Whether we like it or not, the way we architect, utilize, and secure the networks and systems under our control has changed. When servers were safely tucked away behind corporate firewalls and perimeter-deployed intrusion prevention controls, organizations became complacent and dependent on their host security. Unfortunately, inadequately architected security controls that rely solely on broad network-based protection can make the migration of an organization’s systems to private, public, and hybrid cloud hosting even more exposed to attackers than they were before.
Everyone has heard the “defense in depth” analogy relating security to a medieval castle with controlled access to different locations of the castle and a defensive moat around the perimeter. This “hard outside” and “soft inside” model was designed to make it as difficult as possible to get past the perimeter. However, once inside the walls, the trusted individual had elevated access to resources within the network.
Unsurprisingly, the medieval defense analogy has lost much of its relevance in a world where systems and users move effortlessly from within the confines of a walled corporation, to a local coffee shop, and perhaps even to a different country as part of normal business operations.
Securing the next generation of hosting platforms requires a new approach that not every organization is ready for. Some industry analyst firms promote the idea of a “cloud first strategy” for all technology deployments. Though not a bad idea, per se, this doesn’t mean that forklifting your entire architecture into cloud or containerized environments should be your number one priority – especially if you’re being forced to choose between a new architecture and the traditional security controls that you depend upon.
Thankfully, technology has evolved to allow for more seamless security in environments that need to span traditional datacenters, virtualization, and cloud environments. This has allowed organizations to grow their capabilities without the need to choose between having security and having new technology stacks.
So how do we, as security professionals and business owners, decide what mitigating controls should be deployed to future-proof our security? It’s actually much easier than it sounds.