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Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer

A New Way to Reason About Security: With Your Head in the Cloud

May 22, 20174 mins

Enterprise security teams are facing serious challenges as their organizations scale upward. Security operations managers are faced with the difficulty of hiring the talent they need to staff and scale their teams, and CISOs aren’t interested in strategies that involve simply purchasing more mouse traps in an attempt to stay on top of a rapidly expanding threat landscape.

This situation presents everyone involved with a unique challenge: To ensure technology intersects properly with the talent they have and the attack surfaces they must defend. An organization’s security strategy doesn’t just have to provide high-speed tools that make their team immediately effective, it also needs to attract, upskill, and retain that talent.

Out With The Old, In With The New

We’re exiting a long era of data center consolidation and backhaul economics that pulled traffic back to these centers. During this time, many organizations deployed independent security products built for infrastructures organized around the idea that hardware is expensive and difficult to distribute. These technologies needed to constrain themselves to the smallest profile possible, and then required teams to reorganize their networks to feed them properly.

Delivered as appliances wrapped up in datacenter-centric designs, these products silo information, and they limit speed, functional abilities, and data processing capabilities. They also leave resource-strapped security teams with separate interfaces that are purchased separately, managed differently, upgraded on regular cycles, and that aren’t really designed to talk to each other.

Overly complex security stacks like these grew for years, leaving present-day teams faced with very real operational challenges. The landscape has changed dramatically and has become highly distributed and largely decentralized. How can these teams position that kind of an architecture against networks that no longer behave as they did in the past? How do they move workloads to the Cloud securely while supporting the organizational mandate to move quickly? How can they support an emerging need to secure Industrial and IoT infrastructures?

Answering questions like these requires changing how we purchase security products, who brings them to the organization, and how we deploy them within an existing infrastructure. All-but-gone are the days when organizations had topologies comprised of centralized networks and common gateways. We now have widely distributed systems and teams, mesh networks and ephemeral services, particularly in the Cloud where it is common that everything connects to everything and where everything is potentially connected to the Internet.

It’s Not Enough to Build Better Mousetraps

Just like feature and functionality innovations, the way teams experience security has to evolve if they’re going to overcome today’s challenges and the ones yet to come. The kinds of technologies deployed in these modern environments have a significant impact on how we reason about security. Moving forward requires us to fundamentally rethink how teams will access, consume, and interact with security products and the data they produce.

For instance, instead of saying “We have too much information and humans can’t handle billions of data points, so just give me the top 10!” we need technology that is fundamentally positioned to present those data points in a way that taps into our ability to reason spatially about very complex and even unexpected circumstances. People need to be able to relate to digital information in a way that hides nothing and yet promotes concise, actionable signals.

How the Cloud Can Help

The Cloud makes it embarrassingly simple to facilitate a new way of reasoning about security. It’s a platform with unlimited amounts of storage and computing power, fully on demand. It gives us an unprecedented opportunity to scale up our ability to execute on security intelligence using high-performance computing and analytics, fundamentally changing the kind of technologies we can build. And it has also changed the game for how we deploy and operate security, making it as easy as flipping on a light switch.

Today it’s simple to spin up a new data center, or a remote location, or to launch a new application inside your organization because the cloud lets you pull that all together, even as organizations are becoming more fragmented, The same should be true for modern enterprise security platforms.

The Cloud enables you to have a single haystack where all of your security tools can speak a common language. With native cloud apps and APIs, you can create a highly composable security architecture where these products simplify your security operations. Top that off with an intuitive presentation layer that provides a rich user experience, and you can fundamentally change how people relate to all of this information and improve your security posture as a result of your team’s increased operational efficiency and engagement.

Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer

Gene drives the technology vision and architecture for ProtectWise. He has more than 20 years experience in software development, cloud computing, security-as-a-service, and distributed systems. Prior to founding ProtectWise, Gene was the Founder and CTO at TagLabs, a mobile tagging company. He was a Principal Software Engineer at McAfee, Cloud & Content Security and has also held engineering roles at MX Logic and GDX. Early in his career, Gene developed financial forecasting, market analysis and service capacity planning software for Hewitt Associates (Aon).