Cloud Platforms Combine Security, Operations for Efficiency

A new generation of cybersecurity solutions is gaining attention for merging corporate networks with security tools like malware protection into one system that can be centrally managed. Akamai, Cisco, Cloudflare, Zscaler, Palo Alto Networks and others have begun offering consolidated cybersecurity platforms that span IT, operations and security, leveraging resources and theoretically reducing costs through shared expenses. Having all eyes on traffic and workloads via a single framework may also make it possible for chief information officers and IT personnel to be more effective and focused.

“Until recently, security tools like virtual firewalls and the ‘zero-trust approach’ weren’t knitted together into a single platform alongside an Internet-based corporate network,” writes The Wall Street Journal, explaining “the zero-trust approach treats any user, device or application as a potential threat, requiring repeated verification of identities and abilities to access data.”

Combining these capabilities lets CIOs and information technology staff to handle a large chunk of IT and cybersecurity duties — from software updates to network security — in one place. “Implementing this cloud-based networking approach was the third most commonly cited technology investment, after artificial intelligence and distributed cloud, according to a survey of CIOs conducted by Gartner in 2021,” WSJ reports.

Akamai Connected Cloud is a massively distributed edge and cloud platform from Akamai Technologies that combines cloud computing, security, and content delivery. Akamai is also augmenting its existing 11 cloud computing server sites with three new enterprise-scale offerings, set to go live in Q2.

The new sites “will contain all of the cloud computing services acquired from Linode, the developer-friendly cloud infrastructure provider Akamai acquired in 2022” and  “become the template for 10 additional core sites Akamai plans to roll out across the globe throughout the year,” according to Help Net Security.

Cisco Full-Stack Observability security solution is adding what the company calls “industry-first Business Risk Observability” to protect identity, networks and applications, based in part on findings from Cisco’s first-ever Cybersecurity Readiness Index.

In an investor announcement, Cisco says it is doubling down “on Frictionless Security to Protect Hybrid Work and Multi-Cloud Environments.” The company also expanded on its Industrial IoT Operations Dashboard to securely automate and manage assets from anywhere. Added features include Cisco ThousandEyes monitoring.

Cloudflare “last month added network connection and email security capabilities to its cybersecurity platform to more holistically cover network and security functions,” WSJ says, noting Palo Alto Networks in 2021 debuted a similar platform on a 5G network.

Meanwhile Zscaler, which WSJ says “acts as a ‘cloud switchboard’ to route traffic to the cloud” while simultaneously handling cloud cybersecurity, this week announced its intent to buy Canonic Security, a SaaS application security platform.

Standardizing multiple functions on a single process or tool is an effective way to drive down costs, one source told WSJ, which notes that “older technology can be upgraded to lay the groundwork for implementing a new platform” but care must be taken not to disrupt the existing network.

Cloud Computing Market Worth $1,240.9 Billion by 2027, Yahoo Finance, 2/17/23
Google Cloud ‘Removing Barriers to Entry’ with New Pricing, CRN, 2/15/23
Palo Alto Networks Goes “All-In” with New Cloud Infrastructure Investment in Switzerland, PR Newswire, 2/16/23

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