Today, companies migrate applications and infrastructures primarily in software-defined environments to reduce costs and increase scalability, but security has also become a driver of this migration.
One of the biggest weaknesses that malicious hackers can take advantage of is the growing complexity of managing rigid network architectures. In addition, there is outdated security infrastructure as well as inconsistencies in security policies and enforcement mechanisms. Security teams are under tremendous pressure to minimize the risks associated with hyper-connectivity, distributed resources, and rapidly developing technology. The result is less transparency, which gives attackers more chances to steal critical data. The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) is intended to provide a better overview here.
Decoupling data processing from the physical infrastructure should make the storage and processing capacity of existing servers more usable. This in turn can reduce resource consumption and costs.
Virtualized platforms also create a level of automation that allows application delivery to be accelerated compared to traditional IT environments. The scalability of software-defined infrastructures also promotes agile working methods.
With regard to IT security, IT teams can use SDDC to eliminate isolated and redundant security investments and establish a consistent set of data governance guidelines and enforcement mechanisms. The main advantages are:
agile and granular security solutions: Traditional solutions often rely on relatively general rules that are based on physical segmentation and the grouping of machines. In contrast, an SDDC allows microsegmentation, which can be broken down to the level of individual virtual machines (VMs), containers or even services. This allows policies to be defined that relate to the attributes of a specific workload of a virtual machine. Instead of IP address, port or protocol, attributes such as running applications can serve as the basis for security guidelines. For example, if a virtual machine moves from a private data center to the public cloud, the same policy is maintained.
scalable security: The purpose and behavior of virtual machines that support an application can become more transparent through SDDC. Guest VM activity can be used to identify unusual behavior or function calls. If someone manipulates the process of a machine within the application level, for example a medical record system, and communicates something other than what is stated in the so-called manifest, this is a clear signal for malicious behavior. A manifest is a file provided by the VM, which summarizes the normal functions and services of a machine.
Enforce policies flexibly: Many companies that are currently converting to an SDDC are also implementing automated response mechanisms on this train. IT security officers can begin with manual enforcement of policies and then gradually implement automated enforcement triggers. An SDDC is thus increasingly able to provide policy enforcement and automated response at the application, database and web level.
simplified compliance: The increasing complexity of the compliance landscape is one of the key factors for the introduction of software-defined environments. The approach enables continuous visibility of workloads across all clouds. This can reduce compliance challenges and at the same time improve data management. This makes it easier to meet increasing requirements for data sovereignty and data protection.
Least privilege approach: SDDC can also support authentication and secure communication related to a zero trust model. For this purpose, a least privilege principle with scalable, manufacturer-independent security services is implemented. The approach relieves the administrative burden by using policy restrictions to prevent the theft of access data. Security products such as malware prevention, intrusion prevention systems (IPSs) and web application firewalls (WAF) can be chained to ensure greater consistency in the identification and isolation of compromised applications.
DevOps security: IT provision is changing to a DevOps approach that relies heavily on the cloud infrastructure for application development with agile methodology. Organizations can add third-party security products and services that are adaptable to hybrid and multi-cloud environments. An SDDC can support security solutions, software vulnerability analysis, file integrity monitoring, application whitelisting, workload firewall management, configuration security monitoring, intrusion prevention, malware prevention, multi-factor authentication, server access management and network traffic detection by DevOps Teams can use deployment code.
One of the biggest challenges that hinder the rapid rollout of SDDC is the heterogeneity of today’s software environments. A smooth transition to SDDC requires secure connectivity and seamless management of the network and security infrastructure, regardless of whether it’s in a private cloud, a public cloud, or a hybrid architecture. Simplification is the key to avoiding disruptions and minimizing risks. The aim is to make the provision and management of the network infrastructure less complex and to achieve intelligent network automation.
A company’s available resources and existing practices also need to be considered. An SDDC strategy must be coordinated with the respective industry and with software developers and security experts. Consistent management and security frameworks for all applications help simplify implementation. Management solutions that have a technology and service partner ecosystem can help build a seamless management and security environment across public and private cloud resources.
Software-defined data centers can not only promote the agility of companies, but can also provide more security. Centralized management from a console makes it easier to identify threats. In addition, guidelines can be quickly applied to the entire infrastructure. Nevertheless, the security guidelines remain flexible and scalable. This promotes the use of agile methods, such as DevOps, and increases transparency for better compliance. (sb)