May 19, 2020

Defending networks has never been more challenging

Education
Cloud
integration
networks
Bizclik Editor
3 min
Defending networks has never been more challenging

The concept of control has long been a cornerstone for virtually every cyber security team’s approach to dealing with threats.

 But with cyber security professionals finding themselves at an increasing disadvantage when defending their IT environments, is it realistic to expect you can gain control over threats and outbreaks?

Attackers are singularly focused on penetrating your network to accomplish their missions. Yet the job of the defender has never been more challenging.

As our networks extend beyond the traditional perimeter to include endpoints, mobile devices, virtual desktops and data centres and the cloud, new attack vectors emerge.

 Compounding the challenge, most security teams don't have the luxury of spending 100 percent of their time focused on security.

 They are understaffed and bogged down by manual processes, disconnected security tools, compliance and regulatory issues and other business imperatives.

New insights

For many organisations the solution is to throw more and more people at the problem. In fact, new research from IDC Government Insights finds that overall IT security spending by the US Federal Government will rise from $5.9 billion in 2012 to over $7.3 billion in 2017.

Of that, in most years, staff salaries account for a surprising 85 percent – 91 percent of total spending. And it is probably safe to expect a similar breakdown for commercial enterprises.

With the number of attacks on the rise, it’s clear that assigning more human resources isn’t a sustainable way to address the problem.

Nor is it easy to find skilled cyber security workers. It’s widely estimated that in the near future job openings for skilled cyber security workers will top 50,000 between the public and private sector.  

“Control” can and should remain at the forefront of any security strategy. But how to achieve that control requires a fresh approach that incorporates automation, integration and education.

Automation - Relying on manual processes to defend against modern and relentless attacks is inadequate.

Attackers are taking advantage of automation and you need to as well to reduce labour intensive tasks and streamline processes.

Tools that can intelligently identify and automatically alert only on relevant security events can save security teams hours investigating events that aren’t real threats and prioritise those that are the most relevant.

 In addition, being able to automatically provision, tune and enforce security policies and rules across control points without manual intervention efficiently minimizes risk of exposure to the latest threats and vulnerabilities despite dynamically changing environments.

Integration - Most security teams use a set of disparate technologies that can’t and don’t work together to try to defend their environments.

Any integration between these tools is typically one way – the visibility and analysis isn’t automatically correlated and translated into action to contain and stop damage and prevent future attacks.

And the data gathered is usually a snapshot in time, not continuously updated to monitor activity as it unfolds.

What’s needed is a tightly integrated enterprise security architecture that complements integrated visibility and analysis with integrated and automated controls enabled with central policy management, monitoring and distributed policy enforcement.

 Open APIs extend control capabilities to include existing and evolving security infrastructure.

Education - With automation and integration in place, highly skilled security staff can now turn more of their attention to keeping up with the latest threats and techniques attackers use to disguise attacks, infiltrate data and establish beachheads for future attacks.

Ongoing professional development to remain current on security best practices as well as how to optimise security technologies for maximum security effectiveness ensure organisations are getting the most from their IT security investments.

With a security approach that incorporates automation, integration and education, control isn’t a pipe dream but a reality that is achievable and necessary to detect, understand and stop threats. 

Share article

Jun 18, 2021

GfK and VMware: Innovating together on hybrid cloud

GfK
VMware
3 min
VMware has been walking GfK along its path through digital transformation to the cloud for over a decade.

GfK has been the global leader in data and analytics for more than 85 years, supplying its clients with optimised decision inputs.  

In its capacity as a strategic and technical partner, VMware has been walking GfK along its digital transformation path for over a decade. 

“We are a demanding and singularly dynamic customer, which is why a close partnership with VMware is integral to the success of everyone involved,” said Joerg Hesselink, Global Head of Infrastructure, GfK IT Services.

Four years ago, the Nuremberg-based researcher expanded its on-premises infrastructure by introducing VMware vRealize Automation. In doing so, it laid a solid foundation, resulting in a self-service hybrid-cloud environment.

By expanding on the basis of VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management, GfK has given itself a secure infrastructure and reliable operations by efficiently operating processes, policies, people and tools in both private and public cloud environments.

One important step for GfK involved migrating from multiple cloud providers to just a single one. The team chose VMware.

“VMware is the market leader for on-premises virtualisation and hybrid-cloud solutions, so it was only logical to tackle the next project for the future together,” says Hesselink.

Migration to the VMware-based environment was integrated into existing hardware simply and smoothly in April 2020. Going forward, GfK’s new hybrid cloud model will establish a harmonised core system complete with VMware Cloud on AWS, VMware Cloud Foundation with vRealize Cloud Management and a volume rising from an initial 500 VMs to a total of 4,000 VMs. 

“We are modernising, protecting and scaling our applications with the world’s leading hybrid cloud solution: VMware Cloud on AWS, following VMware on Google Cloud Platform,” adds Hesselink.

The hybrid cloud-based infrastructure also empowers GfK to respond to new and future projects with astonishing agility: Resources can now be shifted quickly and easily from the private to the public cloud – without modifying the nature of interaction with the environment. 

The gfknewron project is a good example – the company’s latest AI-powered product is based exclusively on public cloud technology. The consistency guaranteed by VMware Cloud on AWS eases the burden on both regular staff and the IT team. Better still, since the teams are already familiar with the VMware environment, the learning curve for upskilling is short.

One very important factor for the GfK was that VMware Cloud on AWS constituted an investment in future-proof technology that will stay relevant.

“The new cloud-based infrastructure comprising VMware Cloud on AWS and VMware Cloud Foundation forges a successful link between on-premises and cloud-based solutions,” says Hesselink. “That in turn enables GfK to efficiently develop its own modern applications and solutions.

“In market research, everything is data-driven. So, we need the best technological basis to efficiently process large volumes of data and consistently distill them into logical insights that genuinely benefit the client. 

“We transform data and information into actionable knowledge that serves as a sustainable driver of business growth. VMware Cloud on AWS is an investment in a platform that helps us be well prepared for whatever the future may hold.”

Share article