Secure Access for Today and Tomorrow: Part 2

IT teams are on a constant treadmill of change, which is driven by five major trends shaping the delivery of Secure Access.

1. The consumerisation of IT is revolutionising.

It has completely changed the nature of today’s workplace and contributing to digital business transformation. Enterprises are confronted with proliferation of smart devices and online apps. Millennials, who will represent almost fifty percent of the workforce by 2020, are tech savvy and accustomed to a rich, on-the-go personal digital experience – and they expect a similar digital experience at work using their own mobile devices. Enterprises are challenged to support workforce dynamics and deliver this consumer-like user experience for their employees without compromising key compliance and security requirements.

2. Networks are increasingly under attack.

With new cyberthreats and data leakage in the headlines, security breaches have reached crisis proportions. Reducing the Mean-Time-to-Detect (MTTD) and Mean-Time-To-Respond (MTTR) to vulnerabilities and incidents has never been more important for organisations. Visibility, real-time prevention and automated response are critical for IT to combat threats that are the result of insider activity, privilege misuse, non-compliant and unsanctioned devices and device loss.

3. Cloud computing and hybrid IT environments are the norm.

The traditional data centre environment has morphed into a blended enterprise, cloud and cloud service environment. In this new world, IT resources are typically deployed in an enterprise’s own private cloud or leverage third-party public clouds, including Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings. Even though multi-cloud has become the new normal, cloud security still may not be as trusted as traditional data centre protection. After all, the primary product offering of cloud providers such as Google and Amazon Web Services (AWS) is space, processing power and bandwidth – not security. To ensure appropriate and protected connectivity to applications and information, businesses need Secure Access solutions that can extend proven data centre security to the cloud.

4. Use of multiple security silos for enterprise access.

Hybrid IT environments contribute heavily to this trend as IT extends existing data centre security policies to cover IaaS and SaaS situations. Unfortunately, the use of point solutions to address access security within different computing environments frequently leaves gaps, limits visibility and yields inconsistent policies. This also often results in a complex and frustrating user experience. In a 2017 report by ESG, 66% of cybersecurity and IT professionals agreed or strongly agreed that security analytics and operations effectiveness is limited because it is based upon multiple independent point tools.

5. The Internet of Things (IoT) is exploding.

Printers, smart TVs, personal WiFi, security cameras, sensors, and other peripheral devices are becoming commonplace. These devices are all connected via laptops, desktops, smartphones, or directly on enterprise networks and often further connected through IP networks to other corporate and third-party resources. The security of these systems, from changing default passwords to installing patches, is often an afterthought at best – frequently leaving IoT devices vulnerable to attack and misuse. Typically, organisations are unaware of these devices, and the myriad of ways they are connecting to their internal systems and data. With the rise of Industry 4.0, which uses IoT and cloud to boost manufacturing output, cybersecurity concerns are now bleeding over from IT into the operational technology (OT) domain. Hackers now view IoT as a new opportunity for targeted attacks, taking advantage of security weaknesses and employee ignorance alike. To gain control of the risks posed by IoT, organisations need to redesign their security architecture for IT and OT end-to-end visibility, contextual awareness, and real-time action.

Secure Access ensures that in a Zero Trust world only authenticated users with compliant devices can connect to authorised applications and information at any time, from any location, over any network.

Original source: Zero Trust Secure Access Checklist via https://www.pulsesecure.net

Read Secure Access for Today and Tomorrow: Part 1 here

Read Secure Access for Today and Tomorrow: Part 3 here

Secure Access for Today and Tomorrow: Part 1

You can’t secure what you can’t see, so visibility is key.

Enabling the modern, mobile workforce is hard work! Users are demanding and require access to applications regardless of their location. Not to mention the increased sophisticated malware and hackers that keep beating down the door.

In an ideal world you want to know your mobile workforce is entirely visible on your network, however, in this ever-changing world we live in making assumptions about user identity is a security risk in itself.

Mitigate your security risk with a Zero Trust Secure Access model.

Secure Access ensures that in a Zero Trust world only authenticated users with compliant devices can connect to authorised applications and information at any time, from any location, over any network. However, with new cyber threats and security breaches in the headlines every day companies must ensure a balance between productivity and security. With the rise of digital transformation Secure Access is critical to your workforce and will enable you to empower your employees, customers and partners to work, communicate and collaborate seamlessly.

Traditionally this has been a difficult goal. IT administrators enforce rules to meet the business requirements and adhere to compliance.

This traditional approach can result in poor user experience (UX), causing users to seek alternatives in order to get their jobs done. The growth of shadow IT proves just that, with no trouble at all users are leveraging unsecured personal devices and unsanctioned cloud services to address the very tasks they need to do to get the job done.

Secure Access, in contrast, is designed with a seamless, simple user experience in mind that also provides Zero Trust protection.

It’s a model based on enablement rather than restriction. The objective is to deliver simple and frictionless access to enterprise information, applications and services without compromising security – all while making it easy and flexible for IT to implement, manage and adapt security policies that align with an ever-changing environment.

Zero Trust assumes that nothing inside or outside of the enterprise perimeter should be trusted and the network must verify anyone and anything trying to connect before granting access. Connectivity is only granted after identity is authenticated, the security posture of the connected device is verified, and the user or thing is authorised to access the desired application, service or information*.

* Source: Zero Trust Secure Access Checklist via https://www.pulsesecure.net

Read Secure Access for Today and Tomorrow: Part 2 here

Read Secure Access for Today and Tomorrow: Part 3 here

Take Control of Your Cybersecurity Posture with CyberScore

Network Utilities and XQ Cyber have joined forces to bring you a new and exciting award-winning solution that will save you money and improve performance in your business.

Businesses of all sizes can take control of their cybersecurity by using this award winning solution.

CyberScore is an automated testing service that allows you to take control of your cybersecurity by detecting vulnerabilities and providing you with empirical evidence and get well plans. The score itself also allows you to clearly demonstrate to the board simply where your organisation currently stands in terms of its cyber risk rating and security posture.

We would like the opportunity to show you how CyberScore can and will reduce your costs, give you full visibility of your cybersecurity posture and improve performance.

With CyberScore you will be able to:

  • Dramatically reduce pen testing costs
  • Improve quality of compliance
  • Prioritise vulnerability data into easy to understand recommendations
  • Track progress and watch your cybersecurity health improve as measures are implemented
  • Track cyber risk across third parties
  • Share easily digestible reporting across the business
  • Measure performance against the requirements of the UK Cyber Essentials Plus scheme

Fill in the form below and let’s get started.

XQ Cyber and Network Utilities join forces to bring the award winning CyberScore™ to you

We’ve teamed up with XQ Cyber to bring CyberScore™ to our customers.

With the cost of cyberattacks increasing, the need for businesses and organisations of all sizes to get a clear overview of their cybersecurity posture has never been greater.

The partnership with XQ Cyber means that our customers will be able to use an award-winning automated security testing service to get a clear overview of their organisation’s cybersecurity posture. CyberScore™ converts vulnerability data into an immediate score out of 10 and highly informative Get Well Plans and Risk Management Reports and allows you to:

Continuously understand your cybersecurity posture

  • Track your progress and watch your cyber health improve as mitigation measures are implemented
  • Track cyber risks across supply chains and third parties without the need for consultants or questionnaires
  • Set minimum standards, hold suppliers and service providers to account
  • Dispense with impenetrable reports. Instead, receive a clear and concise Get-Well Plan that can be shared with staff and service providers
  • Dramatically reduce the cost and improve the quality of compliance penetration testing
  • CyberScore™ streamlines what was once a very time and resource intensive task, providing users with a clear oversight of what areas of their security may need improvement.

XQ Cyber director Rachel Hudson said; “We are delighted to have formed a partnership with Network Utilities to bring CyberScore™ to their customers. Working together we can help them reduce the threats posed by the constantly evolving cybersecurity threat.”

For more information contact us today.

Click here to learn more about CyberScore™ and the benefits to your organisation.

Network Utilities acquires Metropolitan Networks to create the UK’s leading specialist integrator

London, 28th March 2019:  Network Utilities Ltd, a leading integrator of network and security solutions, has announced the successful acquisition of Metropolitan Networks, a provider of customer-centered network support and security managed services, that will create the UK’s leading specialist integrator of identity-centric network, security and data solutions and services to enterprises, telcos, MSPs and ISPs.

The newly enlarged Network Utilities will also gain its own on-premise data centre and 24/7 Network Operations Centre in the UK and new offices and staff in the Middle East, Caribbean and West Africa to support an expanded roster of international clients including Cable & Wireless, Judiciary of Trinidad & Tobago and Nutrien. 

The combined company has over 400 enterprise and service provider clients including many listed within the FTSE 100 along with household names in financial services, education, healthcare and manufacturing.

“This acquisition marks a great day in our 25 year history and brings together two companies that have a highly regarded and trusted reputation with clients and partners,” said David Bundock, Chief Operating Officer. “As one of the oldest serving specialist solution providers with customer relationships that span over a decade, Network Utilities has focused on excellence over growth. However, with this deal, we now have the depth and breadth of people, technologies and services to expand our customer footprint without sacrificing the values that have made us so successful.”

Michele Lewington, one of the original founders and Managing Director of Network Utilities for 25 years commented: “I am delighted to hear this news. The two companies have worked together on various projects over many years and both bear the hallmark of ethics and service that customers have come to expect. My heartfelt thanks go to those Network Utilities employees who are amongst some of the most talented, hardworking and loyal of all in the industry. It is their commitment to the business over many years that has enabled me now to leave the company in safe hands to enjoy semi-retirement and the pursuit of other interests.”

The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, will see Network Utilities take over all staff, premises and ongoing maintenance contracts from Metropolitan Networks with a full equivalency of agreed service level agreements. All staff will consolidate at new headquarters in Orpington which will also maintain the new Network Utilities NOC and data centre.

“Metropolitan Networks has grown rapidly, and the last 15 years has been a fantastic journey,” explains Ashok Thomas, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Metropolitan Networks. ” However, to keep on meeting the expectations of our clients while expanding the business proved challenging through organic growth alone. This investment by Network Utilities and the merging of expert technical and sales teams into a new entity offers our existing clients more benefits, including access to some of the best security focused people in the UK plus a management team that have vast experience in successfully growing a business over the last two decades.”

The new company hold top tier accreditations from key vendors including Juniper Networks, Pulse Secure and Fortinet as well as in-house CISSP experts and Security Clearance for its ongoing work with several UK governmental and security agencies. Network Utilities also holds ISO 9001 and 27001 certifications.

“At a time of uncertainty around the UK’s place in Europe, the deal also expands our footprint into new regions around the world such as the Middle East, the Americas and Africa where, although initially small, we have long established, international clients that offer us growth potential,” says Paul Rowe, Sales Director, “Our enlarged size and new areas of the business such as training, private cloud  and Cyber Essentials certifications also provide us with a more rounded portfolio that allows us to offer additional value added services that are  beneficial to both existing and new customers.”

Commenting on the announcement, Mike Catlin, CTO for Polar Capital Holdings Plc; a long-standing client of Network Utilities said, “Network Utilities have been a trusted service provider for over 10 years. Finding a supplier that consistently offers insightful expertise to help us deliver stable IT while meeting complex cybersecurity requirements is always a challenge and knowing that we will be able to retain this relationship over the longer term is good news for us.”

Ashok Thomas, CEO, Paul Rowe, Sales Director and David Bundock, COO are all available for interview or additional written Q&A.

Application Isolation and Control – A Modern Defense for New Threats

By Fraser Kyne, EMEA CTO, Bromium

The detection method for preventing malware is fundamentally flawed, yet it is still the de facto standard in cybersecurity. Day after day, organizations scramble to protect against a growing number of threats, but all it takes is one piece of malware to go undetected to wreak havoc on IT systems.

Ironically, this was predicted by Alan Turing more than 80 years ago. His work proved no standard algorithm could ever predict an outcome for every possibility without falling into a logical paradox because of the halting problem. The halting problem proves that an algorithm cannot predict from a general description of a program and an input whether the program will finish running or execute forever.

The same logic applies to malware detection. A standard algorithm cannot be relied on to correctly identify every single threat that comes knocking because the volume of threats is large and varied, with previously unseen threats emerging every day.

A detection-based approach deployed by IT teams is akin to casting out a net, where the net will either be so large that it tangles itself, or it won’t be cast wide enough and will invariably allow some things to be missed. IT teams are trying to solve this problem by adding more layers to their detection solutions, but all this is doing is casting more nets plagued by the same problems.

Detection-based solutions can Over-complicate security landscapes

Hackers are resourceful, utilizing new tactics – such as polymorphic malware and zero-day exploits – to bypass detection-based software and break into critical IT systems. For example, in the Locky ransomware campaign, hackers customized the malware to execute after the fake document was closed, making it much harder to spot and bypassing the majority of detection-based AV solutions.

Instead of focusing on detection, organizations that are serious about security are starting to rely on segmentation. By segmenting networks and applications, businesses are seeing that they can prevent malware from causing harm and keep data and networks safe.

Segmentation offers businesses protection, but it relies on PCs or applications only having access to limited areas on the network. Early iterations failed to achieve a great uptake because adding new PCs to this system can be incredibly expensive and time-consuming during deployment.

Segmenting IP and sensitive data could also still leave users at risk if they don’t isolate the applications that are being used to access this data. Without a solution to these problems, network segmentation has largely failed to get off the ground and detection has persisted as the leading cybersecurity approach.

By focusing on isolation, security Is simplified and end users are protected

Everybody wants to be able to use technology to do more with less. In this instance, it means deploying more effective and reliable cybersecurity solutions. However, detection involves the complex process of “preventing, detecting, and responding”, where multiple layers of security are deployed to identify malware before it hits. However, these layers simply aren’t sufficient to protect against the volume and sophistication of the ransomware and targeted phishing attacks that are prevalent today. As you might expect, it also creates a tremendous expense.

While there are a few choices available that provide isolation, solutions that do this using virtualization are effectively bullet-proof. While no one can promise 100% protection, virtualization that starts on the chip, stops Meltdown, dramatically limits Spectre and works online or offline, can protect what’s targeted the most: endpoints.

Real solutions with a virtual defense

Isolation through virtualization works by allowing applications to open and carry out each task in its own self-contained virtual environment. This means that every tab that is opened in a browser, every Office or PDF document attached to an email, or any file that runs an untrusted executable, will be opened in an entirely isolated virtual environment that’s running on the hardware itself. The result is that any threat caused by an action in this environment won’t have access to anywhere else on the system and can be easily removed by simply destroying the virtual environment.

This allows users the freedom to download files and open documents, safely, knowing that they are no longer the last line of defense – giving users the ability to click with confidence. In fact, end users can let the malware run, because it doesn’t do any damage, and it allows IT teams to get detailed threat analysis. Users can get back to work; recruiters and HR teams can open emailed CVs, marketers can carry out research even if they click on a phishing link, and R&D teams can share downloaded resources without the fear of being stung by malicious files or links.

For organizations using this new approach, there is less worry. Virtualization-based security is being adopted by the giants: HP and Microsoft now use virtualization-based security to protect users. This is just the tip of the iceberg and marks the beginning of a virtualization revolution in security, where users no longer fear opening links and attachments and organizations can let their teams focus on innovation without worrying about making a security mistake.

About the Author

By Fraser Kyne, EMEA CTO, Bromium Fraser’s role has encompassed a wide range of both engineering and customer-facing activity. Prior to joining Bromium Fraser was a Technical Specialist and Business Development Manager at Citrix Systems. He has been a speaker at various industry events on topics such as virtualization, security, desktop transformation, and cloud computing.

Source: Cyber Defense Magazine
http://www.cyberdefensemagazine.com/application-isolation-and-control-a-modern-defense-for-new-threats/

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