Oracle, a company with a long and storied history in enterprise identity, now faces the challenge of how to adjust its approach to security amid the transition to the cloud.
Much of this responsibility falls to Eric Olden, the company's new senior vice president and general manager of security and identity. Oracle's portfolio comprises, in part, a lineup of identity management and cloud security products that include cloud-based enterprise software and CASB solutions.
Olden, who was previously the founder and CTO of startups including Securant Technologies, Symplified, Deep Content, Launch Sciences, and Brite Content, joined the Oracle team last October. Moving from startups to one of the world's largest software companies, he says, has given him a new perspective on how large businesses handle cybersecurity in the cloud.
"It's really come down to complexity," he says. "With the advent of cloud, we're making this transition as an industry."
Whereas businesses used to be able to build their own data centers to protect their information and applications, and put up firewalls for security, the cloud is forcing them to change their approach, he says. Combined with the fact that most people are going mobile, it's time for defenses to evolve.
"We've pushed the notion of a post-perimeter world where the identity has become the perimeter," Olden says. "It's something I've seen coming for 20-plus years, and now we see it all the time."
The actual cloud transition, however, has "been almost overnight," he adds. It was only a few months ago when customers realized they didn't want to be left behind and couldn't delay cloud adoption.
Hackers Set Their Sights on Cloud
Once an organization begins its cloud transition, the volume and velocity of data can quickly overwhelm traditional manual approaches, Olden says. Moving to the cloud isn't a pilot project, and it's not something people can constantly watch for security alerts. Businesses are overwhelmed "with a sheer amount of noise," and the ability to detect threats in the chaos can't be done by humans alone, he adds.
Amid that struggle, hackers see the opportunity to exploi vulnerabilities with increasingly sophisticated tool sets and new attack techniques, Olden continues.
"We're past the days of writing a virus," he says, noting how hackers once just wanted to see whether they could pull off a cyberattack. "Now we're talking about very organized operations trying to get identity data. [They] want the keys. Identity data is incredibly sensitive."
Many organizations might feel as if they're bringing a knife to a gunfight when they go up against advanced adversaries. Rather than feeling exposed and outdone, Olden explains, they should aim to reduce the time needed to detect and remediate threats.
Cloud Adoption and Oracle's New Approach
How has Oracle adjusted its security strategy in response to the rise of cloud? Olden first points to the way in which customers receive updates for products such as the Oracle Identity Cloud.
"We can push new capabilities and features into the cloud, and all of our customers get access to them immediately ... that's a game changer," he explains. That's especially true for a company like Oracle, which for a long time abided by the enterprise software model of annual releases and planned upgrades for clients. The cloud has driven the level of agility, Olden says.
Oracle is also buckling down on automation and machine learning across its portfolio. Its CASB tool is an example: Once used to monitor activity in the hybrid cloud and detect abnormal behavior, it can now be used in authentication tools to automatically recognize rogue logins. If a CASB identifies suspicious activity, it can trigger multifactor authentication for the device.
By automating multifactor authentication, Olden says, you reduce the time to detect and remediate threats and eliminate passwords, which are "always the weakest link."
This use case also emphasizes the need to secure identity in a post-perimeter world, which Oracle also explains in its Trust Fabric security model – its approach to securing enterprise computing in the cloud. It's the company's way of securing data and apps in its security lineup.
Looking ahead to the rest of 2018, Olden says he plans to push automation deeper across its portfolio and to more deeply integrate Oracle Identity into the Oracle Cloud with new tools.
"With some of the new product introductions, we'll be talking about more defense-in-depth as we get more of these products reimagined in the cloud era," he says.
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