/ Unified Security Guide / Chapter 2: Cloud-delivered security

Cloud-delivered security

If you’re transitioning to the cloud or onboarding remote employees for the first time, meeting the demands of a hybrid workplace model can be a challenge without the proper security measures in place. To secure your in-office and remote users, end-user devices, and your underlying infrastructure, it’s important to implement a centralized cloud-delivered security stack with Zero Trust.

By integrating a single, fully managed cloud security stack from a unified security vendor, you can provide a better and more effective web security solution that is scalable, distributed, and offers robust protection. This allows you to prevent both internal and external threats across all users and devices, including reducing your overall risk for web-based threats like malware (ransomware), zero-day attacks targeting common operating systems (OS) and apps, and browser-based threats like trojans from malicious websites.

Compared to on-premises and siloed security tools, a consolidated cloud-delivered security stack provides wide-reaching benefits that will help you on your journey toward the cloud. Below, we will cover the real-world benefits of a cloud-delivered security stack, how it compares to data center security, and how you can easily partner with a security vendor to implement a cloud-delivered security solution that protects your information and your users, as well as provides a uniform application experience.

Why is a centralized cloud-delivered security solution beneficial?

Traditional on-premises security environments typically feature “decentralized” management while enforcement points are centralized, which means all traffic must be backhauled to data centers. On top of the latency this creates, organizations are deploying multiple fragmented cybersecurity tools that lead to management and control inefficiencies.

Currently, small organizations are using 15 to 20 cybersecurity tools, medium-sized businesses are using 50 to 60, and large organizations or enterprises are using over 130. Each of these tools comes with hidden costs, including the investments needed to manage them and train employees on how they operate. Additionally, disjointed security strategies across an organization can result in too many false-positive alerts, not enough information, and ineffective responses to threats.

With a consolidated cloud-delivered security solution, management is "centralized" while the enforcements points are decentralized and distributed, which is a much more effective way to provide security closer to the user and to the apps. IT teams also gain efficiencies in vendor management by focusing on just one vendor to deploy multiple security policies across an entire network.

This minimizes redundant tasks, removes overlapping policies, and allows IT to monitor and track user activities across all apps, devices, and locations from a centralized dashboard. In addition, it allows in-house IT teams to focus on value-driven work, rather than reigning in security solutions from different vendors at multiple sites.

Other benefits of a robust cloud-delivered security solution from an experienced security vendor include:

1. Cybersecurity expertise

The shortage of in-house cybersecurity expertise is forcing businesses to continue using older security technologies, which is a bottleneck for modernizing IT. When you partner with an experienced security vendor for a cloud-delivered security solution, you gain access to highly skilled cybersecurity experts, advanced AI, and machine learning (ML) technology that can help your business navigate through cloud security challenges. This ensures you follow cloud security best practices—including adhering to strict government policies—without the need for in-house cloud security professionals.

2. Global availability

Security vendors with global network availability allow you to implement cloud-native security solutions near your end users. This ensures you offer lower latency, provide governance and compliance to local regulations, and enable security to be enforced closer to the user. Geographic availability also simplifies customer support and gives your organization options to purchase from a local partner or a distributor.

3. Customized security solutions

An experienced security vendor can work with you to define a cloud-delivered security solution that meets the needs of your hybrid workforce. This allows you to incorporate an ecosystem of technology integrations that work with your current infrastructure investments, including existing firewalls, routers, or SD-WAN edges. Additionally, your vendor should provide access to tools that allow you to establish a secure access service edge (SASE) architecture at your own pace.

Cloud-delivered security vs. data center security

Cloud-delivered security offers several advantages over data center security, especially when it comes to mitigating your risk for web-based, browser-based, and zero-day attacks. Additionally, the costs associated with scaling, managing, and maintaining physical security hardware in a data center can be extremely expensive.

With cloud-delivered security, you have access to a flexible solution that allows you to easily scale up or down resources based on your unique business needs—which makes it possible to defend against modern-day threats or security breaches. Cloud-based solutions also do not require large up-front investments in costly equipment or physical infrastructure, such as load balancers or hardware firewalls.

Replacing on-premises SWG, DLP controls and Anti-Malware appliances

Organizations typically provide remote application access through an on-premises VPN, but SWGs and URL filtering are needed to ensure users remain safe while disconnected from the VPN—including while accessing SaaS or anything on the Internet. These SWGs are typically set up as stand-alone environments without compatible workflows, reporting, or logging with other security solutions. Additionally, VPNs do not provide protection against web-based, browser-based, or zero-day attacks. In fact, they allow users to directly access the Internet apps, without controls to monitor user activity or protect users from Internet and browser-based threats.

Unfortunately, when two different standalone products like VPNs and SWGs operate in silos, it can lead to increased complexity over time. Organizations can often end up with multiple disjointed security solutions, which make their infrastructure less effective. With a centralized cloud-delivered security solution, however, you can establish a unified, scalable, and VPN-less security infrastructure with SWGs in the cloud, rather than using a traditional on-premises strategies. This allows you to control application access, secure user and device connections, and safeguard all application traffic from internet-based threats from one convenient platform.

How to integrate centralized cloud-delivered security

Integrating a cloud-delivered security solution starts with selecting a security vendor that suits your business’s infrastructure needs. Fortunately, this process is not as complex, slow, or expensive as sourcing an on-premises security solution, as there is no hardware to physically install or manage.

At Citrix, we are the only consolidated security vendor to provide a complete cloud-delivered security stack—as well as procurement, implementation, training, and tech support—that includes solutions like powerful SD-WAN automations that simplify connectivity with branch locations, Zero Trust network access (ZTNA), and securing digital workspaces.

Citrix Secure Internet Access

With Citrix Secure Internet Access (SIA), you can integrate an intelligent cloud-delivered security stack that provides application access using direct internet access (DIA). This provides controls that help secure direct communication and monitor user traffic —all without hurting performance or creating an unpredictable application experience for your users. Citrix SIA provides globally distributed points of presence (PoP) that include:

Secure web gateways (SWGs)

SWGs allow your IT teams to apply comprehensive content control policies—including URL filtering, anti-malware protection, and application control—to ensure users are productive and secure.

Data loss prevention (DLP) software

DLP software prevents sensitive data (e.g., customer credit card numbers or social security numbers) from being lost, exfiltrated, or accessed by unauthorized users.

Malware protection with sandboxing

Sandboxing uses a secure and isolated environment to safely execute suspicious code. For example, IT teams could run suspected malware or a zero-day threat code in a sandbox without it affecting other applications in your network.

Anomaly detection with firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS)

FWaaS acts as a gatekeeper between your enterprise network and the Internet through bidirectional (ingress and egress) controls that only allow trusted, secure traffic to pass through. FWaaS can also integrate with machine learning-based analytics tools to provide robust anomaly threat protection.

Cloud access security brokers (CASB)

CASB provides security points between your organization and cloud service providers. This ensures your IT teams can monitor, secure, and manage access to sanctioned and unsanctioned SaaS applications and other cloud-based resources.

Remote Browser Isolation

Citrix Secure Browser service enables your workforce to browse the web without any limitations while you keep your corporate network safe from browser-based attacks. Through this cloud-hosted browser, you can provide consistent, secure remote access to Internet links providing a secure way to access both whitelist and graylist URLs.

Implement a full-stack cloud-delivered security solution with Citrix

With Citrix’s full-stack, fully managed cloud-delivered security solution, you gain access to a globally distributed security solution that provides you with robust protection at your service edge. This ensures your users and devices stay protected against internal and external threats—including browser-based threats like malware and zero-day attacks. It also provides a streamlined application experience for both in-office and remote employees, and helps you avoid significant investments that physical security hardware in a data center requires.

FAQs

Why is a centralized cloud-delivered security solution beneficial?

Traditional on-premises security environments typically feature “decentralized” management while enforcement points are centralized, which means all traffic must be backhauled to data centers. On top of the latency this creates, organizations are deploying multiple fragmented cybersecurity tools that lead to management and control inefficiencies.

How to integrate centralized cloud-delivered security?

Integrating a centralized cloud-delivered security solution starts with selecting a security vendor that suits your business’s infrastructure needs. Fortunately, this process is not as complex, slow, or expensive as sourcing an on-premises security solution, as there is no hardware to physically install or manage.