Certificate Authority/Browser Forum (CA/Browser Forum)

What is the Certificate Authority/Browser Forum (CA/Browser Forum)?

The Certificate Authority/Browser Forum or CA/B Forum is a voluntary group of Certificate Authorities (CAs) (i.e. Entrust, DigiCert, GlobalSign), Internet Browser vendors (i.e. Google Chrome, Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox) and other applications that define industry standards and best practices for the Certificate Authority (CA) industry and website security. The CA/B Forum began in 2005, aiming to provide greater assurance to internet users and to promote secure connections between users and websites by leveraging SSL/TLS certificates.

There are now several dedicated “working groups” (WG) within the CA/B Forum, all with different focus areas including the: Server Certificate WG, Code Signing Certificate WG, S/MIME Certificate WG and Network Security WG. Today with more than 60 members worldwide, the CA/B Forum continues to collaboratively set guidelines for issuing and managing public facing digital certificates and heightening overall security for internet transactions.

What does the CA/B Forum do?

The CA/B Forum sets technical standards and procedures called Baseline Requirements, that all public CAs must adhere to in order to issue publicly trusted digital certificates. Public CAs must undergo regular audits to ensure they comply with the Baseline Requirements and the audit results are shared with the browsers. Furthermore, public CAs must take action to remediate failed or non-compliant audit findings, often through certificate revocations.

Baseline Requirements

Currently, there are two separate sets of Baseline Requirements – one for SSL/TLS Server Certificates and one for Code Signing Certificates. The CA/B Forum is looking to release and implement new S/MIME Baselines Requirements in Q3 of 2023, which would provide the first-ever industry-wide standards for public S/MIME (or Secure Email) Certificates.

It’s important to note that Baseline Requirements are dynamic and continue to be modified and changed as the industry evolves. The forum can revise an existing Baseline Requirement or propose a new standard through a balloting and voting process. Recently passed ballots including their effective dates can be found on the CA/Forum website such as the Server Certificate Ballots for TLS/SSL Certificates and Code Signing ballots.

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PSD2 Compliance

PSD2 Compliance

This article will cover the basics of PSD2 – what it is, what it aims to do, what it regulates, and the requirements it sets forth. You’ll also learn who PSD2 impacts and how organizations can be in compliance.

What is PSD2?

PSD2 (Payment Service Providers Directive) is a European regulation that was established to make electronic payments easy and secure.

Administered by the European Commission, PSD2 aims to drive financial institutions to innovate and modernize the payments market across the European finance industry while improving the overall banking experience and security for consumers.

Why was PSD2 Introduced?

Back in 2007, when the open banking concept gained recognition in the financial market, the European Union (EU) introduced the PSD regulation to create a single payment market for the entire European Union (EU). Once PSD was introduced, many new service providers emerged into the field, engaging with small businesses and consumers to capitalize on the opportunity.

As more banks embraced open banking and the number of payment service providers increased, the EU revised the PSD regulation with a few amendments in 2013, resulting in the current PSD2. The revised directive sought to bridge a connection between existing banks, retailers, and the new fintech entrants to, in turn:

  • Promote innovation and competition in the payments market
  • Make online payments easier and safer for consumers
  • Protect consumer information against fraud

Although PSD2 was created in 2013, it did not fully go into effect immediately. Due to debates and long delays in publishing technical standards, PSD2 was gradually implemented starting in January 2018. However, PSD2 did not officially go into full effect to govern e-commerce in Europe until December 2020.

What the PSD2 Entails?

At its core, PSD2 focuses on two key areas:

  • Innovation and market competition
  • Transaction security and customer data protection

 

PSD2 Focuses on two key areas

Innovation and Market Competition

To transform the payments market, PSD2 introduced two new regulated services: Payment Initiation Services (PIS) and Account Information Services (AIS). Together, these services help create an easy and secure means for making online payments.

1. Payment Initiation Services (PIS)

Payment Initiation Services (PIS) allow consumers to authorize a third-party payment provider (TPP) to make payments online by filling in the required account information on behalf of the consumer. This provides consumers the flexibility of making online payments without having to visit a specific bank application. It also presents consumers with multiple payment options.

2. Account Information Services (AIS)

Account Information Services (AIS) involve aggregating and storing account information from customers’ multiple bank accounts at a central location. Account Information Service Providers (AISPs) are TPPs that collect customer bank data by accessing their accounts. Through AISPs, consumers can get a holistic view of their account information across different accounts in a single application, which helps them gain better control over their finances. Customers can also choose to make their payments either directly from their bank accounts or from other secure sources. This helps avoid paying the surcharges associated with card-based transactions.

To facilitate the above two services, the PSD2 regulation demands banks to open their payment services to third-party payment providers via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and provide account information. The APIs are open to any TPP recognized by PSD2 based on specific security requirements. PSD2 recognizes and regulates these TPPs to access banking data and initiate payment services.

Transaction Security and Customer Data Protection

Another major objective of PSD2 is improving the security of online payments and protecting consumer information from fraud. To achieve this goal, the European Banking Authority (EBA) developed the Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) that specify requirements around two key areas for payment service providers and banks to become PSD2 compliant:

  1. Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) for electronic payment transactions
  2. Secure Open Standards of Communication (CSC) by the payment service providers

1. Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) for Electronic Payment Transactions

Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) is one of the notable measures of PSD2. SCA is designed to serve as a reliable and effective authentication tool to secure online payments and protect consumers’ financial data from theft. According to SCA, all payment processors and digital banking providers must use multi-factor authentication (MFA), essentially two-factor authentication (2FA), for initiating payments and accessing accounts. As a result of SCA, customers must verify their identities and provide consent using a combination of authentication mechanisms like PINs, biometrics, and text messages before making payments. Implementing MFA provides an additional layer of security for financial transactions and helps prevent payment fraud.

PSD2 – Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) Requirements

To comply with Strong Customer Authentication (SCA), payment service providers must authenticate consumers based on at least two independent pieces of information. These pieces of information fall into three categories:

  • Knowledge – something customers know, such as passwords.
  • Possession – something the customers own, such as mobile phones.
  • Inherence – something the customers are, such as their fingerprint or voice patterns.

 

SCA Requirements

SCA applies to most online transactions. However, there are exemptions to SCA, which depend on the level of risk involved in the payment service provided. The exemptions were added to make low-risk transactions fast and frictionless for a better customer experience.

Some of the common SCA exemptions include:

  • Low-risk transactions where the provider’s or bank’s overall fraud rates for card payments are below predetermined thresholds.
  • Payments below 30 Euros
  • Fixed-amount subscriptions, where SCA may be applied only on the first payment.
  • Merchant-initiated transactions
  • Trusted beneficiaries
  • Phone sales, where the card details are acquired over the phone
  • Corporate payments

Dynamic Linking in SCA

Another pivotal element of SCA is dynamic linking, which involves using pre-generated authentication tokens for specific payment amounts and payees. These tokens cannot be modified or reused, otherwise the transaction gets canceled.

2. Secure Open Standards of Communication (CSC)

Common and Secure Communication standards, also referred to as CSC, are a set of standards specified by RTS to ensure that the communication between banks and regulated third-party providers (TPPs) is confidential and secured. To meet this goal, banks must develop a secure communication channel that allows TPPs to access consumer account information and initiate payments securely. Additionally, these communication channels enable banks and TPPs to verify each others’ identities when accessing information. With the implementation of CSC standards, TPPs can no longer access customer data through “screen scraping,” an act of copying information displayed on a screen.

PSD2 – Secure Open Standards of Communication (CSC) Requirements

Financial institutions typically use digital certificates for online authentication and secure communication. Considering the sensitivity of banking transactions, Common and Secure Communication (CSC) standards mandate using only eIDAS (electronic identification, authentication, and trust services) certificates issued by a Qualified Trust Service Provider (QTSP) for authenticity and data integrity.

CSC recommends using both of the following certificates in parallel for secure communication:

2A. Qualified Certificate for Website Authentication (QWAC)

A Qualified Website Authentication Certificate (QWAC) is a type of digital certificate used with Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol issued by a Qualified Trust Service Provider (QTSP) to meet the eIDAS, or the Electronic Identification and Trust Services regulation. Simply put, QWACs are used for website authentication and to protect data in peer-to-peer communication. In order to ensure the highest level of trust and assurance, QWACs are issued after extensive and stringent identity verification checks.

QWACs are used by payment service providers and banks to:

  • Verify their identities to customers and other businesses interacting with their websites
  • Encrypt data to ensure confidentiality and integrity during communication

2B. Qualified Certificate for Electronic Seals (QSealC)

A Qualified Certificate for Electronic Seals (QSealC) is a type of digital certificate used to ensure the authenticity and integrity of sensitive electronic documents and data. A QSealC is used to apply an e-seal (essentially a digital signature) using standards such as ETSI’s PAdES, CAdES or XAdES. The e-seal confirms the integrity of a document, by verifying the source and protecting its contents from tampering.

QSealCs are used by payment service providers and banks to:

  • Ensure the data actually originated from the entity associated with the certificate
  • Verify that the data has not been tampered with, ensuring data integrity
  • Provide legal evidence for communications between banks and PSPs to support non-repudiation

How Does PSD2 Differ from the Original PSD?

Following are a few significant changes that PSD2 brought to the earlier version:

  • Increased security for online transactions: Implementing MFA helps mitigate the risk of online payment fraud and better protect consumer information.
  • Access to accounts (XS2A): Regulates access to consumer accounts based on consent. Banks are required to share consumer account information and aggregate data with TPPs only after getting the customer’s consent. As mentioned earlier, banks are also expected to set up the necessary infrastructure to provide TPPs secure access to account information.
  • Preventing payment surcharges: PSD2 forbids surcharges on card payments in online transactions. Surcharges were previously applied for online payments and specific sectors like the travel and hospitality industries.
  • International payments: This refers to transactions where a payment service provider is outside the EU. These transactions were out of scope under the original PSD regulation. PSD2 provides more clarity on these transactions by providing information such as execution time and fees.

Where is PSD2 Applicable, and Who Should Comply?

PSD2 applies to all consumers within the EU member nations. While the regulation is primarily aimed at EU banks and financial service providers, companies outside the EU must comply with PSD2 when transacting in the EU. For example, US-based companies must ensure that their EU business units are PSD2 compliant. PSD2 also applies to the UK, regardless of its affiliation with the EU.

Benefits of PSD2

Benefits of PSD2 for Consumers Benefits of PSD2 for Payment Service Providers
Improved payment experience Better customer engagement
Higher transaction security Low risk of payment fraud
Confidentiality of account information Access to rich consumer data for risk assessment and creating new revenue streams
Wide range of payment options Fair market competition

End Note

The objective of PSD2 was to develop an integrated standards-based payments market, provide a level playing field for new players, and improve the customer banking experience. It plays a significant role in the banking revolution the EU is experiencing. By complying with PSD2, financial institutions can benefit from attractive growth opportunities that online banking brings, while customers can enjoy a convenient and secure banking experience.

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IPv6 Gateway

An IPv6 gateway is a device that uses the newer IPv6 (Internet Protocol version 6) standard rather than IPv4 to transmit data.

What is an IPv6 Gateway?

An IPv6 gateway transmits data over the newer IPv6 standard. IPv6 provides better security and many more available addresses for internet-connected devices.

The IPv6 protocol is different from the older IPv4 protocol, and offers improved support for device connection and transmission speeds. A gateway is a device that provides connectivity between networks, translating and routing information as it goes.

An IPv6 proxy has many of the same attributes as an IPv6 gateway. Both are implemented in either software or hardware, and both can translate between IPv6 and IPv4 addresses. One key difference between a proxy and a gateway is that a proxy conceals the network behind it and can block traffic for security reasons, while a gateway is more like a door through which data can flow.

Why Are IPv6 Gateway Capabilities Important?

The number of possible IP addresses under the IPv4 standard is a lot smaller than the possible number of addresses under the IPv6 standard. With IPv6 we have a reliable, scalable and cost-effective way to connect networks.

Since the majority of new addresses are now used up, it is no longer possible to get a new IP address. As more companies are moving away from using IPv4, it is critical to have a flexible, secure, adaptable gateway.

Traffic routing is an important function of any network, and it’s a gateway address that’s critical to the design of a network. With the IPv6 Gateway you have many of the advantages of the IPv6 Network without the disadvantages of the IPv6 Network.

How Does an IPv6 Gateway Work?

Where IPv4 uses 32-bit addresses, usually written as a set of four decimal numbers separated by dots, IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses. As a result, IPv6 addresses are much longer. They are made up of several parts.

NAT allows companies to use the same IP address for multiple users. But because of security risks that NAT presents, some companies are choosing not to use it. NAT works by translating private, unregistered IP addresses in a local network to a single public IP address. It then adds a fixed routing rule so that requests are routed from the local network directly to the NAT server.

NAT, however, doesn’t work very well for large numbers of some types of IP addresses, or in a network with a large number of devices. The best solution is to transition to IPv6, so that the network is optimized for top functionality, flexibility, and security.

How does F5 handle IPv6 gateways?

The F5 IPv6 Gateway is an advanced load-balancing appliance that’s a part of the F5 BIG-IP product family. It’s optimized for the new IPv6 Internet Protocol. The F5 IPv6 Gateway enables enterprises to simultaneously support both the current generation of IPv4 devices as well as emerging IPv6 devices, while seamlessly handling migration to IPv6.

IPv6 is designed to support future internet protocol requirements. AppViewX provides an automated workflow to ensure the organization can deploy IPv6 migration plans and meet application availability requirements without disrupting their existing networks.

AppViewX product that automates migration to F5 Big-IP: ADC+

What is IPv6 proxy?

An IPv6 proxy is a device or software that sits on the edge of a network to translate IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4) to IPv6. Both protocols are in common use today, and an IPv6 proxy ensures traffic using both can be managed.

IPv6 proxy
An IPv6 proxy intercepts traffic and translates the protocols used to ensure that Internet service providers, carriers, and organizations can connect and process all appropriate traffic, regardless of whether it uses the older Internet Protocol or the newer version introduced in 2012.
The new IPv6 standard, which many people are calling IPv8, uses a different, longer IP addressing configuration and much more besides. An IPv6 proxy has many of the same properties as an IPv6 gateway. It can be implemented in either software or hardware, and it can support IPv4 to IPv6 address translation.

A key difference between proxies and gateways is that proxies conceal the networks behind them and are often used for security reasons. Gateways, by contrast, are more like doors and allow traffic to pass through. Gateways define the edge of a network and the protocols and configurations in use, but generally do not perform any filtering, merely translating and routing information.

Why Are IPv6 Proxy Capabilities Important?

The number of possible Internet Protocol (IP) addresses under the IPv4 standard is many orders of magnitude smaller than the possible IP addresses under the IPv6 standard.

Given the explosive growth of the Internet since its origins, and the number and types of devices that can connect to it, the IPv6 standard was developed to alleviate the expected exhaustion of possible IP addresses. New IPv4 addresses are no longer available.

Although IPv6 offers a number of significant advantages, such as simplified routing and packet headers, over half of all Internet traffic still uses the IPv4 standard. As more companies migrate to IPv6, they need to ensure that they continue to meet the needs of their customers, partners, and employees who use IPv4.

Some websites that use both IPv4 and IPv6 have established mechanisms for users to access them with either protocol. To deploy a proxy, administrators need to install an application that supports two types of devices and connect to the Internet via both wired and wireless connections.

How Does an IPv6 Proxy Work?

The IPv4 standard uses 32-bit addresses in the familiar four-part configuration—000.0.00.0, for instance. IPv6 addresses are 128 bits in length, thus four times as long, in a configuration that can be abbreviated using two colons together (::) but that in full looks like 0000:0000:0000:0000:0000:ffff:cb00:7100, for instance.

ipv6 explained

IPv4 addresses can be converted into IPv6 addresses. There is no such thing as “backwards translation” from IPv4 to IPv6. With IPv6, IPv4 traffic is intercepted and translated before being forwarded on to IPv6 servers. Network address translation (NAT) is one method that has extended the life of IPv4 while service providers and organizations gradually shift to the new standard, usually through a period of using both in parallel.

NAT is used to translate private, unregistered IP addresses on a local network to one single public IP address which can connect to the Internet. In this way, an IPv6 proxy forwards packets from an IPv6 network to an IPv4 network, and vice versa.

How Does F5 Handle IPv6 Proxies?

The F5 BIG-IP platform operates as a full proxy server, sitting between clients and a server to manage requests and, sometimes, responses. Because it runs directly on Amazon VPC instances, it can function as a native IPv4-to-IPv6 gateway, managing application delivery in both networking topologies.

The F5 BIG-IP® Local Traffic Manager (LTM) provides IPv6 Gateway Services by passing IPv6 traffic through the device, and using a tunnel to connect. AppViewX ADC+ allows organizations to implement IPv6 migration plans and meet application availability requirements without disrupting current network infrastructures.

AppViewX product that automates F5 Big-IP LTM changes: ADC+

Infrastructure as Code

The Infrastructure as Code approach (IaC) relies on the use of repeatable configuration files to generate consistent deployment environments for CI/CD development.

What is Infrastructure as Code?

Infrastructure as code is about the provisioning and managing of infrastructure, including hardware, virtual resources, platforms, containers, and topologies. It’s about how to make these things work together through declarative definitions—code—rather than the more traditional means of configuration, such as manual provisioning or the use of configuration tools.

You don’t need to install and configure a whole suite of tools to build and deploy an application. IaC separates the software that makes up your app from the physical systems that run it. You can store and share configuration, policies, and scripts, and you can even apply them like code.

Continuous deployment is an approach that’s been around for a long time and has taken hold in the development world but not in IT ops. With continuous deployment, you can create the same levels of automation, repeatability, and confidence when building and operating your infrastructure that you do with source code. An IaC approach ensures that infrastructure is built, tested, and maintained in a consistent and repeatable manner. This consistency provides the reliability necessary to support continuous integration, delivery, and deployment.

Why Is Infrastructure as Code Important?

The ability to treat infrastructure as code allows you to automate and manage infrastructure to achieve rapid, reliable, secure application deployment. This is accomplished through automation, visibility, and security, and with less manual effort and risks of human error and security vulnerabilities. The configurable aspects of the system makes it more amenable for deployment on other systems that are similarly configured and also makes it easier to deploy.

In this way, it reduces the challenges of moving from a data center to the cloud or from one cloud to another. IaC also enables agile development and CI/CD by ensuring that your environment is exactly the same, so it’s consistent over time, and that your test and production environments are the same.

How does Infrastructure as Code work?

Configuring infrastructure as code can be accomplished either by imperative approaches that specify instructions (without detailing the outcome) or declarative approaches that specify the desired configuration outcome (without detailing how to get there, which can be based on pre-existing workflows and templates). The difference can be compared to asking for a sandwich and the sandwich maker to know which steps to take and in what order (declarative)—or specifically specifying each step required to make it (imperative).

IaC automation is the process of building systems that automate everything from installation to configuration to monitoring to the provisioning and the infrastructure and operations management of cloud-based applications.

How does Appviewx partner F5 handle Infrastructure as Code?

You can treat the F5 BIG-IP platform “as code” with its own plug-ins or AS3 extensions. The F5 Automation Toolchain includes AS3 and F5 Declarative Onboarding extensions. Apache Struts is a popular enterprise framework for building web applications, supporting many languages such as Java, Groovy, PHP, Ruby, Perl, Python, and others. No, that’s not how it works! If you enable declarative L–L3 onboarding, the extensions will be downloaded to the device as well. This is only applicable for the Big-IP platform.

AppViewX product that automates F5 Big-IP changes with AS3/Declarative Onboarding Extensions: ADC+

Hypervisor

What is a hypervisor?

A hypervisor is software that creates and runs virtual machines, which are software emulations of a computing hardware environment.

Some people use hypervisors to isolate and manage VMs. It’s called a virtual machine monitor (VMM). Virtual machines allow administrators to have a dedicated machine for every service they need to run. Small software layer is the most important component of virtualization technology. It includes storage, desktop, operating system, and application virtualization.

Hypervisors also make server virtualization possible by allowing different operating systems to run separate applications on a single server while still using the same physical hardware resources. Cloud computing is the foundation of modern IT infrastructure. It enables scalability, security, and management of global IT infrastructure.

How do hypervisors work?

A hypervisor creates a virtualization layer that runs between the operating system and the server hardware, rather than between the operating system and the application.

They make a copy of the operating system, or OS, that you want to run on another machine. Then they make a copy of any applications, or programs, that you want to run on the new machine. By concealing the actual hardware resources of the physical server from the partitioned VMs, the hypervisor implies a common pool of shared resources, including CPU, storage, and memory, that can be shared among the guest VMs.

Hypervisors are the programs that take control of a computer and schedule when and how VMs use the resources of the physical machine, allowing each VM to operate independently. Hypervisors enable the function of virtual machines, allowing them to function independently of the physical hardware that houses them. Hypervisors also enable guests to run their own operating system, so you can run Linux, Windows or Mac OSX within a single computer.

What are the different types of hypervisors?

Hypervisors were developed by IBM to make use of its mainframe systems and later evolved into a key component of the hardware virtualization that was added to PCs and servers. VMware makes Linux and Unix systems better by providing more features and options for managing costs. Today’s hypervisors are available in two primary types.

Bare metal hypervisors, also known as type 1 hypervisors, are used for bare metal hosting. They run directly on a client’s computer without using an operating system. They require a separate machine to manage and control the virtual environment. Highly secured virtualization systems only work if the operating system (OS) running inside the hypervisor has direct access to the physical hardware with nothing in between that could be compromised in an attack. There is a lot more that is possible with containers than there is with VMs. Hypervisor technology offers important enterprise benefits like improved data protection, data sovereignty, and increased virtual machine density.

hypervisor types

As well as servers, Type 1 hypervisors are able to virtualize desktop operating systems. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure is the foundation of the VDI solution, which allows you to access Windows or Linux desktop environments that are running inside virtual machines on a central server. Through a connection broker, the hypervisor assigns a virtual desktop from a pool to a single user who accesses it over the network, enabling remote work from any device. You can use Citrix VDI solutions to deliver full-functionality virtual desktops, which will give you the functionality of a physical desktop from either an on-premises server or the cloud.

Type 2 hypervisors, also called hosted hypervisors, run as an application within an operating system. A virtual machine requires the host operating system to perform its function like any other application. It does not have to run in the same memory segment, which allows for the separation of the guest and the host. Multiple Type 2 hypervisors can run on top of a single host operating system, and each hypervisor may itself have multiple operating systems. Virtualization technology is the ideal solution for a variety of businesses, including banking, insurance, manufacturing, construction, retail, education, transportation, healthcare, and government.

hypervisor

Benefits of hypervisors

Hypervisors deliver a number of benefits to the datacenter, including:

Increased hardware efficiency: A virtualization host provides a physical computing system with the ability to run multiple guest operating systems (guests) alongside one another. This increase in utilization vastly expands the capabilities of the hardware and improves the efficiency of the equipment.

Enhanced portability: By isolating VMs from the underlying host hardware, hypervisors make them independent of, as well as invisible to, one another. This in turn makes live migration of virtual machines possible, enabling the move or migration of VMs between different physical machines and remote virtualized servers without stopping them, which enables fail-over and load balancing.

Improved security: Virtual machines run on the same host computer, but are logically isolated from each other, and therefore have no dependence on other virtual machines. Any crashes, attacks, or malware on one VM will not affect others. Hypervisors are extremely secure.

Hybrid IT

What is Hybrid IT?

A hybrid enterprise computing approach combines enterprise IT infrastructure with public cloud services for various enterprise workloads and data needs. Many organizations are realizing that they must adopt a hybrid IT approach to deal with this reality. As business becomes increasingly digital and cloud technologies continue to grow at a rapid rate. So many organizations have embraced the cloud, but not all organizations can jump fully into the cloud. They’re using hybrid IT to support specific business outcomes.

hybrid IT

Why hybrid IT?

There are many reasons for choosing to keep things in-house, including cost, security, and so on. It’s not easy for any business to run in the public cloud. But, it makes perfect sense for them to leverage this public cloud for those parts of their operations that don’t make sense for their on-premises infrastructure.

With hybrid IT, businesses can use the cloud to supplement their on-premises resources, getting much-needed scale and agility while not investing in additional capital infrastructure or having to get rid of legacy investments. Hybrid IT also allows organizations to choose where they store their data, depending on their preference or regulatory and compliance requirements.

hybrid it -hybrid cloud - multi-cloud

Organizations may seek a hybrid IT approach if:

  • Regulations or security concerns require certain resources to reside on-premises
  • They’re still getting value out of their existing IT infrastructure
  • They want or need to maintain centralized IT control
  • They have legacy systems that can’t run in the cloud
  • They’re not ready to go fully cloud or are just starting to try out cloud services
  • Unlike hybrid cloud, the in-house and cloud resources in a hybrid IT environment are not integrated to work together as one.

Challenges of hybrid IT

While it’s an appealing option, it can bring new challenges, especially if you’re not sure which platform you should use for your software solutions. In an environment where workloads, apps, and data are spread out across multiple physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructures, the use of hybrid IT inevitably makes things more complicated. It’s critical that IT organizations maintain the visibility, control, and security of their hybrid IT environments.

Hardware Virtualization

What is hardware virtualization?

Hardware-based virtualization is used to create virtual versions of physical desktops and operating systems. For example, virtual Machine Manager is a technology used in server consolidation to improve resource usage by virtual machines. Hardware virtualization offers many benefits, such as more significant performance and lower costs.

How does hardware virtualization differ from virtualization?

Virtualization technology enables administrators to distribute resources and use infrastructure more efficiently across the enterprise. For example, virtualization is the technology that enables cloud computing by allowing different computers to access a shared pool of resources.

Virtualization technology is used in many system layers to consolidate workloads and make them more scalable and flexible. Virtualization is a technology that allows companies to use underused physical hardware efficiently. Powerful servers can use all the resources they need to perform effectively. In addition, they’re more efficient than cheaper servers because they don’t have to share them with others.

What are the components of hardware virtualization?

Hardware virtualization is structured in layers consisting of the following components:

  • The software layer, or hypervisor, runs on top of the hardware layer and creates a guest operating system. This is the hardware on which virtualization occurs. It’s the computer hardware that the operating system runs on. An x86-based system with one or more CPUs is required to run all supported guest operating systems.
  • Hypervisors create a virtualization layer that runs between the OS and the server hardware, allowing many instances of an operating system or different operating systems to run parallel on a single machine. Hypervisors are applications that run on a computer and manage virtual machines. They allow you to run multiple operating systems on a single physical computer.
  • Virtual machines are software emulations of a computing hardware environment and provide the functionalities of a physical computer. Virtual machines consist of virtual hardware, a guest operating system, and guest software or applications.

How does hardware virtualization work?

Hardware virtualization enables a single physical machine to function like multiple machines by creating simulated environments.

The physical host operates a hypervisor software program that creates an abstraction layer between the software and hardware and manages the shared physical hardware resources between the guest and host operating systems.

This lets you virtualize all your operating systems and applications, whether Windows Server 2012, Mac OS X Server, Linux, or Windows Vista, on a single physical machine. This VM is the most powerful of the VMs. This is because it uses the resources of the physical host, including CPU, memory, and storage.

In other words, hardware virtualization is the virtualization of servers. Hardware virtualization allows the total capacity of a physical machine to be used and, by isolating VMs from one another, to protect against malware.

What are the different types of hardware virtualization?

Full virtualization

The hardware architecture is completely simulated in full virtualization, allowing you to run an unmodified guest operating system in isolation. In addition, a data abstraction layer enables virtual machines to run on a shared infrastructure, providing them with the isolation and flexibility required for efficient, economical, and secure deployment.

The guest operating system is unaware that it is running in a virtualized environment, so the host operating system virtualizes hardware to allow the guest to issue commands to what it thinks is real hardware.

These are just simulated devices created by the host, and the hypervisor translates all OS calls. Virtualization isolates VMs from one another and the host OS and enables them to run anywhere. You can move VMs between hosts and even different systems without reconfiguring the VM itself.

Paravirtualization

In paravirtualization, the source code of an operating system is modified to run on top of a virtual machine monitor. This is the guest’s operating system that communicates through calls to the APIs provided by the hypervisor (known as hypercalls). In this scenario, the guest OS is aware that it is a guest OS in a virtual machine environment and receives information about other operating systems on the same physical hardware, enabling them to share resources rather than emulate an entire hardware environment. The guest OS communicates directly to the hypervisor in paravirtualization, improving performance and efficiency.

Operating system-level virtualization

Managed desktops take away a big chunk of work from the IT department, as the DaaS provider maintains and updates this cloud-based infrastructure. Downtime is minimized with a managed desktop solution, and help desk calls are considerably lowered as resource demand does not overstress end-user devices.

System-level virtualization

A managed desktop gives your organization a reliable, secure, and cost-effective way to deploy temporary workers. This system will give you total control over who can see your online business. In addition, it delivers IT complete control over what resources employees need to use.

Hardware-assisted virtualization

In virtual machine-based hypervisors, the computer’s hardware provides architectural support for the hypervisor. The combination of hardware and software allows different guest operating systems to run in isolation, preventing potentially harmful instructions from being executed directly on the host machine. Physical components include the host processors, which perform optimizations for virtualization.

Solutions for hardware virtualization must:

  • Consolidate multiple VMs onto a physical server
  • Reduce the number of separate disk images to be managed
  • Schedule zero downtime maintenance by live migrating VMs
  • Assure availability of VMs by using high availability to configure policies that restart VMs on another server in case one fails
  • Increase portability of VM images

Edge Security

What is edge security?

Edge security is a type of enterprise security for corporate resources that are no longer within a centralized data center’s protective boundary. Instead, it protects users and apps at the farthest reaches of a company’s network, where sensitive data is highly vulnerable to threats.

What is edge computing?

Computing power is shifting toward “edge computing,” in which corporate resources are delivered via “edge” devices such as those found in the cloud. When we talk about edge computing, we’re talking about the processing and distribution of apps and data on edge, or in other words, where data is created and processed.

Edge computing allows for more efficient processes while keeping data away from the public network, which means there is less danger of having the data fall into the wrong hands. Data is stored and processed locally in the cloud, making it easy to deliver applications to customers and employees.

Edge Computing

Edge computing gives enterprise users access to cloud and SaaS applications, regardless of where the endpoint is located. It’s not just about security anymore. A few years ago, computing power was so far out of reach that companies had to compromise on performance and efficiency to fit it into their budgets. Today, we have edge computing, and companies no longer need to compromise.
It provides a distributed, opens IT architecture that enables real-time computing for global and remote workforces—and that powers increasingly important Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. As a result, intelligent applications and IoT devices can instantly respond to data, and businesses can deliver the promise of fast, reliable access to apps and data.

What are the challenges of edge computing—and how does edge security help?

Edge computing offers many benefits for businesses and increases the risks of cybersecurity attacks entering the corporate network. Many Internet-connected devices provide internet access, such as smart light bulbs, thermostats, and coffee makers. This makes them highly vulnerable to security breaches such as DDoS attacks and phishing attempts.

IT no longer has any centralized control, so there’s no way it can see what’s going on. In addition, cybercriminals have a growing ability to attack and compromise mobile and IoT devices, making it essential to protect the network.

Edge security solves this problem by providing a built-in security stack to protect against zero-day threats, malware, and other vulnerabilities at the point of access. Rather than backhauling internet traffic over a WAN network to guard against the perils of internet connectivity, companies can safely steer traffic to the nearest point of access.

What are the components of edge security?

Effective edge security consists of several critical components:

  1. Edge device security to protect endpoints

Edge computing devices can come in many shapes and sizes. From micro-data centers at remote locations to sensors, cash registers, and routers that demand fast local processing as part of the vast Web of Internet of Things devices, these endpoints are everywhere. The rapid shift to hybrid work models in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic introduced millions of distributed remote offices and BYOD devices, from laptops to smartphones to tablets, for IT departments to manage. Edge devices are typically very inexpensive, making them popular with hobbyists who want to build affordable projects or small businesses that may not require the same level of security.

IT management needs a user interface to increase the efficiency of its information-sharing system. Because they are often small and physically exposed, a device located at the edge of the network is also at risk of being stolen. Some strategies designed to give you an advantage can expose you to more attack risk.
Edge devices are connected to the enterprise network and are used for accessing data, apps, and the Internet. A good example is a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. A secure single sign-on system is automated, and your access to company data is controlled by defined access rights to prevent unauthorized users from accessing data.

  1. Cloud security to protect data at the edge

Edge device security is essential, but cloud security is critical. While cloud storage and analysis remain the preferred location for storing and analyzing data, the sheer volume of data generated by devices connected to the Internet requires much more processing power.

Edge computing by design moves computing and storage resources closer to the sources of data. To manage the load, edge-based computation moves data from the edge to the cloud, especially from the cloud back to the edge, much more vulnerable to attacks. There’s a growing trend toward shifting to the cloud in the healthcare industry. However, enterprises need to comply with strict security policies for sensitive data.

Edge security is an advanced form of cloud edge security that prioritizes the most critical security fundamentals, including encryption, for data stored locally and in transit between the network core and edge computing devices.

  1. Network edge security to protect internet access

The shift to the network edge means users will need direct internet access to cloud and SaaS applications. But as this connectivity improves the employee experience, it also increases the risk of malicious activity moving from the Internet into the corporate network.

Network edge security allows organizations to use the Internet as a trusted method for connecting to their internal resources to maintain data privacy and integrity. This is a security technology that organizations use to ensure that people and systems have access without compromising performance.

Examples of network edge security solutions include web filtering, anti-malware, intrusion prevention systems, and next-generation firewalls that permit or deny traffic based on IP addresses—functions often built into the organization’s SD-WAN.

What does edge computing security look like today?

To address the need for a cybersecurity model that reflects these new security requirements, many organizations are turning to Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), which converges SD-WAN capabilities with network security functions as a cloud-delivered service.

The SASE framework includes CASB, FWaaS, and zero-trust security capabilities. These capabilities are available in a single cloud-delivered service model that simplifies IT. If you want to know how to leverage the benefits of software-defined storage, then read SASE Architecture. You’ll learn how SASE allows companies to bring networking and security back to the cloud where the applications and data are located, ensuring secure access no matter where the device is.

In this age of mobile devices and cloud services, securing our applications and data is essential to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands or being used maliciously.

AppViewX solutions for edge security

  • Secure internet access to protect all users and applications, in any location, without limiting their abilities to receive critical information.
  • Next-generation WAN edge solutions for deep visibility and cloud-based network management and security management through a single pane of glass.

AppViewX product that automates, orchestrates and enables self-service capabilities for ultra-secure application access and change management: ADC+

Device Security

What is device security?

Hackers constantly attack the devices we use to access the Internet. As a result, the security of our online information needs to be maintained. With the explosion of IoT and the growing use of mobile phones and other mobile devices, it’s more important to understand device security.

In this age of digital threats, to defend against modern cyber-attacks, a device security strategy must be multilayered, with multiple security solutions working in tandem with one another and focused on a consistent set of processes.

Finally, end-users and IT staff must be aligned in best practices for security, such as keeping software updated and using the right gateways to access applications remotely.

What does device security include?

Device security has three fundamental components.

People: Security experts — whether in-house or at a cloud service provider — are the core of device security. They decide what tools and controls are implemented and monitor environments for anomalies and threats. Therefore, the ability to educate end-users on how to avoid sensitive data leakage and how to conduct their jobs remotely safely and securely is extremely important.

Processes: Device security is about maintaining a good security policy and following best practices to keep users’ devices safe. Malware and ransomware are becoming more and more prevalent. You need to know how to identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover from malware and ransomware.

Technologies: There are many solutions available for a security. Most are technical, some are manual, and many are in-between. Websites, applications, and their data are often vulnerable to attacks by hackers, malware, or other malicious actors. As technology advances, the exact mix of tools changes. For instance, secure internet access might replace a traditional virtual private network (VPN).

Why is device security important?

Data breaches have become increasingly expensive, and modern cybersecurity is the only effective way to protect against them. Device security mitigates the risks of unauthorized access, unclosed vulnerabilities, and malicious traffic and applications. Remote work is becoming the norm in offices and outside of them. As a result, employees need to protect devices to keep work secure and safe. In addition, applications are accessed from various locations and mobile devices over the internet. When organizations are not protected from apps and their access modes, they are exposed to significant risks from hackers and cybercriminals.

What are the main types of device security?

Types of Device Security

Several main subcategories of device security must be integrated into any overarching cybersecurity strategy, including but not limited to:

Network security

This is the protection of networks against the entry and spread of threats. As a result, cloud security has been a fast-growing trend in the last few years. The secure access service edge (SASE) is an essential model for network security, as it combines the features of a software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) with a variety of controls such as secure web gateways (SWGs) and cloud application security brokers.

Application security

Application security means everything from proper coding and software engineering practices to ensuring that end users only see what they are supposed to. Much of this work happens during development. This means that we’re testing new features during this phase. In addition, updates to the software are essential to thwarting cyberattacks.

Cloud security

Cloud security consists of both the mechanisms for protecting applications and securing their access. There are mechanisms in the latter category in the remote work environment that include firewalls, SWGs, malware defense, sandboxes, and more. In addition, cloud service providers handle many app-specific security controls on their end simultaneously.

Data security

For the most part, the encryption, key management, and tokenization measures included in data security do not include the sensitive information and personal data you want to protect. Access controls like multi-factor authentication (MFA), single sign-on, and data loss prevention (DLP) solutions are also relevant to this mobile device security subcategory.

Endpoint security

Endpoint security is the process of protecting computers and mobile devices from being hacked or maliciously altered. It’s used to ensure that sensitive data stored on devices isn’t exposed or accessed by an attacker. IT managers need to be aware of how an end-user’s activities are being tracked on corporate servers and how this data is used for fraud or other purposes that might not be in the organization’s best interests.

Mobile device management

Mobile device management helps IT with mobile device security plans. It’s a good idea to have these tools in place. This type of device security is significant in organizations where data, files, and applications are accessed from personal devices.

What are the biggest device security threats?

Device security threats are numerous, but a few deserve particular attention.

  • Malware: Malware is any malicious software. It may be designed to harvest and exfiltrate data, make an operating system unusable, or disrupt the target device. These types of malware are referred to as subtypes, such as spyware, trojans, worms, viruses, and ransomware.
  • Ransomware: Though it’s existed for years, ransomware has become more prevalent over time as digital currencies make it easier for cyberattack perpetrators to receive payments. Ransomware is malware that uses encryption to hold your data for ransom. It’s like a holdup, but with no gun or violence involved.
  • Phishing: Phishing is a social engineering technique that helps attackers take control of victims’ computers by tricking them into visiting a malicious website. This usually occurs via email but may also be a text message.

In remote work environments, the following three security risks are more pressing because IT does not have direct control over a defined network perimeter or user behaviors:

Cloud-based and network-aware appliances (CAAs), WAFs, multi-factor authentication (MFA), and zero-trust network access (ZTNA) have all become necessary.

AppViewX solutions for device security

Device security is becoming increasingly complex because cloud applications and remote work setups are becoming more common. AppViewX offers multiple device security solutions designed for remote and on-site work environments. These solutions help you improve your access to applications.

  • Automated integrated workflows: Service catalog integrated to run and manage LTM, GTM, WAF etc., along with DDI, ITSM etc. delivers additional capabilities to protect access to SaaS and cloud applications.
  • CVE reporting: Analytics for CVE helps proactively detect and contain threats, protecting users and sensitive data.
  • RBAC: Allows limited access control, web-filtering, and single sign-on for many applications.

Challenges In Cloud Computing

  • Limited visibility: Lack of visibility into network and security operations is one of the major security threats of cloud computing. The organizations, in exchange for on-demand cloud computing services and scalability, allow cloud service providers to manage portions of their technology infrastructure and data security. This shared responsibility model curtails the organization’s visibility in network and security operations.
  • Multi-tenancy: In a multi-tenancy cloud deployment environment, the responsibilities over aspects of privacy and security are shared between cloud service providers and tenants, which might result in ambiguity. This exposes potential security risks of critical security set-ups if left unguarded.
  • Unregulated access to and from anywhere: Cloud computing makes sharing and accessing of data easy and convenient. This vast exposure and easy accessibility of data also lead to it potentially being distributed among unauthorized users and malicious attackers. Storing data in virtual shared spaces makes data monitoring and handling challenging and also fuels the risks of data leaks if improperly managed.
  • Compliance: Data privacy is a growing security concern worldwide, hence why compliance regulations and industry standards like GDPR, CCPA, PCI DSS, and HIPAA are strict and mandatory for organizations. To meet the compliance requirements, it is crucial to monitor who can access the data and what they can do with that access permission. Cloud-native systems allow a large-scale user base to access data from anywhere. Failure to meet compliance standards and lack of access controls across networks can lead to weaknesses in the security posture.
  • Misconfiguration: Cloud misconfiguration refers to any security gaps or errors that can expose your network environment to major security risks or unplanned downtime events. Some of the most common cloud misconfigurations include unrestricted inbound and outbound ports, inefficient management of secrets like API keys, encryption keys, and admin credentials, insecure backups, and lack of access log monitoring.
  • Software vulnerabilities: Weak authentication and identity management, insufficient security tools, and using old and weak software versions and deprecated protocols can lead to diminished cyber defense against potent security risks.
  • Lack of Multifactor Authentication (MFA): Multifactor Authentication is a core component of Identity and Access Management (IAM), where added layers of extensive verification procedures help in minimizing the risks of possible security breaches. Failing to implement MFA can result in cyberattacks like man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks, data breaches, and unauthorized access to the corporate networks.
  • Insufficiently segmented virtual networks: Virtual network segmentation helps in bolstering the overall security policy of the organization by granting access privileges to only those who need it, and ensuring security against cyberattacks and improved network performance. Lack of network segmentation can be advantageous to attackers in both privilege escalation and post-exploitation phase.