, he won't see anything except gobbledygook.

Clearly, encryption plays a pivotal role in a deperimeterized security environment. But as encryption penetrates deeper into enterprise operations, enterprises will need to deploy new systems to manage - cost-effectively - the exploding number of private keys on which pervasive cryptographic security will depend. There will have to be a mechanism for recovering lost data and separating duties.

It's a big challenge, but once deperimeterization becomes a reality, the payoff will be enormous. Not only will the headlines about security breaches recede but enterprises will be able to expand their networks efficiently and securely to include remote employees, new branches, partners, customers, and outsourcers.

It's only a matter of time before the walls fall down. The question is whether there will be systems and policies available that can raise the security bar sufficiently to cope. Life in a deperimeterized world might be a liberating experience and should certainly be less costly in the long run.

The security industry still has plenty of work to do. What seems clear is that the using cryptography will become more widespread, often under the covers, but nonetheless a fundamental component behind strong authentication and enterprise-wide data protection.

More Stories By Richard Moulds

Richard Moulds is VP of product strategy at Thales e-Security. Previously he was nCipher's vice president of marketing. He has a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Birmingham University and an MBA from Warwick University in the UK.

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
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara California. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infras...
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
In this presentation, Striim CTO and founder Steve Wilkes will discuss practical strategies for counteracting fraud and cyberattacks by leveraging real-time streaming analytics. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Steve Wilkes, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Striim, will provide a detailed look into leveraging streaming data management to correlate events in real time, and identify potential breaches across IoT and non-IoT systems throughout the enterprise. Strategies for processing massive ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, an entertainment executive/TV producer turned serial entrepreneur, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to ma...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Int\ernational Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their ...
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assista...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
With the introduction of IoT and Smart Living in every aspect of our lives, one question has become relevant: What are the security implications? To answer this, first we have to look and explore the security models of the technologies that IoT is founded upon. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nevi Kaja, a Research Engineer at Ford Motor Company, discussed some of the security challenges of the IoT infrastructure and related how these aspects impact Smart Living. The material was delivered interac...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
"When we talk about cloud without compromise what we're talking about is that when people think about 'I need the flexibility of the cloud' - it's the ability to create applications and run them in a cloud environment that's far more flexible,” explained Matthew Finnie, CTO of Interoute, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The Internet giants are fully embracing AI. All the services they offer to their customers are aimed at drawing a map of the world with the data they get. The AIs from these companies are used to build disruptive approaches that cannot be used by established enterprises, which are threatened by these disruptions. However, most leaders underestimate the effect this will have on their businesses. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rene Buest, Director Market Research & Technology Evangelism at Ara...