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Protecting Privacy in Cloud-First Networks Brings Opportunity to the Channel

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Data Privacy
Infoblox's Ed Hunter

Ed Hunter

January 28, 2021, marks the 14th anniversary of Data Privacy Day, a day set aside to empower dialog and inspire individuals and companies to take action to protect how personal information is used.

This year, we find the technology landscape radically different from the early days of cloud adoption when few could have predicted that software would rule the world. Corporate environments have evolved from on-premises networks to cloud-first environments that must deliver productivity applications to endpoints wherever they may be. And, since March 2020, when shutdowns were put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, this also accelerated workforce transformation with more than 90% of business leaders committed to building borderless enterprises.

The network’s extension into hybrid, multicloud environments demands that security move from physically contained (on-premises) boundaries to a data-centric model that can be deployed remotely and protects geographically dispersed workers. Humans are now the network perimeter. In this paradigm, securing the expanded network provides the means for achieving privacy, which builds trust. Landmark privacy legislations, the GDPR and the CCPA, have codified that companies have a responsibility to provide adequate protection that advance the interlocked cause.

Expertise in Data Privacy Can Position Solution Providers for Success

Solution providers, including VARs and system integrators, have a tremendous opportunity to position themselves as growth experts by giving customers strategies to protect data privacy across their cloud-first networks.

A great place to start in helping clients achieve data privacy in the cloud-first world, is asking a few key questions that can help them build the framework for privacy within their own businesses, and among their end users:

  • Where is key data stored and is it appropriately protected and monitored?
  • Are there multiple lines of defense protecting my data (defense in depth)?
  • Are the controls close to the data?
  • How well are we protecting access beyond the campus walls?
  • Am I spending my limited resources on the right things (risk management)?

Key to addressing these questions is the ability for the business to scale visibility and foundational security to every endpoint, every application, everything that collectively makes up the modern enterprise. Visibility across the entire IT stack gives teams contextual awareness into what each device connected to the system is doing. As the network expands out beyond the four walls, solution providers can leverage DDI (DNS, DHCP and IPAM), which enables their clients to use a technology they already implemented (for devices to communicate with each other) to glean enhanced insight into network activities.

Since more than 90% of malware touches DNS – the first D in DDI – to break in and out of networks, DDI sheds light on blind spots that the existing security tools, such as firewalls, antivirus and SIEMs. Layering on DDI enhances visibility into previously hidden spaces to provide solution providers with a clearer picture of what situations may require investigation, which is crucial to putting teams on the path to control.

In addition to visibility, helping clients defend a hybrid environment requires foundational security that enables the zero-trust model to extend security beyond the reach of on-premises defenses. Zero trust is the strongest approach a company can take to secure data both in the cloud and on the traditional network as it layers in security technologies from an “assume breach” standpoint.

This model bases access to data, apps and devices on a user’s identity and the minimum required access. In order for this approach to be effective, an accurate inventory of both users and devices is required. For solution providers and their customers, DDI solutions can assist by supplying accurate and up-to-date contextual data from these assigned devices. These insights can accelerate threat investigation and remediation as well as optimize the performance of the entire security ecosystem.

Data Privacy Day draws awareness to the work defenders do every day to protect their companies from attackers. The alternative is leaving open gaps that, if exploited, could cost a company 4% of its annual revenue, or 20 million euros (USD 24.3 million), whichever is higher. In addition to hefty fines, poor security jeopardizes customer privacy, which diminishes trust — another precious currency. When solution providers invest in sound security best practices, they can then help their clients protect against potential financial and reputational damage. That’s the outcome every solution provider should be working towards in face of the multiplying threats that come with the expanding network.

Ed Hunter leads the Infoblox information security team. He came to Infoblox from Palo Alto Networks, where he founded the security information security team and program. Previous roles include various firms in manufacturing, research and defense.


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