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5 Tips to Help Your Cloud and Data Center Live Together More Securely

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New kinds of virtual services, better policy controls, and even secure mobility services are changing the way we secure our data centers and cloud. Cloud economics, including server cost, resiliency, scalability, and product lifespan, along with enhancements in cloud security, are promoting migration of workloads across servers, both inside the data center and across data centers (even data centers in different geographic areas). So let’s take a look at 5 ways you can keep your cloud and your data center a bit more secure.

  1. Compliance and cloud can live together. For too long organizations bound by compliance and regulations were forced out of the cloud market. This really isn’t the case anymore. Furthermore, cloud security has become a lot better. Amazon AWS for example now offers a variety of compliant cloud servers including ones around DoD, PCI DSS, HIPAA, and more. You’re now able to control the flow of data with dedicated secure links into the AWS cloud. From there, you can dynamically load-balance your workloads to ensure secure data resides at the appropriate point. Here’s the big point – just because the data is traversing a different network does not mean you can stop monitoring it. Direct integration with a cloud provider allows you to span your monitoring and security control plane.
  2. Learn to integrate server and data center functionality into security monitoring and management. Traditional Windows and operating system services were always left to work within their own little environment. After all, these process are for the most part internal. So, aside from a few security checks here and there, why monitor them… right? Well, new kinds of threats are taking aim at very specific points within your data center. We’ll get to that in a minute. However, integrating your ITSM solution, LDAP, and even Active Directory services to an enterprise security management layer is a great way to keep an eye on your entire cloud, physical and virtual environment. There are a lot of options here and a lot of great ways to integrate core cloud and OS-layer services directly into the security layer.
  3. Virtual security services are your friend. You can now deploy an entire virtual appliance capable of next-generation firewall services, data loss prevention, IPS/IDS, and more. You can also deploy these as standalone virtual services throughout your network. Traditional unified threat management (UTM) appliances can do a great job managing traffic and controlling security at the edge. But what about new kinds of threats? What about data loss within a specific network segment? These new VM-based security appliances allow you to monitor internal traffic and integrate with REST-based API to allow you to proactively monitor VM changes dynamically feeding that context into security policies.
  4. Consider application-centric security. Your applications are an absolutely critical part of your business. New tools around application firewalls and application-centric security are allowing organizations to have greater control over the delivery of their apps. Furthermore, integrating your applications into an overall management solution can greatly help automate and simplifies the entire security change management process to accelerate application delivery. New kinds of application-aware security features can actually monitor anomalous changes within application behavior. Is there a spike in traffic? Is the wrong kind of data being accessed? Who is actually connecting to the application and from where? New concerns around mobility and application access require a better approach to data and application security.
  5. Create smarter locks to stop APTs. APTs are known as advanced persistent threats. These threats can go against any part of your data center. The best way to keep these kinds of threats at bay is to have an all-encompassing security management and policy control solution. Consider this, you now have network, firewall, and virtual security services running within your environment. Now – what if they’re distributed? What if they are all different brands of security appliances? How do you manage control of policies and security delivery? How do you control threats which can span your entire cloud or data center architecture? Managing complex environments is made easier with powerful visibility tools which allow you to control a heterogeneous security environment.

The key thing to remember is that you need to be constantly proactive with your security environment and policies. Make sure your security is evolving at the same pace as your business, and remember, when providing services to your end-users you don’t want to hinder their experience. Focus on focus on application and data delivery. Users want their content delivered quickly, to any device, efficiently, and of course – securely.

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