This syndicated post originally appeared at Network World Zeus Kerravala.

The cloud and mobility have certainly changed IT over the past five years. However, there may be no area of IT that has been impacted more than security. Historically, securing a business was fairly straightforward. For most businesses there was a single ingress/egress point to secure. I’m not saying securing this point in the network was easy, but the architecture was fairly simple.

Cloud and mobility have created numerous points in the network that need to be secured, giving rise to a growing number of threat vectors. This, in turn, has caused organizations to deploy more security tools, creating a more complicated environment. In addition to firewalls, security professionals need a number of inline and out-of-band security tools, including malware, mobile security, IPS, IDS, next-generation firewalls, and the list goes on and on. The challenge with this multi-tier security model is that the effectiveness of these security tools depends on the quality of the data sent to them. Ideally, one would want a consistent set of relevant and accurate data sent to each of the security tools. Achieving this can be challenging, though.

Last week, Gigamon, the market leader in visibility fabrics, shifted its strategy somewhat and unveiled a solution that can help the growing multi-tier, multi-tool security challenge. Gigamon’s visibility fabric typically sits out of band and provides a consistent set of relevant, accurate data to management tools so organizations can better manage applications and user experience. I’ve said in numerous blogs that “you can’t manage what you can’t see,” and a visibility fabric lets you “see more.” The same can be said for security. Better security depends on the ability to see more, and that’s what Gigamon’s new solution is aimed at doing.

Earlier this year, Gigamon released a modular platform – the GigaVUE–HC2. Last week, Gigamon released its first modules focused on solving the growing security challenge. One big change for Gigamon is that these modules can actually sit inline as well as out of band. Out of band is the way a visibility fabric is typically used, but this will be the first time in can be used for inline tools.

The new GigaVUE-HC2 Bypass Module provides both physical and logical bypass protection for inline tools. Security professionals can choose a one-to-one deployment model, where traffic from a module is sent to a single inline tool, or a one-to-many mode, where traffic can be distributed across multiple inline tools. Additionally, if a tool were to fail the visibility fabric (or security fabric in this case) can bypass the tools, fail over to a redundant network or drop traffic. This feature alone can greatly expand maintenance windows so IT doesn’t need to do all of its work on security products between midnight and 4 a.m. on a Saturday.

Using a visibility fabric to bolster a security deployment provides benefits in the following ways:

  • Expanded visibility of security threats, which can help secure all of the emerging threat vectors.
  • Streamlined security operations, as there will no longer be a single point of failure.
  • Advanced intelligence through the pre-processing of information before it’s passed to the inline and out-of-band tools. The pre-processing of data also improves the utilization of the security tools.

In the announcement, Gigamon highlighted a number of inline security partners, including FireEye, PaloAlto Networks, SourceFire, Imperva, RSA and TrendMicro – a veritable whose who of security today.

So, is security becoming too big a challenge? Leverage a visibility fabric to see more, and, ultimately, secure more.

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Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.
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