Trends around cloud computing are moving fast. The latest Cloud Index Report from Cisco shows that by 2017, global cloud IP traffic will reach 443 exabytes per month -- up from 98 exabytes per month in 2012. In five years, global cloud IP traffic will increase nearly fivefold.
For security practitioners like me, this rapid growth has created a number of new fields, professional opportunities, and methodologies. But what, as a user, is the best way to secure the cloud, data, and workload points in your lab or corporate setting? Here’s what I do.
The challenge used to be around requirements related to virtual on top of a hypervisor. Traditionally, clients that had to sit on the virtual machine became resource hogs. In my lab and in many customer deployments, I really enjoy working with client-less antivirus software. 5nine offers great client-less security on the Hyper-V platform while Trend Micro covers VMware. Both, as well as others, integrate at the virtual layer in the hypervisor through APIs, and both provide robust security.
There are a few ways to look at this. Some data must be protected at the local layer, while other data resides in the cloud. Locally, drive encryption is a good choice. If you’re working with a larger storage array, segmenting your SAN/NAS network traffic on a vLAN and then monitoring that traffic really helps. A great example would be Palo Alto’s virtual firewall appliances running PAN-OS. This, along with similar products, represent a next-generation piece of security that sits in your cloud or at the datacenter, continuously monitoring data during peak and low times.
My physical machines
At home, a solid AV engine can do the trick. I really like light, cloud-based AV engines that don’t take up a lot of resources. Panda and Immunet both offer free, cloud-based AV services. At the corporate side, I lock down information rather than the machine, using app and desktop virtualization that can centrally store all of my information. This makes the machine just a set of resources without any valuable data at the end-point.
This is where mobility comes into play. I’ve had the chance to test products like XenMobile from Citrix as well as the newly VMware-acquired AirWatch platform. The idea here is the create mobility and security. These end-point security mechanisms are all virtual, deploy powerful policies to pretty much any smart device, and even optimize end-user performance. I can lock devices, send them messages, and track them if they are stolen. The nice thing is that I can make these policies automated. For example, if a device leaves a certain security area, I can require that it be immediately locked and become inaccessible.
There are a lot of best-practices to follow with home networking. For example: Limit open ports, segment your network traffic, always use SSL VPN connections, always monitor your certificates, and create access control lists. I enjoy working with Layer 2 or Layer 3 switches, which give you extra control over your network. That said, working with SDN can really control your network traffic at that virtual layer.
Recently, I had the chance to play with VMware’s new NSX virtual network platform. The cool security features there allow you to control your network at a logical layer with intelligent network isolation, and even distributed stateful firewalling.
Now it’s your turn. How do you secure your personal cloud? Let’s chat about it in the comments.