Blog, Cetus Solutions, IT Solutions, Our Upcoming Events, Security, Uncategorized, VMware

When ‘Traditional’ Approaches to Security Are No Longer Enough…

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Security attacks are without doubt increasing in sophistication and frequency. With the average time to detect a breach over 200 days(!) the damage an attack could cause is frightening… Simultaneously, for many organisations their IT infrastructure and networks are becoming increasingly complex – with 83% of businesses believing the complexity of their organisational structures and IT infrastructure is putting their companies at even greater risk for security breaches.

In recent years, the number of high-profile data breaches compromising sensitive information has continued to rise. Although breaches were achieved in different ways, the majority exposed the fundamental weakness of the perimeter-centric network security model: after all, once the perimeter is breached, it is difficult to stop threats from moving laterally (east-west) throughout the data centre. These attacks have proven that investing in perimeter firewalls is insufficient and that more investment is needed to secure east-west (server-to-server) traffic.

One solution is virtualisation. Virtualisation abstracts the underlying infrastructure from the applications running on top of it, giving IT departments full visibility into the data path. Abstracting applications from the infrastructure provides the ideal enforcement point to compartmentalise applications through micro-segmentation of the network. This allows simplified security-policy creation and management. It also helps reduce the overall application infrastructure attack surface and provides the ability to effectively prevent threats from breaching the data centre. Leveraging abstraction in the data centre also protects the infrastructure from any compromise.

In our attempt to help more organisations improve their security posture, we are proud to announce that last year Cetus Solutions earned VMware’s highly sought-after specialist competency in Network Virtualisation. VMware, who pioneered the term software-defined data center (SDDC), awarded Cetus with the accolade after demonstrating technical competency, experience and expertise in delivering NSX solutions.

VMware NSX is the network virtualization and security platform for the software-defined data center. VMware NSX brings security inside the data center with fine grained policies tied to the virtual machine they protect. Essentially, with NSX, IT departments can programmatically create, snapshot, store, move, delete, and restore entire networks with the same point-and-click simplicity and speed of a virtual machine—delivering a level of security, agility, and availability never before feasible with hardware-centric or traditional operational approaches.

Our Managing Director, Mike English, had a few words on the achievement;

“We are delighted to have secured the Network Virtualisation competency from VMware. In the last twelve months, we have seen an uplift in conversations centred around data center security and particularly micro-segmentation. VMware NSX’s capabilities makes this level of protection economically and operationally feasible for the first time for a lot of customers. By gaining this competency, it shows our commitment to helping customers define, deliver and manage their security strategy in line with their business requirements.”

With the threat landscape increasing ‘traditional’ security approaches are failing to effectively secure a modern organisation. Now is the time to revaluate your approach to security. Our free-of-charge security posture review will provide you an opportunity to discuss your endpoint security challenges, as well as your wider cyber security posture with regards to perimeter, data centre and cloud components.

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Blog, Microsoft, Technology, Uncategorized

Future Decoded – The Microsoft Security Story

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Change has been the only constant in 2016 – with Brexit, and a change of prime minister, notably creating a great deal of noise and uncertainty around the future of the UK economy. With 44% of UK business leaders indicating their current business models will not exist in 5 years and predictions intensifying that we are entering the fourth industrial revolution, it is increasingly apparent that as businesses we must understand change, explore transformation and adapt in order to avoid extinction.

So, it came as no surprise the key theme of Microsoft’s annual UK event Future Decoded was centred on digital transformation. Whilst Microsoft’s core mission remains unchanged – to empower every organisation and every person to achieve more – the first day of Future Decoded focused less on the things we know that Microsoft do consistently well – providing rich user experiences, suites of applications, and intuitive interfaces, and instead cemented their strategy around security and proved how Microsoft are enabling business and digital transformation.

But it wasn’t just Microsoft’s strategy around security that took centre stage. During one of the opening keynotes, the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, formally launched the government’s new National Cyber Security Strategy, which sets out decisive action that we will be taking to protect the UK economy, the privacy of British citizens, whilst encouraging and equipping industry to prevent damaging cyber-attacks.

The Chancellor recognised that cyber security is one of the greatest threats to business around the world – with the global cost of crimes estimated at in excess of $445 billion. However, the Chancellor predicts that this new strategy underpinned by £1.9 billion of investment will position the UK as one of the safest places in the world to do business – perhaps a compelling reason for businesses to remain in the UK instead of fleeing in the aftermath of Brexit.

“If we want Britain to be the best place in the world to be a tech business then it is also crucial that Britain is a safe place to do the digital business,” The Chancellor said, “Trust in the internet and the infrastructure on which it relies is fundamental to our economic future.”

With data the currency of today’s world, a predicted 1 million new devices coming online per hour by 2020 and Microsoft opening UK data centres that deliver world-class reliability and data residency earlier this year, I was interested to explore how Microsoft’s security strategy has evolved. I was not disappointed.

During a breakout session, Microsoft illustrated exactly how they have upped their game, and integrated their products to create a solution which is seriously cool, effortlessly delivered, and oh… it’s available today when using EMS, Intune and Windows 10. Sophisticated security built on principles around user ‘identity’, facial recognition and multi-factor authentication, and integrated access and control policies, resulting in a solution that presents itself as simple, seamless… and can be completely self-provisioned by any end user (seriously it looked idiot proof… perhaps even I could replicate the demo – perhaps that’s a vblog for another time!)

Security has been one of the many, and important, focus areas at Future Decoded. Make sure you follow Cetus Solutions on LinkedIn, where over the next few days I will be posting additional blogs around some of the product announcements and updates, forward thinking around big data and AI, workspaces, Skype for Business, and migrating to Windows 10.

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Microsoft WPC: Day 1

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From the very outset of today’s opening keynote at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) the notion of making computing personal resonated, with Cortana introducing the journey that Microsoft has been on over the past twelve months prior to Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, even stepping foot onto the stage.

Microsoft’s vision remains unchanged; to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more, however what is apparent from today’s keynote is the role in which Microsoft, and partners, are playing in empowering businesses across the world to achieve digital transformation.

Often, I find the term ‘digital transformation’ over-used, a buzz-term that lacks any sense of meaning other than ‘transform your business using our technology.’ Today, I heard Microsoft’s definition and it’s one that I like a lot; it’s not monolithic and closed business application packages that take half a decade to customise and deploy, and another for employees to begrudgingly learn how to use. When Microsoft speak of digital transformation reference systems that requires a level of intelligence tailored to the individual business and users – systems that have the ability to learn, expand and evolve as the world and business changes.

Together with their partners, Microsoft are focused on enabling businesses to experience the subsequent benefits that come from fundamentally changing business outcomes, empowering employees to make better decisions, optimising business operations and ensuring that every business process is intelligent within their digitally empowered organisations.

After hearing from many CEO’s around the world about what digital transformation means for their business, Nadella summarised suggesting “Leadership in today’s age is about driving successful change” After which, he went on to unveil three of Microsoft’s focus areas surrounding digital transformation, to ensure that together, we are able to support customers in successfully driving and implementing change within their respective businesses.

Reinvent productivity and business processes
Within the keynote, and within this blog, Nadella discussed how by removing the barriers between productivity tools and business applications, we are able to support our customers in reinventing business processes whilst taking a people-centric and platform-centric approach – meaning that IT are able to deliver what the user wants and needs in order to work productivity in context to their role, from a platform that will drive lucrative business outcomes. 

Enable computing to be more personal
There is a clear focus on making computing more personal and to an extent combining both digital and physical experiences to drive better outcomes. A great example of this was shown in relation to the cognitive services Microsoft have developed. During the demo, Nadella showed how a speech algorithm has been created to transform McDonald’s’ drive-through experience – something simple, yet very cool and a clear improvement to business processes for McDonalds.

When looking at personal computing no digital transformation outcome is going to be complete without having the right device at the edge. There was evidence again that Windows 10 is not just a device operating system for a single device, it is an operating system for use across all devices. And for the first time ever, I saw a HoloLens being demoed in a way that served a purpose within a real business environment – showing it as a mixed reality training tool for an aircraft engineer. Again, this was a great demonstration of how technology is changing, and benefitting organisations around the world who are deciding to go digital.

Build out the intelligent cloud 
Finally, the third focus for Microsoft was very much to build the intelligent cloud platform to take advantage of scalability and flexibility, combined with the power of intelligence and security. The ability to connect all your solutions whether it be Office 365, Dynamics 365, alongside Microsoft Azure and third-party technologies to provide an unparalleled cloud platform.

Reflecting back to the start, Nadella asked the question “What if we could personally stitch together and connect disparate worlds and processes… bring them together seamlessly?” In the pursuit for digital transformation, technologies are leveraged to drive change and achieve business outcomes, and different teams need to be engaged to create heightened value and tailored intelligence associated with digital transformation. This is where Microsoft partners like Cetus Solutions can help customers accelerate their time to value and drive the adoption of transformational IT solutions that piece together to create a seamless solution for users – and as a result, fulfilling Microsoft’s vision to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.

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