New VMware Advanced Security for Cloud Foundation


Data breaches are increasingly devastating, often wiping out billions in market capitalization and costing public company CEOs their jobs. Damage rarely results from a single compromised server. It results from attackers moving laterally (East-West) through the datacenter from a single point of compromise, often for months, as they locate, harvest and exfiltrate sensitive data. Most security professional know this, but struggle to adequately protect their data centers. A survey commissioned by VMware and conducted by Forrester Consulting shows that 75 percent of respondents depend on perimeter firewalls, however East-West security controls need to be different than those for traditional perimeter (North-South) security as 73 percent of respondents believe their existing East-West traffic are not adequately protected(1).

VMware is specifically addressing the internal data center security challenge with the new VMware Advanced Security for Cloud Foundation, which will include VMware Carbon Black technology, VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer with Web Application Firewall capabilities and VMware NSX Distributed IDS/IPS. Each one is purpose-built for the data center and together deliver a unique and more comprehensive data center security solution. Also, all three will tightly integrate into VMware vSphere, the industry standard for data center workloads, enabling world-class security to follow workloads wherever they go through their entire life.

World class data center security starts with a strong foundation—properly protecting data center workloads. VMware Carbon Black technology protects workloads with Real-time Workload Audit/Remediation, Next-Generation Antivirus (NGAV) and Endpoint Detection & Response (EDR). VMware Carbon Black will be tightly integrated with VMware vSphere to yield an “agentless” solution, eliminating the need to insert antivirus and other agents. Instead, end point telemetry will be managed and gathered via built-in sensors protected by the hypervisor. This also means, unlike agent-based solutions, attackers will not be able to detect if an attacker attempts to gain root access and tamper with the VMware Carbon Black technology — all from a separate trust domain.

The web server is the “front door” of the data center, and NSX Advanced Load Balancer / Web Application Firewall safeguards this frequent point of attack. Often customers using hardware-based solutions with fixed capacity will turn off security filtering under heavy loads, leaving critical servers vulnerable. The unique, scale-out software architecture of the NSX Web Application Firewall helps confirm web servers have enough computation capacity for maximum security filtering even under peak loads. The NSX Web Application Firewall uses rich understanding of applications, automated learning, and app-specific rules to provide strong security with lower false positives.

Behind the web tier, micro-segmentation and in-band East-West firewalling helps prevent lateral movement of attackers. The VMware NSX Distributed IDS/IPS, a new capability of the VMware NSX Service-defined Firewall, will provide intrusion detection on the many different services that make up an application making it easier to get deep visibility. The distributed architecture of NSX Distributed IDS/IPS will enable advanced filtering to be applied to every hop of the application, significantly reducing the blind spots created when using traditional perimeter security products. Policies will be automatically generated and enforced on an application-specific basis, thereby lowering false positives.