Feature

Here’s how one company is simplifying secure access in the age of hybrid

With enterprises moving towards hybrid ecosystems, security leaders need to strike the right balance between user experience and the zero-trust approach.

It’s a cloud-native world, and enterprises are either already part of the cloud bandwagon or figuring out their place in it. Research firm Gartner estimates that enterprise IT spend for cloud-based offerings will rise over traditional IT offerings by 2022. Gartner calls it the ‘cloud shift’ across key enterprise IT markets, which is expected to hit the 28 percent mark by 2022, up from 19 percent in 2018. 
    
Undoubtedly, securing hybrid ecosystems is becoming the top concern for IT. For secure access solution provider Pulse Secure, 2018 has been a marquee year. Joe Signorelli, VP, APJ at Pulse Secure, explains, “Last year was a banner year for us. We grew around 47 percent, did tremendously well with our customer success, and clocked an NPS score of 48. The company really resonated with its customer base, not only from a product point of view, but across its solutions and services offerings.” 

Security market – APJ on the radar 

Pulse Secure has made significant inroads in the enterprise. “I like to tell people we are a really big – small company. We are still privately held but if you look at our customer base, it is probably around 22,000. These include some of the largest banks, pharmaceuticals, airlines, manufacturing, insurance, and oil and gas companies. Pulse is present across pretty much every vertical.”

...Insider threats are consistent. As the use of hybrid deployments and cloud-based applications increases, we are going to see insider threats move up the ladder. And it’s not always necessarily malicious, sometimes it could also be a mistake by employees.
Joe Signorelli
VP, APJ at Pulse Secure

APJ (Japan and Korea, China and APAC) was the fastest growing region for Pulse last year. And Signorelli confirms that the company’s business grew around 150 percent in this region compared to other regions. 

Going hybrid? Watch out for insider threats 

Pulse Secure is a 100 percent channel driven organization and it is in the process of rolling out a refreshed partner program.

According to Signorelli, insider threats is one of the biggest challenges that IT and security leaders are starting to face today. “It is a constant challenge. As the use of hybrid deployments and cloud-based applications increases, we are going to see insider threats move up the ladder. And it’s not always necessarily malicious, sometimes it could also be a mistake by employees.” 

The evolving threat and IT architecture is what is driving the product set and vision of the company that was the result of the sale of Juniper Networks’ Junos Pulse portfolio in 2015.

SDP and zero-trust in hybrid IT 

Pulse Secure recently announced its software-defined perimeter (SDP) approach for hybrid IT. “You need to look at access as a way of allowing end users to do the things they need to do, wherever they are. And not only that, it should provide a consistent customer experience irrespective of the device being used. 

“While access is critical, security is equally important and Pulse provides all the right controls to secure this access. This is what Pulse brings to the table, it’s about how we simplify the work, securely,” says Signorelli. 

...Technically, this is a borderless process. You may be accessing the network from the inside or outside, but there’s a controller sitting there which has all the relevant policies. And depending on where you’re coming from, it automatically delivers those policies to the relevant gateways so you have seamless connectivity.
Naveen Rajanna
Country Manager, South Asia at Pulse Secure

He further explains that data is becoming a large part of the revenue generation aspect of the business. So, what happens when there’s a data breach? What is the cost to your business? “In the hybrid world, we are looking at a whole different dimension of security. Zero-trust has been a part of our architecture since the day Pulse was born. We don’t allow anyone into the network until we’ve build a profile,” he says. 

Michael Waring, managing director, APAC at Pulse Secure, adds, “For us the key point is it doesn’t matter whether you are accessing from inside the office or outside the network, we don't trust you until you’ve met certain criteria.” 

...For us the key point is it doesn’t matter whether you are accessing from inside the office or outside the network, we don't trust you until you’ve met certain criteria.
Michael Waring
Managing Director, APAC at Pulse Secure

More importantly, zero-trust means you don’t get into my house until I know who you are. And if I don’t like you, I will push you off into quarantine until I’ve figured you out, explains Signorelli. “Once we’ve built those profiles, we can see behavioral analytical changes in devices and that’s when we can start to shut things down automatically.”

Borderless, seamless connectivity

APJ was the fastest growing region for Pulse last year. Signorelli confirms that the company’s business grew around 150 percent in this region compared to other regions. 

In the software-defined perimeter approach, the controller identifies the user and verifies it against role-based access control and policies managed by it. Naveen Rajanna, country manager, South Asia at Pulse Secure, adds, “Technically, this is a borderless process. You may be accessing the applications and resources from the inside or outside, but there’s a controller which has all the relevant policies, and depending on where you’re coming from, it automatically delivers those policies to the relevant gateways so you have seamless connectivity.” 

According to Rajanna, some of the main adopters of this strategy are large manufacturing facilities spread across a campus. “Pulse can seamlessly transition the session from what was inside to outside. The user experience doesn’t get interrupted and it increases productivity.” 

All customers who have some level of hybrid deployment can take benefit of the new SDP approach. Signorelli explains that the customer may start a NAC solution today, with a strategic vision to adopt SDP maybe three years down the road. Pulse Secure simplifies this process for the customer, so in the future, they don’t have to do a complete upgrade to move to SDP. 

Pulse Secure is a 100 percent channel driven organization and it is in the process of rolling out a refreshed partner program, riding on the success it experienced in 2018.