Cloud Security Authors: Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Maria C. Horton, Liz McMillan, Ravi Rajamiyer

Related Topics: Cloud Security, Agile Computing

Cloud Security: Press Release

Is Your Internet Security Architecture Ready for Today's Internet?

Secure Web Gateway Company Cites Key Areas of Concern for Securing Today's Organizations

Web 2.0 applications, hosted services and social networks are examples of how today's Internet is redefining the way people interact with one another and how businesses and organizations use and manage critical applications. The rapid expansion of choices and the high number of users has exposed inefficiencies in tools that the industry has traditionally used to secure and control Internet connections. Many organizations have replaced outdated security methods with forward-thinking solutions that can secure the Web gateway.

The rise in Web 2.0 activity has created a well-defined need for better visibility and protection at the Internet gateway. According to Gartner Group, less than 30 percent of organizations have secured their Internet gateway, while the remaining companies rely on traditional techniques such as firewalls, URL filtering or traditional 'block/allow' technologies. Cymphonix® believes these outdated security tools cannot provide the detailed identity aware reporting and flexible policy controls to be effective in an 'always on' world.

"Even casual users of the Internet can clearly see the benefits and advantages of Web 2.0 applications. Using Facebook and other social media sites or media portals like Hulu allows us to access content when and where we want it. In using these tools, we've become accustomed to accepting and downloading plug-ins and other browser enhancing software, which is a prime target for malware. As we adapt and expand the usage of Web 2.0 technologies, malware will be a constant challenge and its effects will be more damaging than ever before," said Brent Nixon, president and CEO of Cymphonix. "Simply blocking pages no longer makes sense in a Web 2.0 world. Companies must regain control of the content at the gateway while allowing appropriate access to those who need it."

To address what's really happening in the technical trenches, Cymphonix assembled a list of five key items that IT management needs to understand about Web 2.0 security:

A majority of Web 2.0 applications are vulnerable to malware attacks: Malware is more damaging than ever before. Not only can it take down entire business segments, the time and resources required to remedy a malware infection could cost a company millions of dollars. As more companies leverage Web 2.0, the potential for disaster increases exponentially. While most organizations agree that network security is a critical piece of infrastructure, they remain tied to conventional methods because change requires an investment.

Most users cannot determine the good sites from the bad sites: As we've become accustomed to Web 2.0 technologies we begin to automatically trust, accept and download items when a Web page requests the user to install a plug-in. This presents a prime opportunity for malware offenders. In recent years there have been malware issues with popular websites like Facebook, MySpace and Yahoo!. Mashups pose another risk, as URLs are made to look as though they are coming from trusted sources, when in fact it is malware.

Traditional block/allow security technologies have created a legitimate business need for avoidance technologies: As an online generation, we are accustomed to accessing the Internet anywhere -- work, school, hotel room, etc. Many organizations have used their traditional security solutions to block questionable content or websites running on HTTP and port 80. Users still want access to content, which has caused an explosion in the number of filter avoidance technologies available to access content using ports, protocols and applications that traditional security solutions cannot detect.

There are legitimate advantages to allowing Web 2.0 applications: Wikis, user groups, blogs, sales networking and marketing platforms all provide tools that increase productivity while saving time and money. For many companies, blocking these tools is not an option. Additionally, many of today's employees expect access to these applications and services, which have become an important part of our everyday lives.

Existing Tools Don't Have the Level of Control that is Needed: The new measure of content management is the ability to shape and control. It is not enough to say 'this website is allowed and this one is not.' Rather, there has to be the ability to create "greater among equals" and that can only happen when all Web content can be shaped and prioritized. In addition, we know that an application or website shaping rule that applies to the entire organization will not work. There needs to be multiple levels of priority and access across all areas of network management including Internet content management as well.

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SYS-CON's Security News desk trawls the world of security for news of software, hardware, products, and services that seems likely to be of interest to infosec professionals and summarizes them for easy assimilation by busy IT managers and staff.

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