Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Cloud Security

08:55 AM
Curtis Franklin
Curtis Franklin
Curt Franklin

Rackspace Strengthens Its Managed Security Story

Rackspace is adding features and functions to its managed security offerings. Is it all a company needs?

Rackspace has added Privacy and Data Protection (PDP) to the latest version of its managed security offerings. PDP provides enhanced encryption, data access and compliance monitoring for customers.

In a telephone conversation with Brian Kelly, Rackspace CSO, and Daniel Clayton, director of operations at Rackspace Managed Security, we talked about where PDP fits into the company's overall security strategy, and how customers are working with service providers such as Rackspace to secure their applications and data.

Kelly began with a discussion of the "uneven handshake," a theory of the security relationship between cloud customer and service providerfirst introduced by research firm Forrester in 2014. The heart of the uneven handshake is stated as,

… the cloud service provider is only responsible for securing the data center, infrastructure, and hypervisor, while the end user organization is responsible for the operating system, applications, users, and data.

After describing the relationship, Kelly admitted, "Honestly, that has never sat well with me and I struggled with the concept," because the service provider is perfectly positioned to provide more pieces of the security chain than the customer. He said he began working to shift the balance of the handshake after he joined Rackspace three years ago, because, "We've got to work with our customers and even out the handshake and do more for them."

Clayton said that resource availability is a critical part of why service providers should be doing more for their customers. "We all know that there's a resource gap out in the industry for security professionals and a lot of the small companies really struggle to get to the [necessary] level of skill," he said. He further explained, "There's a skills shortage, you know. Security analysts are difficult to find, hard to recruit and even harder to retain."

This was the reason why Rackspace began its managed security offerings with services that moved the Security Operations Center (SOC) functions from the customer to the service provider. Why wasn't encryption included in those basic original functions? Clayton said there were legitimate reasons, though there was a great deal of internal discussion before the decision was made.

"I'll be very honest with you; when we initially talked about launching RackSpace Managed Security, as a security professional it was my feeling that encryption should have been part of that initial service. We really felt at the time that we wanted to put a service offering together that included everything that every customer should have," Clayton said. "There are minimum 'table stakes' that every customer should have and as a security professional I felt that encryption was on that list," he continued. "Now, I was overruled and I was overruled for good reason because the reality is that many customers don't want to encrypt all of their data. It's expensive and difficult to do."

Now, though, Kelly and Clayton say that Rackspace is closing the gaps in its security offerings and becoming a more complete provider in the managed security world. Kelly said the real challenge is adding functionality without adding complexity. He said that adding complexity has been the way that security has grown for years. "Antivirus was lacking and so we plugged the hole with intrusion detection. And then intrusion prevention didn't really address our applications so we put a web application firewall in place, and then over time we layer so many things on it we just created this complexity."

The complexity becomes important, Kelly said, because, "I honestly believe the enemy of security today is complexity probably more than anything else."

You're invited to attend Light Reading's 11th annual Future of Cable Business Services event. Join us in New York on November 30 for the premier independent conference focusing on the cable industry's continuing efforts in the commercial services market – all cable operators and other communications service providers get in free.

There's an obvious question about how well Rackspace has succeeded and also about its customers' reactions to the additional functions. I asked Kelly and Clayton, "If one of your customers came to you and said to you, 'Thank heavens! With you doing this, I don't have to worry about security any more,' would that delight you or terrify you?"

"Both in equal measure is the answer to that question," Clayton said, while laughing with Kelly. He continued by talking about how Rackspace started the Managed Security Program with the idea of owning as much of the security function as possible. Nevertheless, he said, at this point Rackspace is still able to deliver only a small part of everything that a company requires for an overall security solution.

"There's still much, much more for us to do," Kelly said. "So I would be very pleased that a customer had the confidence that they could relax and allow us to do what we do. But I would also be terrified by the idea that a customer believed that there weren't so many more things that they needed to be doing that we couldn't do for them."

The major shift that's happening for customers, though, is in security emphasis. Clayton said, "Security today is all about the data. You know in the past it was about the perimeter," he said. "It was kind of perimeter backwards. And today it's about the data forwards."

Related posts:

— Curtis Franklin is the editor of SecurityNow.com. Follow him on Twitter @kg4gwa.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/2/2020
Ripple20 Threatens Increasingly Connected Medical Devices
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/30/2020
DDoS Attacks Jump 542% from Q4 2019 to Q1 2020
Dark Reading Staff 6/30/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
Apache Guacamole 1.1.0 and older may mishandle pointers involved inprocessing data received via RDP static virtual channels. If a userconnects to a malicious or compromised RDP server, a series ofspecially-crafted PDUs could result in memory corruption, possiblyallowing arbitrary code to be executed...
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unified Communications Manager Session Management Edition, Cisco Unified Communications Manager IM & Presence Service, and Cisco Unity Connection could allow an unauthenticated, remote attack...
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, when users run the command displayed in NGINX Controller user interface (UI) to fetch the agent installer, the server TLS certificate is not verified.
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, the Neural Autonomic Transport System (NATS) messaging services in use by the NGINX Controller do not require any form of authentication, so any successful connection would be authorized.
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, the NGINX Controller installer starts the download of Kubernetes packages from an HTTP URL On Debian/Ubuntu system.