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Segmenting Users on AWS WorkSpaces – Yes It’s a Thing, and Yes, You Should Be Doing It!

I recently came across a Guardicore financial services customer that had a very interesting use case. They were looking to protect their Virtual Desktop (VDI) environment, in the cloud.

The customer’s setup is a hybrid cloud: it has legacy systems that include bare metal servers, Solaris and some old technologies on-premises. It also utilizes many Virtual environments such as VMware ESX, Nutanix and Openstack.

Concurrently with this infrastructure, the customer has started using AWS and Azure and plans to use containers in these platforms, but has not yet committed to anything specific.

One interesting element to see, was how the customer was migrating its on-premises Citrix VDI environment to AWS workspaces. The customer was happy using AWS workspaces and had therefore decided to migrate to using them in full production. AWS workspaces were especially useful for our customer since the majority of its users work remotely, and it was so much easier to have those users working with an AWS WorkSpace than relying on the on-premises, Citrix environment.

So, what is an AWS WorkSpace anyway?

In Forrester’s Now Tech: Cloud Desktops, Q4 2019 report, cloud desktops and their various offerings are discussed. Forrester states that “you can use cloud desktops to improve employee experience (eX), enhance workforce continuity, and scale business operations rapidly.” This is exactly what our customer was striving to achieve with AWS WorkSpaces.

AWS Desktops are named “Amazon WorkSpaces”, and they are a Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution that run on either Windows or Linux desktops. AWS provides this pay-as-you-launch service all around the world. According to AWS “Amazon WorkSpaces helps you eliminate the complexity in managing hardware inventory, OS versions and patches, and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), which helps simplify your desktop delivery strategy. With Amazon WorkSpaces, your users get a fast, responsive desktop of their choice that they can access anywhere, anytime, from any supported device.”

To get started with AWS workspaces click here.

Our customer was using AWS WorkSpaces and scaling their utilization rapidly. This resulted in a need to add a security layer to these cloud desktops. In AWS when users access the WorkSpaces, upon access, they are automatically assigned a workspace, and a dynamic IP. Controlling this access is challenging using traditional network segmentation solutions that are IP based. Thus, our customer was looking for a solution with the following features:

    • Visibility:
      • First and foremost within the newly adopted cloud platform
      • Secondly, not just an understanding of traffic between legacy systems on-premises and in the cloud individually, but visibility into inter-platform communications, too.
    • Special attention for Amazon WorkSpaces:
      • User-level protection: Controlling which users from AWS workspaces should and could interact with the various applications the customer owned, on-premises or in the cloud.
      • Single policy across hybrid-cloud: What was once implemented on-premises alone, now needed to be implemented in the cloud, and not only in the cloud, but cross cloud to on-premises applications. The customer was looking for simplicity, a single tool to control all policies across any environment.

Tackling this Use Case with Guardicore Centra

Our customer evaluated several solutions, for visibility, segmentation and user identity management.The customer eventually choose Guardicore Centra, for the ability to deliver all of the above, from a single pane of glass, and do so swiftly and simply.

Guardicore was able to provide visibility of all workloads, on premises or in the cloud, across virtual, bare metal and cloud environments, including all assets, giving our customer the governance they needed of all traffic and flows, including between environments.

On top of visibility, Centra allowed an unprecedented amount of control for the customer. Guardicore policies were set to control and enforce allowed traffic and add an additional layer of user identity policies to control which users from the AWS workspaces could talks to which on-premises applications. As mentioned previously, upon access to AWS workspaces, users are automatically assigned a workspace, with a dynamic IP. Thus traditional tools that are IP based are inadequate, and do not provide the flexibility needed to control these user’s access. In contrast, Guardicore Centra enables creating policies based on the user’s identity to the datacenter and applications, regardless of IP or WorkSpace.

 

Where Guardicore Centra Stands Apart from the Competition

Guardicore Centra provides distributed, software-based segmentation, enabling user identity access management. This enables additional control of the network, among any workloads.

Centra enables creating policy rules based on the identity of the logged in user. Identities are pulled from the organizational Active Directory integrated with Centra. Centra requires no network changes and no downtime or reboot of systems. Policies are seamlessly created, and take real time effect, controlling new and active sessions alike.

This use case is just one example of how Guardicore Centra simplifies segmentation, and enables customers fine-grained visibility and control. Centra allows an enterprise to control user’s access anywhere, setting policy that applies even when multiple users are logged in at the same time to the same system, as well as managing third party, administrators and network users’ access to the network.

Want to learn more about securing and monitoring critical assets and applications on AWS? Join our live webinar with AWS on Thursday, December 12th at 1:00pm Eastern.
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Guardicore Infection Monkey for Zero Trust

Guardicore Labs provided assistance in a ransomware investigation. We analysed the decryption process of the IEncrypt ransomware and provided a safe-to-use version of the attackers’ decryptor.

Guardicore Enables Secure Rapid Container Deployment

Guardicore Centra Security Platform Reduces Compliance Risks, Enforces Security Policies Within Containerized Applications and Workloads

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Industry Innovators 2017 – Virtualization and Cloud-Based Security

GuardiCore is featured in SC Magazine Industry Innovators 2017 – Virtualization and Cloud-Based Security. Last year SC Magazine said GuardiCore “… was founded with the vision that security for the data center needs to not only be able to keep up with the rate of constant change, but also be able to close the gap between traditional security technology and a sophisticated threat actor’s ingenuity.” This year GuardiCore is taking this notion to the next level by moving to the next generation of cloud application technology: micro-segmentation. This technique provides better detection because it provides better visibility.

Securing VDI with GuardiCore Centra

The Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) continues to gain popularity among our customers due to its many advantages and benefits when deployed within the modern data center infrastructure. However, those deployments lack some of the capabilities that are needed to address the threats that are introduced when moving away from hardware desktops to a virtual environment. Thus, many organizations are still hesitating about VDI in view of security concerns, especially due to the increased attack surface and the fact that endpoint devices, which are vulnerable by nature, share compute resources with the organization’s most critical and important servers inside the data center.

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GuardiCore Centra Provides Visibility, Protection Through Advanced Micro Segmentation

CSO Online takes a look at the GuardiCore Centra Security Platform in this product review.  Says CSO Online: “The GuardiCore Centra solution offers one of the most efficient ways to begin implementing powerful security using micro segmentation. The fact that it is so easy to use, reasonably priced, and can be dropped into any physical or virtual environment is just icing on the cake for this impressive security toolset.”

Who’s Afraid of ETW? GuardiCore Guide to Building a Robust Windows Agent

As true believers in collaboration in the cyber industry, we continue to open a window to our interesting projects. We hope it will benefit the community and encourage others to do the same.  Several months ago we published the source code for our Infection Monkey project and today we are revealing how we built our Windows Agent to support GuardiCore Reveal, the data center and cloud visibility and segmentation policy component of our flagship product, GuardiCore Centra.
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GuardiCore ❤ IPv6

Earlier this month, Amazon announced a long awaited feature – IPv6 support for EC2 instances! Amazon is the first of the three big public cloud providers (together with Microsoft and Google) to offer direct, all-the-way-to-the-instance IPv6 connectivity.

IPv6 makes life easier for AWS deployments. Unlike IPv4 addresses, which are split to private and public ones with a NAT in between, each EC2 instance has only a single, internet routable IPv6 address. No NATs, no complex networking setups – One Address To Rule Them All. This greatly simplifies network deployments, while maintaining the ability to build more complex structures. Amazon also provides a simple way to turn IPv6 addresses to “private only” with an egress-only Internet gateway.

Needless to say, GuardiCore Reveal supports IPv6 out of the box.

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GuardiCore helps security teams see into apps and networks before they segment

The digital business era has brought with it a number of new tools and technologies, such as software-defined networking (SDN), Internet of Things (IoT), mobility and the cloud. These innovations enable businesses to increase their level of dynamism and be more distributed, but they also increase the complexity of securing the business. Old-school security methods and tools do not work in an environment where the perimeter is eroding and resources are becoming more virtual and cloud-centric.

GuardiCore Reveal lets security teams discover, monitor and visualize activity inside the data center, as well as control traffic through micro-segmentation policies.

Visibility Is the Key to Micro-Segmentation

Server and network virtualization, combined with ever-increasing traffic, network speed and server density have created a visibility gap. Administrators simply cannot “see” what is going on deep in their data centers and sophisticated attackers can go undetected for extended periods of time. GuardiCore VP of Marketing Dave Burton explores this issue in this article published in Data Center Dynamics.