64: Nutanix Weekly: Nutanix Flow Security Best Practices Part 1 – What is Flow Network Security?

Jan 25, 2023

In this multi-part series, the goal is to first familiarize you with the solution and then provide guidance on preparing to deploy Flow Network Security and help you learn the constructs that form your policy framework.

So, what is Flow Network Security?  By now, you may have heard the name, read about it or had a conversation about it with a Nutanix employee.  First off, and in most basic terms, Flow Network Security is built-in security for workloads that run on Nutanix AHV, our native hypervisor.  Think of it more as a feature or solution rather than a separate “product”.

While AHV has been available for many years, one thing became obvious as customers were looking to have more security options in their Nutanix environment; we didn’t have a Nutanix-developed solution to provide network security.

Enter microsegmentation.  Network virtualization got its beginning as a Stanford University research project that ultimately became a startup and commercial solution from Nicira, circa 2007.  VMware acquired Nicira in 2012 and the solution became, as you may know, NSX, which offered software-defined networking and microsegmentation functionality.  Since this time, other software companies have brought their own solutions to market.  

Host: Andy Whiteside
Co-host: Harvey Green
Co-host: Philip Sellers
Co-host: Jirah Cox

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Andy Whiteside: Hello, everyone! Welcome to episode. 64 of Newton’s weekly. Every host, Andy White Side today is january, 20 third of 2,023. Hey? January is almost over.

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Harvey Green: Yeah, Think about it.

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Harvey Green: No pressure. What have we got done? Well, I don’t know about you guys. Not a lot.

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Andy Whiteside: All right. The cast and crew on the screen. Here, with me is Harvey Green, President and CEO of integr Gov. Harvey was last year 2022, Was it?

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Andy Whiteside: Everything you dreamed it would be for Zen, Tiger, Gov. And more, which which is great

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Harvey Green: it it it was.

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Harvey Green: It was the best of the best and and the worst of the worst, all in one. This is the best you ever had.

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Harvey Green: That’s right. Best year I ever had, and most of work I’ve ever had all up to the right from here, I would tell you it was going to get easier, but it gets it’s still fun. I know better.

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Harvey Green: Yeah, good, you know. I don’t know if I told you there was an end. But that end at the end you won’t. I don’t know. Maybe some day that should be I. I can at least say that I’ve I’ve accomplished something this month, and that’s just listing out the things that I need to do.

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Andy Whiteside: So here’s an example. I’m on the screen here. I’ve got my laptop over here with a little crappy camera. I don’t even make eye contact with it very much. What am I to do for Christmas was to buy myself a new webcam.

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Andy Whiteside: Well stand where 2023, 23 january 20 third. I still don’t have a webcam for my office. Set up a listing. It is still accomplishing something, you know.

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Andy Whiteside: Well, our other crew members, Philip Sellers. Philip, how’s it going

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Andy Whiteside: good. How are you?

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Andy Whiteside: 8 months or 8 days, I remember, which one, almost 3 months, almost 3 months, all right, and part of that journey for you is to learn the new tanks world, which I know you were excited about coming into you, and probably ask you this last time Highlight, so far, of becoming a newutanic subject matter expert.

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Philip Sellers: you know. There’s a lot more here than I gave them credit for early on, like. I think a lot of people in the industry. You may not realize, and you may be very pleasantly surprised how much growth there’s been in the new tenx platform. What capabilities are there.

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Philip Sellers: and differentiation that that exists and other other solutions. Well, one of the things we’re gonna talk about flow here in a few minutes. But automation

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Andy Whiteside: as a part of the platform. And you said, platform, I said, platform

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Andy Whiteside: it’s platform, and that’s really how you need to look at if you’re going to try to do the most out of it. We all screen platform.

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Andy Whiteside: all screen platform. You can. Gyros gonna have a t-shirt.

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Philip Sellers: But we also

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Andy Whiteside: So Jyra Cox is really us. Gyra is our newutanic subject matter expert, gracious enough to join us for these podcasts. I asked him one time what part of his job this was, and he said, is not. I just like you guys, I was like, oh.

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Harvey Green: okay, not to be the downer here, but 2,023 is already 6 and a half percent over, so no pressure single digits. Tell me what it’s Double digits. Are we done making our less than getting on to stuff now.

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Andy Whiteside: Oh, man.

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Harvey Green: I think it’s where she was, so

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Andy Whiteside: I think it’s pretty much a given every year, though, that January just kind of go flying by, and

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Andy Whiteside: I mean the kids. My kids are out of school my 8 days in January, I remember I used to couldn’t get a day off after Christmas and their home every day.

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Harvey Green: Wait, you can now.

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Jirah Cox: No, he pulls up his inbox for December 20, sixth.

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Andy Whiteside: Well, I do. You know it’s easy when you love what you do. I don’t know if that makes it go by fast, but it definitely makes it go by fast.

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Harvey Green: Yes, almost too fast.

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Yes.

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Andy Whiteside: Well, guys, Today we agreed to talk about automation, because that’s my favorite topic.

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Andy Whiteside: and it Look, this is my second podcast today where we talk about automation, and the first one was in service. Now we talked about, you know, integrating Newton, and flow as part of that one as well.

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Andy Whiteside: You know automating

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Andy Whiteside: good processes is a no-brainer.

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Andy Whiteside: and one of the things I love about the service. Now platform. It gets us a chance to kind of make those processes efficient, and then automate them

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Andy Whiteside: in conjunction with integrations from things like flow.

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So i’m.

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Andy Whiteside: I’m softening.

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Andy Whiteside: So this this blog is from October 20 eighth.

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Andy Whiteside: It is Newtonics flow security best practices part one.

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Andy Whiteside: What is flow, network, security. So

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Andy Whiteside: I guess everything in it these days consumer

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Andy Whiteside: enterprise. It all needs a security, I to it.

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Andy Whiteside: and automation is, of course, something that’s important that we

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Andy Whiteside: try to make sure we don’t leave wide open, and we do recommended practices.

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Andy Whiteside: So we’re not.

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Andy Whiteside: We are so vulnerable or unable to answer those challenging questions when they come?

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Andy Whiteside: You know, Did you not do this for that, gyro you you brought us this blog.

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Andy Whiteside: Why is why is it important?

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Jirah Cox: I can think of 2 2 examples that I’ve come across recently. One was this: this morning I was on a on a forum that someone was posting about. Hey, my! My sea level and my vps come to us by it, team, and said, hey.

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Jirah Cox: you know the business, and will start quantifying your value, which is kind of terrifying right as a question. But it’s like Well, part of that would be well. How do you quantify the value of no successful rent, and we’re infections right?

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Jirah Cox: You know what it will prove prove the negative there.

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Jirah Cox: But but even then the other one, the the even even more terrifying one. Both are terrifying, equally terrifying in different ways.

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Jirah Cox: Bunch of headlines going around recently right around

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Jirah Cox: a lot of

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Jirah Cox: insurance companies that are pondering, let’s say, getting out of the game of writing or underwriting.

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Jirah Cox: ransomware, insurance or cyber security insurance, right? Because it’s just not working out for them economically right. The tax are getting more frequent, more successful.

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Jirah Cox: bigger, with more penalties or bigger ransoms

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Jirah Cox: to recover.

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Jirah Cox: so that I I think that that is the more terrifying thought of those 2 right like what if there was no plan? B,

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Jirah Cox: you know, and the man? It became

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Jirah Cox: be more successful, more of the time at inhibiting more preventing ransom or infections in the environment. Right now we’re covering from them just from back up to from snapshots when they occur.

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Jirah Cox: Yeah, I got a question how long you’re gonna let me go on talking about column as if we were talking about. You know I know a part of the stick of the podcast, where our charm is like the No edit model.

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Jirah Cox: It’s been a long day we one take that’s that’s what we do all right. Well, if you don’t believe it’s one. Take you down, hey? Today we’re going to talk about flow.

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Jirah Cox: I think we could all agree the best kind of security models are automated right? So there’s there’s some cross-pollination there. I appreciate you cleaning that one up. Yeah, man operation. Human powered operations have variance, and we don’t like that insecurity.

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Jirah Cox: All right. Well, I hate automation, but I love networks

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Jirah Cox: security. I arguably good automation.

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Andy Whiteside: All right

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Andy Whiteside: also, Harvey and Philip, would you agree that understanding how to micro segment and security network is something that everybody should have a handle on before they just start setting up crap

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Harvey Green: only if they want to contain certain things in certain areas. If they just want everything running around all willingly, then they probably don’t want this.

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Philip Sellers: I would argue that most of them probably have everything running around Willie Millie today. I mean. I would argue that too. But it is it what they want that that desired desired outcome. Versus

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Andy Whiteside: is that because they inherited layer, 2 networks or somebody who had a great idea that’s no longer a great idea, implemented a layer 3 and maybe 4 network.

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Harvey Green: I mean, I guess my quick answer to that is, I would say, because it used to be super hard.

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Harvey Green: It was, you know, there there was

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Harvey Green: not only the piece of you have to think about what you want to move from one

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Harvey Green: container to another container.

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or one zone to another zone, depending on what you call it, within your network. But

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Harvey Green: you know you have traffic that has to move from one place to the other. You have to allow for that traffic to move for one place to the other, and then you have to stop the other stuff from happening, so

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Harvey Green: that that on its head sounds pretty easy. I know I want this to to that place. I know I want this to go that place. I want this thing not to make it either place.

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Harvey Green: That’s great.

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Harvey Green: But then, what does that mean for your applications?

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Harvey Green: And you know, if you are running an application, or you have a user running an application, and they’re walled off from the server they need to get to

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Harvey Green: in order for that application to function that becomes

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Harvey Green: a very big issue for you.

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Philip Sellers: and I agree with Harvey. It used to be much harder.

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Philip Sellers: It is easier today.

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Philip Sellers: but it’s still easier further, just to keep things wide open. You know there’s no configuration. There’s no anything in the middle of things.

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Philip Sellers: And it’s hard to fight. 2530 years of prevailing wisdom that you harden the outside of your network and the insides. Okay. And I think a lot of people still think that way today

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Philip Sellers: that it’s okay to just worry about securing your perimeter

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Jirah Cox: and not worry about what’s going on in the network

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Andy Whiteside: I was waiting on, and that was the application. So okay, there’s layer 2 networks from back in the day, you know my links to switch to here my desk, my dome, dumb switch.

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Andy Whiteside: and then there became a micro segmentation of data flow, you know ones and zeros. And then it became, hey, what is the application doing? Who needs access to it? What’s the app supposed to be doing, it became application centric.

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Andy Whiteside: which to some degree made it even more complex for network guys who may not have been told what

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Andy Whiteside: what the app was up to correctly.

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Yeah.

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Jirah Cox: yeah, I mean

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Jirah Cox: to agree with Philip right like past 20 or 30 years is primarily just been about increasing network performance, and

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Jirah Cox: maybe making it denser, right? But fundamentally same Nicks same switches that we kind of use back then.

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Jirah Cox: you know. And so, being in the business of sort of being like. Wait slow down. Let’s secure stuff. Let’s make it harder to get to either was like physically expensive. You were talking like a siloed design, or this app is buying a firewall. But but the rest of my my vms are not

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Jirah Cox: yeah or or you’re getting massively more complex in your your network design.

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Philip Sellers: Well, and I’ve I’ve been through a number of different exercises with, you know.

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Philip Sellers: is these, you know, independent software vendors. They brought in their product

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Philip Sellers: worked in a fairly secure

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Philip Sellers: environment, and they can’t articulate what it actually takes for their application to communicate, what ports, and what traversal, and what talks to what? So

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Philip Sellers: you know a. As as a operations person. If If your expert can’t help you map those things out, it becomes a very stressful and difficult process to implement those rules as well.

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Harvey Green: Yes.

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absolutely

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cool.

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Andy Whiteside: Going back to the okay. So one thing I want to say, and i’m hard to come out of you. But you know, when it came to network changes back in the old days

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Andy Whiteside: i’m back in the old days like when I was this, and then some broke

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Andy Whiteside: the network guy and the application. Guy started pointing fingers at each other, and it was my job as one of those, but also in a leadership role in the organization. Okay, Who changed? What? Because it used to work?

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Andy Whiteside: No, it doesn’t work.

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Andy Whiteside: Something changed.

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Andy Whiteside: and more often than not. It was nobody really want to take the blame

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Andy Whiteside: one of my favorite stories to tell in that regard as I went in, and I I was like crap. I don’t get it. I start touching the you know the ports on the right, on the on the switch, or maybe it was on the patch panel, whatever, and I touched when i’m gonna heard click. I was like, oh, and then boom! Everything started working here.

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Andy Whiteside: Harvey, you’re gonna say something. I interrupt you.

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Harvey Green: Oh, I don’t remember. Now you go ahead all right. So i’m in this one paragraph. Here i’m highlighting on screen before flow network Security was Da network customer.

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Andy Whiteside: But you know micro segmentation had to rely on third parties. It was complicated. It was a lot to, you know. Bring in a whole. Another set of technologies. It wasn’t integrated now. So you know what is now. We’ve got it built into a. Hv. In the Acropolis world, and then, so how easy is it? I haven’t had a chance to do it.

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Andy Whiteside: Is it? Is it? How how simple have you guys made it jar?

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Jirah Cox: It’s a it’s crazy, simple. It’s actually pre installed right. It’s actually on every running. H. We hypervisor instance. So there’s nothing to install, nothing to deploy. You simply turn on the control plane

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Jirah Cox: lives inside Prison central.

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Jirah Cox: and that’s it. So one check box. And then after that you’re just right in the business of writing policies. Of what do you want to control and allow, or disallow, or

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Jirah Cox: or monitor? So so

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Jirah Cox: to to even more simply put that it’s like putting a firewall in front of every single virtual machine. Nick. Right? So

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Harvey Green: it’s there to start giving instructions. I’ll i’ll second, that you know this is one of those things that when somebody tells, or when somebody told me how easy it was, and that, like Driver said, it’s just a check box, and then you’re going and writing policies.

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Harvey Green: It’s one of those moments where I go. All right.

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Harvey Green: That sounds too good to be true.

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Harvey Green: Prove it.

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Harvey Green: and so I had. You know, my first time implementing it. I had somebody right next to me, saying, okay, go here, go here, click the check box. I click the check box.

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Harvey Green: and everything else was literally like I said, it’s just writing policy. This this set of traffic can go here. This set of traffic can go here that can’t go anywhere outside of its own little box, and it was like.

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Harvey Green: Okay, it’s not supposed to be this simple.

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Harvey Green: but I mean they have they. They’ve got a very nice gui. They got a very nice set up there, where you can actually

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Harvey Green: see and visualize what’s happening, and what you’re putting into place, and that makes it

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Harvey Green: extremely easy. And, Harvey, when you check that box, did it turn off all communication? Did it Just start monitoring communication and start suggesting stuff. What did you do? Well, you You’ve got options there, so you you can have it. Start as soon as you want it to start.

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Harvey Green: and then you just have everything blocked, and you figure your way back to where everything works

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Harvey Green: or you can watch.

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Jirah Cox: Yeah, there, there’s well, yeah, there’s no risk of. There’s no way to turn it on, and all of a sudden lose all traffic. Right? So but yeah, you’re enabling the the the control plane right? And then you could certainly create a policy to say totally like, you know, stop everything, and only only allow what I white list.

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Jirah Cox: But you you would do that pretty intentionally. But

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Jirah Cox: but yeah, actually, I think Phil actually was touching on the the sort of the the Roman value proper, because if you listen to this and you go Well, great. I can make policies, but I don’t know what policies to make.

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Jirah Cox: Then what you can do from minute, one right with flow is, let’s start telling you what it what it observes right? What traffic actually already is flowing, which involves a certain amount of trust around, like steady state and current state like is this: is this secure? Or is there like an ongoing infection? Right? And you would need to kind of understand that a little bit.

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Jirah Cox: But you know, if you look at it and say that server shouldn’t be talking about server at all, well surprise it is great. We already we’re already proving our value. There, go, stop it. But it heard it looks, you know, pretty healthy, and you can see, like, okay, yeah, these database servers talk to these, you know, app to your servers, and then communicate with these web-share servers or load balancers that’s all pretty normal. Well great. Now we’ve already fingerprinted all of the traffic there.

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Jirah Cox: So then, then you can start saying what’s currently flowing. That’s considered my

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Jirah Cox: my allowed state, and then and then new stuff. Beyond that you can say. I want to get worded when other things try to communicate, just allow them

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Jirah Cox: and build policies based off of that.

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Andy Whiteside: So I think you can go back to your isps and say, hey, I found out what ports your your application needs, and we only allow those now and and as you move to Isvs and Clouds. Well, in this case, Isvs, or maybe clouds, you have clouds to. It becomes more and more important to be able to control this traffic flow.

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Andy Whiteside: Because now you’re in shared environments. Yeah, all right. So I think we’ve answered this. But let’s make sure. So what does micro segmentation do or solve. For as opposed to network segmentation that we all grew up on.

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Jirah Cox: So this is security without need to change your network design and all right. So this works on the network you already have and already are. If you’re listening to this, probably running the tenx on or thinking about.

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Jirah Cox: so no need to react to your vms. No need for more Vlans. The need for more routers, switches, hairpinning traffic, any of that stuff right? Like the Vms you have today

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Jirah Cox: on the network you have. The day

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Jirah Cox: can just gain more security right in place.

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Jirah Cox: game, but game, better security posture right where they are.

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Andy Whiteside: and

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Andy Whiteside: that is very application, friendly versus network segmentation which the app was just along for the ride.

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Jirah Cox: Sure, yeah, If you were taking a network segmentation approach right, you’d be doing

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Jirah Cox: a ton of reacting. A lot of Dns updates probably get lots of calls from users around the application connectivity that probably none of us want you to be getting

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Yeah.

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Andy Whiteside: all right. So in the next section of the blog it’s got a a bunch of work, a bunch of flow process flow.

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Andy Whiteside: How do we

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Andy Whiteside: cover this in such a way that makes sense to a listener?

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Jirah Cox: Yeah, if you want to look at a flow chart of how flow evaluates traffic policies check out this blog which we Haven’t said, yet actually is on our intacts dev blog. So in Connecticut dev is our super technical blog really good stuff on there, so there’s a whole flowchart of the

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Harvey Green: flow engine. How it evaluates policies that you can go check out with when you’re not driving, or next time you’re at your computer. How’s that? Good? Yeah, I think that was good. Good job. The the main thing to take away is it’s easy to understand what it’s doing to

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Andy Whiteside: understand, to to to manage the process, and it’s clearly defined.

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Andy Whiteside: And you can. You can really get specific

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Jirah Cox: about what you want to happen. And what part of the process is that figure? Yeah. So I mean, it’s a layer for firewall. Right? So you can always talk about source and destination. IP. Addresses, or source and destination subnets or network masks.

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Jirah Cox: protocols, and ports. Right? So any kind of a rule you can write with those kind of verbs that’s what flow can evaluate natively and in fortune deny you could even bolster this by adding

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Jirah Cox: third party firewalls like adding Apollo in there to say, you know, do web session control as well redirect to partner appliances, but out of the box it’s layer 4. So that’s the the mechanism that works at the engine that everybody always rolls in.

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Yeah.

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Andy Whiteside: Okay. So the next section of the blogs is what’s what are the benefits of micro segmentation with flow network security. First one is gain visibility. I think it goes back to my question to Harvey August. What happens when you turn it on

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Andy Whiteside: at the release

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Andy Whiteside: you get a nice roll up of what’s happening, right?

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Harvey Green: Yeah. So on on this piece of the blog, for those who can see it are are going to the link to look at it. You’ll you’ll see kind of illustrations of what they pulled out of the Gui when when it was in monitor mode.

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Harvey Green: and so at a very basic level for those who can’t see it at the top. It tells you what you’ve configured.

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Harvey Green: and at the bottom it tells you what you what it’s discovered for you.

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Harvey Green: And at that point you know again, you can kind of make smarter decisions, so that to Andy’s point you Don’t, block everything from going everywhere. You can already see what it has discovered for you, and then choose to allow or deny that traffic appropriately.

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Andy Whiteside: right

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Andy Whiteside: being in for a gi. Joe, right knowing is half the battle.

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Andy Whiteside: Yes, a real American hero, real Internet Cloud Hero. Okay, Gyro, fill up any additional comments to just the visibility piece.

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Jirah Cox: Just that. It’s a a super common pain point. If you’re in that category like Phil mentioned around like, I have no idea what my apps are, because my application owners don’t know what their apps require, hey? This this directly addresses that really easily.

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Philip Sellers: Well, and not just. Maybe your application vendors. But maybe you’re in house developers. I mean, we we don’t necessarily pay developers to

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Philip Sellers: map out everything that they’re talking to and stuff or or know those things. They’re consuming services, and they may not provide you with a

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Philip Sellers: a treasure map when they hand over the application to the operations team. So it’s a great way of seeing what’s going on in your in house apps as well.

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Philip Sellers: I mean.

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Philip Sellers: my wife works in a in an environment where they’re trying to

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Philip Sellers: to change and track certain things, you know. If you don’t

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Philip Sellers: measure it, you you can’t improve it. And so visibility is huge, right? I mean making things visible is the first step.

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Harvey Green: Yeah, yes.

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Harvey Green: yeah, that’s that’s my list for 2,023. I have to make it visible before I can go do the rest of the stuff. There you go. There you go.

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Andy Whiteside: all right. Next section says secure Ew: traffic. I know what that means drives me nuts. The tech guys use acronyms. I’ve never seen that one before, but I know what it means. Zyra, what does this mean? So so this is East West, meaning traffic sort of left to right on a switch right not going up and down to a upstream or downstream. Router

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Jirah Cox: to your question before Eddie right around like, Why wouldn’t I just do network segmentation right to the implement security? Partly because network information doesn’t really help you with East West traffic, right? So like. So like a couple of examples would be 2 things on the same switch, right or even 2 vms on the same hypervisor.

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Jirah Cox: Normally, nothing really impedes that traffic. If you’re on the same hypervisor instance, nothing even hits the switches to see that right? So then you would need like in guest agents which you know we don’t really do for for flow don’t need for flow.

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Jirah Cox: But since we’re operating at the V Nick level right then even Vm. To Vm. On the same hypervisor that private can be seen controlled. You can apply policies to it.

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Andy Whiteside: Philip. You’re

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Andy Whiteside: data Center guy

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Andy Whiteside: East West traffic matters. You has for a long time. Right

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Philip Sellers: it does. But this is back to the old old school, you know. Thing I mean, this is kind of your candy bar, and we cared about the nice chocolate outside, but not the Ui Gui nugget center of the key part. You know

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Philip Sellers: the this is where

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Philip Sellers: we’re being leveraged. I mean frankly, that’s where the bad guys are going after our networks at this point, and that’s why this matters most.

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Philip Sellers: You know ransomware is coming in on an endpoint, and when the endpoint is able to talk unobstructed to the virtual machines sitting here in Newtownx.

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Jirah Cox: it’s going to be a bad day for your organization

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Jirah Cox: if if i’m a if i’m a R. Somewhere attacker.

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Jirah Cox: if you have whatever let’s say, 500 desktops, the odds that I landed on the one that has the user session with the best credentials

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Jirah Cox: astronomically low, right? So i’m going to try to go, move east, west, right, move horizontally in the environment. Get to other desktop other sessions.

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Jirah Cox: See what I can get to from there. So that’s where all the that we say East West Co: Just a topologically kind of traffic movement looks like, and North South that would be in ingress and egress out of your network. And i’m assuming what we’re saying here is that most people have improved since the nineties and those routers aren’t wide open anymore.

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Jirah Cox: I think it’s more like.

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Jirah Cox: less and less traffic has to do in North South Traversal right. More things happen east-west without such a router right going from desktop to desktop desktop to demand controller fewer things.

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Jirah Cox: You know think it 20 years ago, right to go from Web Server to Davis, where you might go across 5 cabinets, and you know 2 switches and a router in the middle. And and now again that density, right, and performance comes in from virtualization. Fewer and fewer things have to cross that core or touch a router or point of routing, even

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Jirah Cox: to get what they need to get to so East West, where it all happens these days. Therefore you need more control over that kind of flow or flow pattern.

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Harvey Green: and I think that ties into the next one. Harvard, you want to take it first limit ran somewhere. That’s that’s where the bad stuff is coming today. Yeah, absolutely. I mean, at at this point, to to what Gyro is just speaking about. You know the the attacker is the malware, the whatever is not going to come in

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Harvey Green: highway of a domain, admin or somebody, you know, who has credentials that will take it all the places it wants to go across the network. So you know, the the code is now set to basically just start

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Harvey Green: touching everything that they can touch.

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Harvey Green: And if you use micro segmentation to stop it from being able to go anywhere outside of a a certain container, it can only affect within that container

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Harvey Green: and the the smaller you make that the more secure you’ll be from from that standpoint.

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Harvey Green: Go and do it for every single workstation but you could.

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Jirah Cox: There’s a whole school of thought right how this evolves into like 0 trust networking where basically to to short circuit that

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Jirah Cox: just because i’m in network doesn’t mean, I want to trust it right or the opposite right in this case, if it’s like something that the end user does work on, I actually I actually actively. Don’t want to trust it right? That’s almost as untrusted as like the wide open Internet.

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Jirah Cox: But I have to run a virtual desktop, an Ec. Environment that I deliver and control

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Jirah Cox: from my network. So how I keep it on my network, and yet not trust it, and yet maintain full control over it

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Jirah Cox: and and flows. I’m going to do that. I think this article might not even go deep into it. But to give that quick sidebar

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Jirah Cox: with flow, we can even change what the firewall rules are on that Vm.

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Jirah Cox: Based on who logged into it right? So it’s a contractor. If it’s a vendor, they get nothing, maybe like the one copy, or they want to go touch and Internet access. And when one of us logs in as an admin, we get other internal systems that we can can go, see and touch or get to a jump box that that the vendor couldn’t have gotten to. So

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Jirah Cox: yeah, so 0 trust. And how do I restrict access? You know not. Let them have wide open access to my network. Maintain that control. You know this is a a an easy way to get really really far down that road. Real fast.

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Harvey Green: right? Yeah, that’s absolutely it. It’s very, very customizable. You You’ve got the ability to kind of see

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Harvey Green: as you’re putting in these types of policies, you got the ability to see what you’re doing, so that you know, so that hopefully you don’t make mistakes, but at least, if you do, you’ll be able to kind of visualize and see those mistakes

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Harvey Green: to help you through that piece of it as well.

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Andy Whiteside: Right

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Andy Whiteside: Next one talks about the less reliance on next generation firewalls. Is that because we don’t have to talk to those network admins anymore?

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Jirah Cox: No, we love our network admins right like they’re key to everything we do without that. Everything stops pretty fast.

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Jirah Cox: but but some of the most tool, the tools that the most deepest inspection help capabilities right like a layer. 7

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Jirah Cox: inspecting firewall, or like a

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Jirah Cox: are the most expensive right, and have the have the sort of least throughput compared to like every switch port and the data center added together. So we want to use them for the right workload right? So if we needed to do like web session inspection. I want to only pass that kind of traffic through that.

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Jirah Cox: and not make it look at. Maybe all my 80 queries, or my backups or other like nonsense traffic to or for my virtual machine.

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Jirah Cox: so that ability to it’s not less reliance. It’s more like a more targeted use case of like, use them for what they’re really really good at what I need them to do. But it, but, you know, use a more scalable and native solution. Like I still get in the firewall, They’ll excuse me, build a hypervisor to do my broad

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layer for firewalling. All my vms.

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Andy Whiteside: Right. Yeah, that was just a joke, all right. Oh, no, you’re fine, so it’s more like a scarce resource kind of a proposition. Well, I love the way you answered it, and it could be. And I don’t think you said it this way. But there’s those technology devices we want to use those what they’re good for. We also want to take that the time that

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Andy Whiteside: those network admins let them go do what they’re good at, not, you know, and let us as the application owners virtual machine owners add a layer of network security that we control.

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Jirah Cox: Sure.

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Jirah Cox: Well, and we can tie this back to how we kinda started like with automation once. I have all of my policies set up for like this is how I secure

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Jirah Cox: Active directory, joined database servers. This is how I secure my Linux public web servers all these various policies that I can just create once, and then use repeatably

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Jirah Cox: the act of applying that security policy to a new Vm. Is trivial, right? It’s like literally like a flag in my automation run, or my Api call, or my service. Now, Job, execution to say, Yes, I want a Vm. With these many V cpus and memory and storage, and this guy over here is the owner. But this team can access it. And I want this backup policy.

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Jirah Cox: Oh, and by the way, it gets this flow network policy, and from the minute that that Vm. Is deployed it’s part of our security policy, right? And has posture already in place

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Philip Sellers: One. The policies can be applied by categories inside of new tanks. So

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Philip Sellers: you know you. You also get auditability, and you know where those elements are at, and it’s an easy change. I mean the simplification.

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Philip Sellers: I think

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Philip Sellers: it is a huge part of

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Philip Sellers: of the story there

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Harvey Green: absolutely, you know, I mean. And we talked through already some of those pieces, and being able to to do that, you can do that by, user so that you have

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Harvey Green: certain sets of users who get certain policies, and then you can to it by machine.

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Harvey Green: which again, like we’re talking about. Now, you know you

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Harvey Green: add a domain controller. It gets the Domain Controller policy. You add a print server that the prints are a policy like

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Harvey Green: You’ve got the ability from from day one from as soon as those machines are built.

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Harvey Green: to have them already in the policy. The first time that they boot up.

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Andy Whiteside: So, guys, this the next one is maintain regulatory compliance.

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Andy Whiteside: You know it’s a necessary evil at this point one, so you can get your insurance policy in 2, so that the world of governance can make sure that we’re

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Andy Whiteside: that everybody that meets certain has certain regulatory compliance. Certification needs

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Andy Whiteside: is attempting to

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Andy Whiteside: comply with what what the industry has said is necessary.

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Harvey Green: Yeah. But again, you know, having having the ability to have visibility from the front, I already helps you, because when you can go and actually

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Harvey Green: prove that this is the way this is set up and show someone who doesn’t work in networking every day or doesn’t work in his handics every day something simple where they can understand. Okay, this line goes from here to here. That line doesn’t go anywhere like. They can understand that pretty easily.

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Harvey Green: So the ability to take that with

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Harvey Green: pretty, you know, not not a high level of effort to pull that down and actually put it in front of somebody who can, you know, pass a failure from an audit perspective. I I think it’s pretty important.

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Jirah Cox: I think it’s that. I think it’s Also, we we can all think of of past customers, past jobs where it’s been like, okay, this is this: this: this system’s in scope for a certain audit or certain control, one of the easiest ways for the business to sort of get the assurance they need. There is, give it a silo right? It gets on storage, and it’s on compute its own whatever

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Jirah Cox: which works. But there’s some inherent kind of waste there. And and with this being a way to apply security policy

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Jirah Cox: makes into a larger environment. If that if that satisfies the controls, then that actually gets more efficiency right, fewer admin teams, or better human to managed Vm. Ratio

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Jirah Cox: and and better density. Better use of the resources

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Jirah Cox: combined with.

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Jirah Cox: If you’re going for regular regulatory compliance, the more you can automate that the better Your posture.

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Jirah Cox: anyway. Right? You don’t want that to be a human controlled process or a bunch of one offs right because people make mistakes. We’ve made mistakes on this podcast, but the more I can automate all of that, you and the other, we no Harvard, I mean mistakes like bucket. The the more you automate right, the more repeatable something becomes.

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Philip Sellers: Well, that’s it. I mean, remove. Remove the human factor, right? I mean, across this whole thing, whether we’re talking about the automation of the security controls, or whether we’re talking about who we trust and not trusting, are. Are you.

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Philip Sellers: you know, client workstations and things like that. I mean it. It’s the human factor that’s often

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Philip Sellers: the the trip point.

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No.

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Andy Whiteside: So, guys, I think we can sum this up by talking about Newtonics as a company being about providing platforms, and one of the platforms is, of course, the Acropolis operating system for the storage piece.

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Andy Whiteside: but throw into that the Acropolis hypervisor for the hypervisor piece of what’s needed, and then you start laying across that, lots of technologies flow, being one that it’s starting to AIM towards that platform as a service

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Andy Whiteside: from your data center, the vendor, the partner data center from the cloud, and all of that being able to be managed from one pane of glass

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platform.

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Jirah Cox: Totally totally. And it’s not. It’s not the one silver bullet right? It exist as part of a spectrum of protection and a spectrum of recoverability. Right? So it exists with

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Jirah Cox: snapshots that you can get to in, and seconds worth of notice and backups as well that are therefore more immutable, and they’re like indexed and longer. Attention

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Jirah Cox: and snapshots are not backups. Backups are not snapshots, but you probably want both.

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Jirah Cox: You know role based access for my administrators, and who can see what? But yes, to your point. It’s all part of the same platform.

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Jirah Cox: you know, end users that can pull back their own data from those snapshots right without even bugging an admin or opening a ticket with it.

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Jirah Cox: and even detecting, like, whenever I found one of. I had evidence of compromise in my in my environment. So this is kind of one facet of the entire protection and recovery story.

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No.

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Andy Whiteside: Philip.

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Andy Whiteside: Thoughts on

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Andy Whiteside: what we cover.

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Philip Sellers: I know this article doesn’t go into it, but there’s so much more here, so I can’t wait for part 2. When we dig into some of the the other features that are here. But from a security perspective.

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Philip Sellers: I mean, we can’t. We can’t stick our head in the sand and act like

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Philip Sellers: It’s okay to leave everything wide open anymore.

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Philip Sellers: You know we we’re at an inflection point. Now Gyra talked about it at the very beginning where

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Philip Sellers: insurance companies are talking about removing coverage. I know

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Philip Sellers: cyber

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Philip Sellers: conversations that

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Philip Sellers: our customers and past experience. They’re becoming more and more stringent. They’re looking deeper into the network, trying to ensure that if they are gonna cover you, you’re doing the right things. This is gonna be one of those right things that that our customers should be doing, and

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Philip Sellers: should be

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Philip Sellers: working on in their environments.

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Andy Whiteside: Well, and for me.

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Andy Whiteside: as much as I wish the world didn’t have to be this way. It all comes down to money.

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Andy Whiteside: So if it comes down to you, you you’re going to pay more, or you’re not going to get covered, for you know, potential risk of losing money.

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Andy Whiteside: That’s what drives these solutions

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Andy Whiteside: in the

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Andy Whiteside: in the mid to long run.

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Andy Whiteside: whereas technologies, you know county

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Andy Whiteside: kind of want these things. It’s the ability to financially justify it or require it

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Andy Whiteside: that always get us back to.

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Andy Whiteside: Yeah, follow the money.

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Jirah Cox: Yeah, you’re right. We don’t. I don’t really handle pricing

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Jirah Cox: per se but the fact that this is included

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Jirah Cox: is pretty meaningful to a lot of people making decisions.

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Jirah Cox: and, in fact, it’s so easily configured. Right also means that this is not going to be, you know, 6 months, 12 months, you know, multiple comma’s worth of science projects to get enabled.

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Harvey Green: Yeah, yeah.

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okay.

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Andy Whiteside: these are basic things. Everybody needs

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Andy Whiteside: figure out a way to make it part of the solution.

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Andy Whiteside: not

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Andy Whiteside: keep everything one more license away

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Andy Whiteside: from what we own.

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Philip Sellers: They also seem to understand that it needs to be simple to consume

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Jirah Cox: of the tech and the licensing. Yep.

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Philip Sellers: yeah, absolutely. I mean, the

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Philip Sellers: the implementation is that Harvey talked about is simple. That goes a long way to accessibility and success with your implementations.

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Yeah.

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Harvey.

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Andy Whiteside: Anything else to

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Harvey Green: just for fun, for for those that don’t believe in micro segmentation when you go home today, like all your doors, like all your windows, and then knock down every wall and every door in your house.

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Andy Whiteside: Lock all your windows.

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Andy Whiteside: and then make your Wi-fi a wide open password or something

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Harvey Green: no, even even more physical. Just just not down all your walls and and all your doors.

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Harvey Green: Umhm, that that your network with no micro segmentation.

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Jirah Cox: If you want an easier way to learn about it. If you go to a blog post there’s a link to the text test, drive experience where you can hop on to a live running cluster from your browser at home. If you want to as well

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Jirah Cox: walls your choice and and try it out where you can start configuring policies and flow right away and get some hands on experience there. So look! I can’t go home tonight and sleep till somebody explains to me what that man is talking about. If you If you didn’t believe us that we don’t edit these.

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Jirah Cox: maybe you do.

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Harvey Green: What’s he talking about? Lock your doors, lock your windows. Yeah, that’s just your North South traffic. Lock your doors like your windows. Nothing I can get in. Nothing from the inside can get out unless you give it permission.

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Jirah Cox: Are you saying? Not down all the walls inside the house interior walls, interior doors let’s hold in the roof. That’s got to go on your list Army alright, so let me add it out. Okay.

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Andy Whiteside: So lock your doors, lock your windows, knock down all your interior walls.

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Andy Whiteside: and then go, you know. Go take your clothes off and see if you feel

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Andy Whiteside: I I I get dressed in my closet more often than not these days, because I just walks in, and i’m like, what?

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Andy Whiteside: Yeah? All right, guys. Well, I think we’ve had fun. I get the promise to my wife. I’d be home by 50’clock every day this week.

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Andy Whiteside: because i’m never home. So I gotta go

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Andy Whiteside: until next time. Guys. Thank you.

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Philip Sellers: Thank you.