Cloud Security Authors: Derek Weeks, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Ed Featherston, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Log Management, Cloud Security, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Prevention Not Detection Is the Key to Better Security

Inside story on how HP implemented the TippingPoint intrusion detection system across its own security infrastructure

The high cost of unwanted intrusion and malware across corporate networks is well known. Less talked-about are the successful ways that organizations are thwarting ongoing, adaptive and often-insider-driven security breaches.

Companies are understandably reluctant to readily discuss either their defenses or mishaps. Yet HP, one of the world's largest companies, is both a provider and a practitioner of enterprise intrusion detection systems (IDS). And so we asked HP to explain how it is both building and using such technologies, along with seeking some insider tips on best practices. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingDirect podcasts.]

And so the next edition of the HP Discover Podcast Series explores the ins and outs of improving enterprise intrusion detection systems (IDS). We learn how HP and its global cyber security partners have made the HP Global Network more resilient and safe. We also gain more insight into HP's vision for security and learn how that has been effectively translated into actual implementation.

The inside story comes from Jim O'Shea, Network Security Architect for HP Cyber Security Strategy and Infrastructure Engagement. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Here are some excerpts:

Gardner: What are some of the major trends that are driving the need for better intrusion detection and prevention nowadays?

O’Shea: If you look at the past, you had reaction technologies. We had firewalls that blocked and looked at the port level. Then we evolved to trying to detect things that were malicious with intent by using IDS. But that was still a reactionary-type thing. It was a nice approach, but we were reacting. But if you knew it was bad, why did we let it in in the first place?

The evolution was in the IDS, to the prevention. If you know it's bad, why do you even want to see it? Why do you want to try to react to it? Just block it early. That’s the trend that we’ve been following.

Gardner: But we can’t just have a black-and-white entry. We want access control, rather than just a firewall. So is there a new thinking, a new vision, that’s been developed over the past several years about these networks and what should or shouldn't be allowed through them?

O’Shea: You’re talking about letting the good in. Those are the evolutions and the trends that we are all trying to strive for. Let the good traffic in. Let who you are be a guide. Maybe look at what you have. You can also explore the health of your device. Those are all trends that we’re all striving for now.

Gardner: I recall Jim, that there was a Ponemon Institute report about a year or so ago that really outlined some of the issues here.

Number of attacks

O’Shea: The Ponemon study was illustrating the vast number of attacks and the trend toward the costs for intrusion. It was highlighting those type of trends, all of which we’re trying to head off. Those type of reports are guiding factors in taking a more proactive, automated-type response. [Learn more about prevention detection.]

Gardner: I suppose what’s also different nowadays is that we’re not only concerned with outside issues in terms of risk, but also insider attacks.

O’Shea: You’re exactly right. Are you hiring the right people? That’s a big issue. Are they being influenced? Those are all huge issues. Big data can handle some of that and pull that in. Our approach on intrusion detection isn’t to just look at what’s coming from the outside, but also look at all data traversing the network.

You have a whole rogue wireless-type approach in which people can gain access and can they probe and poke around.

When we deployed the TippingPoint solution, we didn’t change our policies or profiles that we were deploying based on whether it’s starting on the inside or starting on the outside. It was an equal deployment.

An insider attack could also be somebody who walks into a facility, gains physical access, and connects to your network. You have a whole rogue wireless-type approach in which people can gain access and can they probe and poke around. And if it’s malware traffic from our perspective, with the IDS we took the approach, inside or outside -- doesn’t matter. If we can detect it, if we can be in the path, it’s a block.

TippingPoint technology is an appliance-based technology. It’s an inline device. We deploy it inline. It sits in the network, and the traffic is flowing through it. It’s looking for characteristics or reputation on the type of traffic, and reputation is a more real-time change in the system. This network, IP address, or URL is known for malware, etc. That’s a dynamic update, but the static updates are signature-type, and the detection of vulnerability or a specific exploit aimed at an operating system.

So intrusion prevention is through the detection of that, and blocking and preventing that from completing its communication to the end node.

Bigger picture

All the events get logged into HP ArcSight to create the bigger picture. Are you seeing these type of events occurring other places? So you have the bigger picture correlation.

Network-based anomaly detection is the ability to detect something that is occurring in the network and it's based on an IP address or it’s based on a flow. Taking advantage of reputation we can insert those IP addresses, detected based on flow, that are doing something anomalous.

It could be that they’re beaconing out, spreading a worm. If they look like they’re causing concerns with a high degree of accuracy, then we can put that into the reputation and take advantage of moving blocks.

So reputation is a self-deploying feature. You insert an IP address into it and it can self-update. We haven’t taken the automated step yet, although that’s in the plan. Today, it’s a manual process for us, but ideally, through application programming interfaces (APIs), we can automate all that. It works in a lab, but we haven’t deployed it on our production that way.

Gardner: Clearly HP is a good example of a large enterprise, one of the largest in the world, with global presence, with a lot of technology, a lot of intellectual property, and therefore a lot to protect. Let’s look at how you actually approached protecting the HP network.

We wanted to prevent mal traffic, mal-formed traffic, malware -- any traffic with the mal intent of reaching the data center.

What’s the vision, if you will, for HP's Global Cyber Security, when it comes to these newer approaches? Do you have an overarching vision that then you can implement? How do we begin to think about chunking out the problem in order to then solve it effectively?

O’Shea: You must be able to detect, block, and prevent as an overarching strategy. We also wanted to take advantage of inserting a giant filter inline on all data that’s going into the data center. We wanted to prevent mal traffic, mal-formed traffic, malware -- any traffic with the "mal" intent of reaching the data center.

So why make that an application decision to block and rely on host-level defenses, when we have the opportunity to do it at the network? So it made the network more hygienically clean, blocking traffic that you don’t want to see.

We wrapped it around the data center, so all traffic going into our data centers goes through that type of filter. [Learn more about prevention detection.]

Key to deployment

Because this is all an inline technology, and you are going inline in the network, you’re changing flows. It could be mal traffic, but yet maybe a researcher is trying to do something. So we need to have the ability to have that level of partnership with the network team. They have to see it. They have to understand what it is. It has to be manageable.

When we deployed it, we looked at what could go wrong and we designed around that. What could go wrong? A device failed. So we have an N+1 type installation. If a single device fails, we’re not down, we are not blocking traffic. We have the ability to handle the capacity of our network, which grows, and we are growing, and so it has to be built for the now and the future. It has to be manageable.

It has to be able to be understood by “first responders,” the people that get called first. Everybody blames the network first, and then it's the application afterward. So the network team gets pulled in on many calls, at all types of hours, and they have to be able to get that view.

That was key to get them broad-based training, so that the technology was there. Get a process integrated into how you’re going to handle updates and how you’re going to add beyond what TippingPoint recommended. TippingPoint makes a recommendation on profiles and new settings. If we take that, do we want to add other things? So we have to have a global cyber-security view and a global cyber-security input and have that all vetted.

The application team had to be onboard and aware, so that everybody understands. Finally, because we were going into a very large installed network that was handling a lot of different types of traffic, we brought in TippingPoint Professional Services and had everything looked at, re-looked at, and signed off on, so that what we’re doing is a best practice. We looked at it from multiple angles and took a lot of things into consideration.

We proxy the events. That gives us the ability to have multiple ArcSight instances and also to evolve.

Gardner: Is there something about TippingPoint and ArcSight that provides data, views, and analytics in such a way that it's easier for these groups to work together in ways that they hadn’t before?

O’Shea: One of the nice things about the way the TippingPoint events occur is that you have a choice. You can send them from an individual IDS units themselves or you can proxy them from the management console. Again, the ability to manage was critical to us, so we chose to do it from the console.

We proxy the events. That gives us the ability to have multiple ArcSight instances and also to evolve. ArcSight evolves. When they’re changing, evolving, and growing, and they want to bring up a new collector, we’re able to send very rapidly to the new collector.

ArcSight pulls in firewall logs. You can get proxy events and events from antivirus. You can pull in that whole view and get a bigger picture at the ArcSight console. The TippingPoint view is of what’s happening from the inline TippingPoint and what's traversing it. Then, the ArcSight view adds a lot of depth to that.

Very flexible

So it gives a very broad picture, but from the TippingPoint view, we’re very flexible and able to add and stay in step with ArcSight growth quickly. It's kind of a concert. That includes sending events on different ports. You’re not restricted to one port. If you want to create a secure port or a unique port for your events to go on to ArcSight, you have that ability.

After the deployment we’ve had some DoS attacks against us, and they have been blocked and deflected. We’ve had some other events that we have been able to block and defend rapidly. [Learn more about prevention detection.]

If you think back historically of how we dealt with them, those were kind of a Whac-A-Mole-type of defenses. Something happened, and you reacted. So I guess the metric would be that we’re not as reactionary, but do we have hard metrics to prove that? I don’t have those.

How much volume?

Gardner: We can appreciate the scale of what the systems are capable of. Do we have a number of events detected or that sort of thing, blocks per month, any sense of how much volume we can handle?

O’Shea: We took a month’s sample. I’m trying to recall the exact number, but it was 100 million events in one month that were detected as mal events. That’s including Internet-facing events. That’s why the volume is high, but it was 100 million events that were automatically blocked and that were flagged as mal events.

The Professional Services teams have been able to deploy in a very large network and have worked with the requirements that a large enterprise has.

The Professional Services teams have been able to deploy in a very large network and have worked with the requirements that a large enterprise has. That includes standard deployment, how things are connected and what the drawings are going to look like, as well as how are you going to cable it up.

A large enterprise has different standards than a small business would have, and that was a give back to the Professional Services to be able to deploy it in a large enterprise. It has been a good relationship, and there is always opportunity for improvement, but it certainly has helped.

Current trends

Gardner: Jim, looking to the future a little bit, we know that there’s going to be more and more cloud and hybrid-cloud types of activities. We’re certainly seeing already a huge uptick in mobile device and tablet use on corporate networks. This is also part of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend that we’re seeing.

So should we expect a higher degree of risk and more variables and complication, and what does that portend for the use of these types of technologies going forward? How much gain do you get by getting on the IDS bandwagon sooner rather than later?

O’Shea: BYOD is a new twist on things and it means something different to everybody, because it's an acronym term, but let's take the view of you bringing in a product you buy.

BYOD is a new twist on things and it means something different to everybody, because it's an acronym term.

Somebody is always going to get a new device, they are going to bring in it, they are going to try it out, and they are going to connect it to the corporate network, if they can. And because they are coming from a different environment and they’re not necessarily to corporate standards, they may bring unwanted guests into the network, in terms of malware.

Now, we have the opportunity, because we are inline, to detect and block that right away. Because we are an integrated ecosystem, they will show up as anomalous events. ArcSight and our Cyber Defense Center will be able to see those events. So you get a bigger picture.

Those events can be then translated into removing that node from the network. We have that opportunity to do that. BYOD not only brings your own device, but it also brings things you don’t know that are going to happen, and the only way to block that is prevention and anomalous type detection, and then try to bring it altogether in a bigger picture.

Sponsor: HP. Learn more about prevention detection.

You may also be interested in:

More Stories By Dana Gardner

At Interarbor Solutions, we create the analysis and in-depth podcasts on enterprise software and cloud trends that help fuel the social media revolution. As a veteran IT analyst, Dana Gardner moderates discussions and interviews get to the meat of the hottest technology topics. We define and forecast the business productivity effects of enterprise infrastructure, SOA and cloud advances. Our social media vehicles become conversational platforms, powerfully distributed via the BriefingsDirect Network of online media partners like ZDNet and IT-Director.com. As founder and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, Dana Gardner created BriefingsDirect to give online readers and listeners in-depth and direct access to the brightest thought leaders on IT. Our twice-monthly BriefingsDirect Analyst Insights Edition podcasts examine the latest IT news with a panel of analysts and guests. Our sponsored discussions provide a unique, deep-dive focus on specific industry problems and the latest solutions. This podcast equivalent of an analyst briefing session -- made available as a podcast/transcript/blog to any interested viewer and search engine seeker -- breaks the mold on closed knowledge. These informational podcasts jump-start conversational evangelism, drive traffic to lead generation campaigns, and produce strong SEO returns. Interarbor Solutions provides fresh and creative thinking on IT, SOA, cloud and social media strategies based on the power of thoughtful content, made freely and easily available to proactive seekers of insights and information. As a result, marketers and branding professionals can communicate inexpensively with self-qualifiying readers/listeners in discreet market segments. BriefingsDirect podcasts hosted by Dana Gardner: Full turnkey planning, moderatiing, producing, hosting, and distribution via blogs and IT media partners of essential IT knowledge and understanding.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Coalfire will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Coalfire is the trusted leader in cybersecurity risk management and compliance services. Coalfire integrates advisory and technical assessments and recommendations to the corporate directors, executives, boards, and IT organizations for global brands and organizations in the technology, cloud, health...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Transparent Cloud Computing (T-Cloud) Consortium will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium (T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data proces...
The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
WebRTC defines no default signaling protocol, causing fragmentation between WebRTC silos. SIP and XMPP provide possibilities, but come with considerable complexity and are not designed for use in a web environment. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Matthew Hodgson, technical co-founder of the Matrix.org, discussed how Matrix is a new non-profit Open Source Project that defines both a new HTTP-based standard for VoIP & IM signaling and provides reference implementations.
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
A completely new computing platform is on the horizon. They’re called Microservers by some, ARM Servers by others, and sometimes even ARM-based Servers. No matter what you call them, Microservers will have a huge impact on the data center and on server computing in general. Although few people are familiar with Microservers today, their impact will be felt very soon. This is a new category of computing platform that is available today and is predicted to have triple-digit growth rates for some ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftNet Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. SoftNet Solutions specializes in Enterprise Solutions for Hadoop and Big Data. It offers customers the most open, robust, and value-conscious portfolio of solutions, services, and tools for the shortest route to success with Big Data. The unique differentiator is the ability to architect and ...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Niagara Networks will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Niagara Networks offers the highest port-density systems, and the most complete Next-Generation Network Visibility systems including Network Packet Brokers, Bypass Switches, and Network TAPs.
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Fifty billion connected devices and still no winning protocols standards. HTTP, WebSockets, MQTT, and CoAP seem to be leading in the IoT protocol race at the moment but many more protocols are getting introduced on a regular basis. Each protocol has its pros and cons depending on the nature of the communications. Does there really need to be only one protocol to rule them all? Of course not. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, walk you through how Oct...