Decreasing Attack Surface in Hybrid Cloud Workloads

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“Tetration” is a mathematical term used to indicate very large numbers. It represents the fourth order of iterated exponentiation. The engineering team used this term to indicate the huge volume of data that can be processed to provide meaningful results and to suggest massive scaling.”

Data, data, data. It’s everywhere and growing by the minute. Finding the right data in a time and manner that is actionable is difficult. New tools and analytics clusters are now able to collect vast amounts of data and predict, inform, and alert to problems that are plague network infrastructure.

When problems arise in the data center, network administrators hear things like “it was running slow” or “I wasn’t able to connect 10 minutes ago” from the end user. These are good comments to have but in traditional data centers, rewinding time and solving problems that have come and gone was impossible.

Cisco has released a new analytics cluster dubbed Tetration Analytics. This tool is an appliance-based system that allows data center operational data to be delivered via APIs in an actionable format. The system is designed to address operational challenges in a multi-cloud data center where workloads are complex and segmentation is everywhere. It uses machine learning, behavior analytics, and more to offer a holistic view of a data center. Cisco’s approach is designed to let data center engineers apply consistent policies across all of systems.

Cisco Tetration uses micro-segmentation to keep data centers secure when a breach occur. Typically, security is designed to protect against outside threats and make sure North/South traffic is secured. That means that security has been focused on stopping outside threats and remedying inside threats. However, in today’s environment, hackers are able to lay low for longer and have more ability to maneuver within a data center. Until now, there hasn’t been a focus on East/West security. Cisco Tetration’s ability to automatically micro-segment workloads and push policies down consistently greatly reduces the risk of an attacker being able to move laterally through a data center. If hacker does get through, they’re stuck in place and aren’t able to access other applications including mission critical ones.

As data centers become more complex with hybrid, public, and private clouds, more security holes are being discovered. Using automation for policy distribution and micro-segmentation, risk can be greatly reduced by consistently push policies down at scale through automation and segmenting workloads so one breach doesn’t open up the entire network to the bad actor.

Cisco Tetration employs a zero-trust model. This model turns conventional security thinking on its head. Typically, organizations have trusted inside sources inherently. However, this new model that Cisco is calling the “Zero-Trust Model” takes a different approach. The model has 3 key tenets which are eliminate network trust, segment network access, and gain visibility and analytics.

Eliminate Network Trust

  • This tenet is a cautious approach to all traffic moving through a data center. It takes a negative predisposition to traffic classifying it as a threat until it is verified. This means that the traffic must be authorized, inspected before it is classified as trusted.

Segment Network Access

  • The second tenet is segmenting network access for increased East/West security. Segmenting workloads and restricting users to access to the resources they need to do their job greatly reduces the threat of bad actors using inside traffic to gain access to other resources.

Gain Visibility and Analytics

  • The last tenet is the ability to see and analyze the traffic that is running in data centers. Having visibility improves proactive defense. With visibility into traffic flows, network administrators have the ability to identify and cut the connection before a full-blown breach occurs. Combine that with Tetration’s powerful analytics tool that analyzes data sets to stop future attacks and you have a holistic defense strategy.

The “Zero-Trust Model” is a new way of looking at networking and is driving a more secure data center.

If your organization wants to explore if Tetration can help secure your data center, reach out to us. We want to provide the knowledge that will help make informed and smart business decisions.

Written by Network Solutions

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