Virtualization is sometimes seen as a threat to makers of specialized hardware, but for encryption vendor Certes Networks, going virtual has opened up a new universe of possibilities for its network security expertise.
With its June release of CryptoFlow Solutions, Certes Networks Inc. has taken a deep dive into the NFV pool, producing a software-defined encryption solution that can protect any IT asset, including mobile devices, over a mixture of physical, virtual, and cloud environments.
The new software-based approach retains a core value of Certes' encryption -- the ability for the enterprise user to control the encryption keys and policies, says CMO Adam Boone. That approach enables an IT department, which will typically buy the encryption capabilities from a service provider, to implement and manage their own security.
Certes had sold hardware-based encryption for years but first developed its virtual offering in 2012, for use in the cloud to protect data moving into and out of those environments, Boone says. The company soon found, however, that makers of devices such as gateways, switches, and load balancers, were interested in bundling in the Certes software.
The move to a software-based solution proved timely in another respect: Enterprise customers were increasingly trying to manage more complex environments to include not only a mesh of network endpoints, but also a growing number of mobile devices from which their employees wanted to be able to access corporate data that needed to be secured.
"A single point-to-point encryption process was no longer adequate," Boone says.
The problem service providers and their enterprise customers face is that security systems today are very fragmented, with each portion of the network having its own different approach, as shown below.
"Compounding that problem is the fact that individual apps have their own security as well -- think of your email system," Boone adds. "It becomes an exponentially complex problem."
That complexity undermines the ability of enterprises and service providers to stay on top of the ever-changing world of network threats, he says.
What Certes says CryptoFlow Solutions can do is provide a single point of control for security managers. Security policy and management of security keys is decoupled from network management and control. The security manager for the enterprise can set policies for its data per application, device network, user, user group or virtual private network (VPN) group, and that policy and the necessary keys are pushed out to all appropriate enforcement points.
CryptoFlow enables a new generation of VPNs that are multi-point and don't require tunnels. They can be auto-configured on a per application basis, with flexible management of both the defining policies and the supporting keys and can support any device, any network and any cloud, Boone says.
Knowing that bring-your-own-device strategies are expanding, Certes is adding support for IoS-based Apple devices by year's end and Android devices in early 2015.
CryptoFlow was demonstrated live at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE), where it was part of an ETSI-approved NFV Proof of Concept sponsored by CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL). The demo also included orchestration by Cyan Inc. , physical devices and virtual software from RAD Data Communications Ltd. , and virtual firewalls from Fortinet Inc. (See NFV Gets Practical at BTE.)
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading