Use Case

Automating Security for Cloud Application Provisioning

Forward Enterprise gives users the ability to visualize all potential traffic paths, and ensure that the intended security and connectivity policies are applied to new cloud applications

The verdict is in — developers LOVE the cloud because of its inherent speed, flexibility, and scalability. According to Deloitte Insights, the proportion of total workloads in the public cloud is expected to grow by one-third this year. MarketsandMarkets predicts that the cloud applications market will grow from US$171 billion in 2020 to US$356 billion (vs. on-prem and private cloud) to increase by approximately one-third. 

The allure of being able to spin up a workload in minutes and deploy applications faster than ever before is undeniable. As proof, the number of cloud applications in use across a typical enterprise can easily reach into the hundreds — or even the thousands.

Another reason developers love the cloud: cloud providers have aggressively touted the superior security of their platforms as compared to on-prem environments. And rightly so — to an extent.  Major public cloud breaches we’ve seen in recent memory were not caused by a lack of platform security. Instead, they’ve been the result of software configuration issues or exposed S3 buckets. For too long, developers treated the cloud like the wild west, as if the rules didn’t apply. Unfortunately, recent headlines make it all too clear that the Wild West needs a sheriff. 

Often conducted manually, secure application provisioning can be painfully slow — essentially eradicating the benefits of cloud. Trying to do this across multiple environments is even more difficult because without a single source of truth and the ability to visualize all potential traffic paths, it’s nearly impossible to ensure that the intended security and connectivity policies are applied to new cloud applications — which is why we’ve extended the secure application functionality of Forward Enterprise to the cloud. 

Enforce On-Prem Security Policies in the Cloud with Ease

The only way to keep up with the volume of applications and ensure security policy adherence is to automate the process of verifying applications, which requires detailed information on potential paths, device state, security postures, and cloud configuration. With Forward Networks, your teams can verify that the same policies you have in place on-prem are being enforced in the cloud. We enable visualization of your cloud estate alongside your on-prem environment in a single normalized view through our Forward Enterprise platform. That view includes your entire cloud inventory — every instance and object related to every provider. 

Secure Application Provisioning in the Cloud

Teams deploying cloud applications can use our Forward Enterprise platform to conduct custom intent checks that ensure new applications are compliant. Once the intent check is written, the application development team can use the automated intent check as a self-service verification that their application meets security policy connectivity guidelines. So, if their application:

  • Passes the intent check, confirming that all appropriate security and networking connectivity policies are in place and working as intended, they can deploy the app confidently and without delay.    

  • Fails the intent check, indicating that the security policies need to be updated. Developers will get information on why the application failed the security check enabling them to quickly adjust the application.

Developers don’t need to have advanced networking or cloud knowledge to verify that their application is in-policy; in fact, they can use a Slack Bot to perform the check thanks to the Forward Enterprise API integration.

Additionally, intent checks can continuously audit cloud configurations to prevent real-time changes from diluting security policy. Anytime a non-compliant change is detected, the appropriate teams will receive specific, actionable information about the issue and why it’s occurring, enabling rapid resolution. 

A Single Source of Truth for Your On-Premises, Hybrid, and Multi-Cloud Estate

Forward Networks’ mathematical model creates a complete and always current digital twin of your physical, virtual, and multi-cloud network estate, including config and state information for all network elements and your hybrid or multi-cloud environment. The digital twin provides a comprehensive view of all network behavior, with visibility into every possible path a packet can take. It brings mathematical certainty to network security validations by enabling security operations teams to:

VISUALIZE network layer 2 – 4 topology and all possible traffic paths within a single pane of glass including on-premises, Cloud (AWS, GCP, and Microsoft Azure), and virtualized environments. Then, drill down to specific devices and traffic flows, including configuration and state data. View the global network in a single view or drill down to a single device.

SEARCH the entire estate as simply as a database. Our browser-like search feature performs complete end-to-end path analyses across the network for both on-premises and cloud infrastructure. This also enables you to locate devices and access detailed information on their location, configuration, and state in milliseconds. 

VERIFY that the security policies are extended to the cloud using purpose-built (custom) intent checks. Continuously audit the network and receive actionable alerts for non-compliance with your security policies. Know that applications are compliant before provisioning them.

COMPARE network changes over time to understand their impact on the network and prevent incidents from reoccurring. The network collector frequently scans the network, taking and saving network configurations, topology, and device state snapshots. These “snapshots” become a searchable historical record of network behavior and compliance at any point in time. And the behavior diffs feature makes it easy to quickly find and compare snapshots to identify changes that may violate your security policy.

Explore All Aspects of Your Compute Environment With Forward Enterprise

See for yourself how the Forward Enterprise platform can help your network and security teams to monitor and verify all your clouds through a single pane of glass and explore any object in your cloud environment to ensure everything is working exactly as it should be. To see this feature and the power of a network digital twin in action, please request a demo.

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