Home Security Ixia helps you peer into the cloud

Ixia's products claim to provide continuous security assessment and let you keep tabs on cloud traffic – even that flowing between virtualised instances.

Ixia started as an IT testing organisation, Ixia ANZ general manager Ardy Sharifnia said, but widened its scope through a series of acquisitions, including that of BreakingPoint.

This allowed it to go beyond penetration testing, to measuring the resilience and uptime of an organisation's security infrastructure.

For example, BreakingPoint's appliance — now available in cloud native form as BreakingPoint Cloud — can simulate various Internet-based attacks, revealing vulnerabilities in the targeted system. It might show that a particular firewall is only able to sustain 8Gbps throughput instead of the claimed 10Gbps.

Ixia also provides visibility via network packet brokers, which now extend to cloud traffic.

As their infrastructure grows, organisations tend to lose visibility of their networks, especially of east-west traffic (between instances), explained Sharfina.

A recent survey sponsored by Ixia found that visibility and security were key concerns for respondents, and that 88% had experienced business issues due to a lack of visibility into public clouds.

A network packet broker provides a "virtual tap" revealing network traffic so that any unapproved packets can be addressed.

"This is a more efficient, more secure, more reliable process," he said.

It can be used when troubleshooting application performance, dealing with network performance and application outages, and investigating security issues.

Customer priorities include controlling the security of data and applications, meeting compliance requirements, and increasing cloud management expertise.

Where organisations once used span ports to mirror all the traffic flowing through switches, the current "best practice" is to add a network packet broker after the routers and switches, Sharifnia said.

And in cloud environments, a virtual packet broker should be used – Ixia's is available within AWS, Azure and other public clouds, providing visibility of traffic.

There is "genuine concern" in the market about cloud data security, and organisations need to do what they can to minimise the risks, he advised.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.


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