Top 5 Reasons Security Products Make You Less Secure

So, how can the security technologies we’ve relied on for the last thirty years make you less secure? The answer is simple. Security products were designed to secure offices and data centers of twenty plus years ago. Not today’s distributed hybrid infrastructures.

Today, organizations function beyond offices and data centers to operate in the cloud, on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms, with third-party vendors and customers, all-the-while using remote and mobile devices. Remote users have become the norm, from the fractional fringe they used to be. And let’s not forget Operationalized Technologies (OT) or Internet-of-Things (IoT) that everyone swears they don’t have, but make up roughly 40% of infrastructures according to Cisco. Examples of OT / IoT are ATMs, smart TVs, surveillance cameras and vending machines.

All of the above technologies collectively are called Hybrid Infrastructure.

Security products produce diminishing value when used for hybrid infrastructure, especially compared to alternatives such as Security-as-a-Utility. Security-as-a-Utility delivers all the functions of security products and more – but without the products. It is cloud-delivered security that works particularly well for hybrid infrastructure and the way organizations work today.

Just connect any component of your hybrid infrastructure to the Security-as-a-Utility and it is immediately protected. This is true for any technology, anywhere in the world, using any network – including the Internet.

Here are some reasons why product-based security is a failed model for how organizations work today.

 

1. Fragmented Security

Product-based security requires piecemeal tools for each silo of technology. One set of tools for each office, another for each data center, yet other tools for each cloud, SaaS, remote user — and there still aren’t good security options for OT/IoT.

Each security tool has to be selected, purchased, implemented, integrated, operationalized, monitored, updated and upgraded. Meanwhile, each product functions in its own independent dimension, unaware of the functions any other security product performs.

Each silo of technology that needs to be secured requires a different security product. Often these products are from different vendors and perform their security functions in very different ways. The differences in how they perform their security functions translate into security gaps. It is these gaps that malicious people exploit.

Sometimes certain critical security functions are just not available for some components. For example, OT / IoT like ATMs or ITMs are very unique and don’t have the horsepower or accessible resources to run the necessary security functions like threat prevention (preventing exploits and malware).

All of this adds to disjointed and fragmented security, which translates to security gaps, meaning greater risk and compliance challenges.

Security-as-a-Utility delivers a cohesive, fully integrated platform that does not require any of the legwork or logistics that needy security products demand. Security-as-a-Utility delivers uniform and consistent security across all of your technologies.

 

2. Triple The Cost

So, why does budget make you less secure? Having to pay for different security tools for each office, cloud, SaaS, data center and device is overwhelming. Moreover, all the products need to be implemented, maintained and managed, which means hiring more experts.

Having to pay for many security products and associated experts means that many organizations just can’t afford to buy all of the products and hire all of the experts they need. Hence, along with managing security they will have to manage an unreasonable amount of risk.

Because Security-as-a-Utility is turned on, not built out, it avoids products, implementations and expensive experts. The efficiencies that Security-as-a-Utility offers reduces hard and soft costs by as much as 75%.

 

3. Access To The Right Talent

Security products need many experts. Experts that are hard to find, expensive to hire and even harder to keep.

Security professionals are also very much like doctors. You won’t want a dentist to do thoracic surgery, nor would you want a thoracic surgeon to do a root canal. There are many different security skill-sets; however, two very distinct skill-sets are a must for effective cyber-security. The Architect and the Analyst.

The Architect designs, implements and performs the appropriate house-keeping to keep the security infrastructure up-and-running. The Analyst is the security operator.

Most organizations spend near 100% of their resources on implementations and house-keeping and little to nothing on security operations. Most mid-tier and smaller organizations just can’t afford a single full-time security resource, much less two distinct teams.

And even if you could afford the right resources, often, by the time they learn enough about your business to be effective, they’re poached away by another desperate organization who is willing to pay a premium.

This means a long list of different hands with varying expertise and philosophies handling your security infrastructure. Worse yet, if you can’t find or afford the needed resources, there are no hands to manage the tools or operate security.

Security-as-a-Utility altogether eliminates the need for hardware, significantly simplifying security. It eliminates the burdens of product house-keeping, opening up budgets for a security operator role or outsourced Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP).

 

4. Never-Ending Refresh Cycles

Security products have a 3 – 5 year life-cycle, where every few years they have to be completely replaced. This is because products are static and in order to keep up with the constantly evolving technology and threat landscape, wholesale displacement is required.

Security technology updates and upgrades are never-ending. As soon as one technology is upgraded, refresh cycles for another two are due. It’s not uncommon for an organization to be so far behind on technology refreshes, that the replacement products become outdated before they can be implemented. This is referred to as “Shelf-ware” and is very common in the cyber-security industry.

Buy – Install – Replace – Lather – Rinse – Repeat is not viable or sustainable. Security-as-a-Utility never needs updates, upgrades or refreshes – ever.

 

5. Complexity

Even if you could afford all the products, had the time to manage all the vendors, had access to and could afford to hire and keep all the needed experts, you would still end up with a complex mess. Just think about how many product management interfaces your team would have to contend with.

Each management interface is people driven – and people-driven-processes are security’s greatest weakness. In one bank, just one product had at least three separate management interfaces that required three different levels of experts. All the security products for all the platforms they protect translate to convoluted interconnections and integrations as well as dozens of management interfaces. It is not realistic to expect a team, much less a part-time resource, to effectively manage security for this many technologies and still be effective.

It’s just too complex. And complexity is the enemy of security.

Security-as-a-Utility consolidates all security functions into a single, simple platform – with only one interface to manage security for offices, data centers, remote users, clouds, SaaS, 3rd parties and OT / IoT.

 

Summary

Compute has moved to clouds, SaaS, OT / IoT and remote users, yet the security industry in a large part has not adapted. Thus, if you use a product-based approach to security you are at a distinct disadvantage. This means complexity, higher cost, dependence on hard-to-find expertise, absence of any agility and finally, greater risk and exposure.

The most viable path forward is security delivered as a utility. A single, fully integrated platform to connect and secure all offices, data centers, clouds, SaaS, remote users, mobile devices, OT / IoT under one umbrella. Security delivered as a utility provides better, in fact much better, efficacy, is more agile, costs less and you never, ever have to worry about updates, upgrades or refresh cycles.

Security-as-a-Utility eliminates the hassles and head-aches of security products to give organizations a fighting chance against hackers, malware and ransomware.

 

About Acreto:

Acreto is the first cloud-delivered, end-to-end connectivity and security platform that can connect and protect any technology, on any network, anywhere. Acreto SASE+ Plus delivers Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) functionalities for access technologies such as devices, networks, IoT / OT and third-parties; while Acreto Secure Application and Data Interconnect (SADI) connects and protects application delivery infrastructure such as clouds, SaaS, data centers and co-locations. Acreto SASE+ Plus is SASE plus SADI — one platform, with one interface, from one provider for all of your technologies around the world.

Secured IoT Just A Delusion Away!

I reached out to an old colleague to get some input on how different organizations are working to achieve secured IoT platforms. To my surprise he did not see it any different from securing anything else. Regardless of the many unique aspects of IoT Security I threw at him, nothing resonated. It was then that I realized that many in the industry just don’t realize the perfect storm that they are being hit with.

My colleague just did not share or buy into the challenges of distributed IoTs, their cloud application dependencies, resource limitations or proprietary hardware and software. He had quick answers for everything. Segmentation via VLAN, Communication — Route Control. Access Control with firewalls. He was convinced the tools, process and procedures he had developed over the past years would work just as effectively for secured IoT as it does for secured enterprise.

For some, unless Cisco has a product to address a problem, the problem does not exist. They have deluded themselves that when it comes down to it, the industry behemoths will provide. But keep in mind that success for the behemoths means squeezing every last bit of profit from their investments in current technologies. So it’s fair to say they are not jumping to be the tip of the spear. They are in the rear, with the gear – literally.

For many, secured IoT is achieved with “proven effective methods” using “proven effective products” to achieve “industry standard” security. But are these methods and products really proven or effective for that matter? And what does industry standard security mean?

For the past 30 years, the industry has been handling security the same way. Identify a singular target silo that needs to be secured and buy a bunch of high-priced disjointed security products, then pay different high-priced security people to set each of them up, and another set of high-priced security administrators to keep them up-and-running. Oh yeah – along the way you keep an eye out on security – when your team gets a chance – and hopefully you have the right products – and the right people – and some means of consolidating the different outputs and piecing them together to have digestible data.

There is a well defined and proper order to this effort: identify, evaluate, select, acquire, implement, integrate, operationalize, monitor, manage, troubleshoot, refresh – Lather – Rinse – Repeat! It’s fair to say that 90% of most organizations’ security resources are focused on keeping their security products functional and not security. And a good portion of the people employed in the security industry are product experts first and foremost.

What has this traditional model gotten us? Between the hacked social media, hacked Internet services, hacked financials, hacked power grid, hacked political parties and hacked elections we are more exposed than ever.  We have compromised records that are in-the-wild numbering in the hundreds of millions. Moreover, the US and EU are both facing their own existential crisis because of it. All of this happened only in the last few years and to organizations that could afford security. What about mid-size and small operators that have limited funding and access to expertise?

It’s time that we as an industry admit that the product-centric security model is not just a failure, it’s a breathtaking failure. And we are only in the early stages of distributed compute era. Imagine the challenges that have to be overcome to have properly secured IoT platforms. Here are some comparisons of what is standard with enterprise security today and the emerging challenges to have secured IoT.

  • Intel based multi-purpose standard hardware vs. imagination driven purpose-built proprietary hardware.
  • Mac, Linux or Windows vs. Many Operating systems that are as of yet undefined.
  • Near unlimited resources and power vs. resource challenged devices with limited access or even finite power resources.
  • Localized technologies you can touch vs. highly distributed devices around the city, state, country or the world.
  • Technologies that operate in concentric networks vs. those that operate on may different public or private networks.
  • Lifespan of 3-5 years for enterprise technologies vs. 8-20 for IoT technologies.



Secured IoT is already starting to devastate today’s industry standard enterprise security approaches. We can either delude ourselves into thinking that the product companies will fix the problem or we can take control and define our own success. As Gene Kranz, the venerable flight director of the troubled Apollo 13 mission said: “Work the Problem”.  Let’s take Gene’s advice in this era of distributed, mobile and dependency compute. Let’s work the problem, not the product!

 

About Acreto:

Acreto is the first cloud-delivered, end-to-end connectivity and security platform that can connect and protect any technology, on any network, anywhere. Acreto SASE+ Plus delivers Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) functionalities for access technologies such as devices, networks, IoT / OT and third-parties; while Acreto Secure Application and Data Interconnect (SADI) connects and protects application delivery infrastructure such as clouds, SaaS, data centers and co-locations. Acreto SASE+ Plus is SASE plus SADI — one platform with one interface from one provider for all of your technologies around the world.

Interested in seeing Acreto SASE+Plus in action? Let’s start with some basic information.




    Interested in seeing Acreto SASE+Plus in action? Let’s start with some basic information.




      Interested in seeing Acreto SASE+Plus in action? Let’s start with some basic information.




        Interested in seeing Acreto SASE+Plus in action? Let’s start with some basic information.