F5 Networks Positions IT Security as Digital Business Enabler

Mike Vizard

Despite all the IT security risks, many organizations are plowing ahead with digital business initiatives. The assumption that many of them are making is that by investing in higher levels of IT security, those risks not only become manageable, but the level of security they can provide becomes a selling point.

F5 Networks, as part of a strategy to meet demand for more advanced approaches to IT security driven by digital business initiatives, this week made several additions to its IT security portfolio. The first is a Herculon SSL Orchestrator that provides a method of encrypting and decrypting network traffic using a dedicated appliance that combines field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) and Intel processors to keep pace with the performance requirements of digital business applications.

The second offering is a Herculon DDoS Hybrid Defender, which takes advantage of a similar hardware architecture to help organizations defend themselves against distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that increasingly target high-value applications.

Finally, F5 Networks also announced a pre-configured web application firewall that is managed by F5 Networks, in addition to providing access to a Security Incident Response Team (SIRT) service that focuses on helping IT organizations mitigate attacks once they are discovered.

F5 Networks CTO Ryan Kearny says IT organizations need new approaches to IT security because application workloads are now so distributed that there is no network perimeter to defend.

“The network perimeter has dissolved,” says Kearny.

In the absence of that perimeter, Kearny says, IT organizations need to focus their IT security efforts on Layer Three of the network on up to the application. At a time when organizations are investing more in digital business initiatives, Kearny notes that in addition to securing those applications, IT organizations need to implement IT security technologies in a way that doesn’t adversely affect their performance. Most of those applications involve business functions where performance has a direct impact on the amount of revenue being generated, notes Kearny. Because of that requirement, F5 Networks makes use of FPGAs to process security functions, says Kearny.

It remains to be seen to what degree organizations will adjust their security postures to deal with new digital business realities. Arguably, it’s just a matter of time. But as history has often shown, there’s usually a significant lag between when new types of applications are deployed and when most organizations really comprehend the security risks involved.


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