Announcing the Trapize Secure Digital Services Broker for Simplifying Enterprise API Security

API security is a hot topic across enterprises of all types in the digital economy. Understanding what data is authorized to go where is not enough to address data loss prevention. It is critical for security administrators to know what data is being passed internally and with business partners, particularly as malicious ‘bad actors’ get more sophisticated. The next step in the evolution of this market is a turnkey product that can manage API security in real-time that is independent of platform (cloud, hybrid, premise), and simple for security administrators.

The team is excited to announce the release of the Trapize Secure Digital Services Broker (SDSB) that offers security administrators a single turnkey product that simplifies API and microservices security. While there are many disparate API security tools on the market, Trapize has productized and improved the functionality into a complete cohesive product.

Until today, API security tools fell into three primary market categories:

  1. Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB) – focus is on API security between an enterprise and cloud hosted services such as O365, SFDC, ADP. They rely in part on the cloud providers API security capabilities. A few examples of CASB vendors include Forcepoint and Skyhigh.
  2. API Management Platforms – focus is on creating, publishing, and protecting an API. Development teams who create APIs that are consumed both internally and externally rely on these tools as they write their applications. A few example API management vendors include Apigee, CA, and Mulesoft.
  3. Proxy Management – focus is on decrypting all enterprise traffic, scanning, and reporting on any anomalies. Different solutions are typically used for different types of traffic – web, email, chat. A few examples of proxy management vendors include Symantec/Bluecoat, Barracuda, and Zscaler. 

While each of these tools has their strengths, no single tool does it all until now. Figure 1 below compares the functionality of each of these tools against the new Trapize SDSB.

Key features of the Trapize Secure Digital Services Broker:

  1. Complete Product – plug & play installation and a simple, but effective product to be used by security administrators
  2. Real-time – ensuring that all data performance, governance, and compliance requirements are done in real-time
  3. Analytics – discover, map, and classification of data is done automatically, and this intelligence leads to the effectiveness of this solution
  4. Security Enforcement – while an API call may include 100s of different data fields, instead of denying the entire call, the data that needs to be tokenized or redacted can be done in real-time without breaking or modifying the application

Deployment scenarios, where we bring value to our customers:

  • API security on all external connections. Many enterprise security groups struggle managing shadow IT, for example managing all AWS accounts. AWS has tools such as Macie for API management, however, Macie must be turned on first for these tools to work.  Enterprises can have hundreds of test/dev accounts that can leak data that the security team is not aware of. The Trapize SDSB provides immediate value by delivering API security on all external connections.
  • Real-time security enforcement with analytics. Containers and microservices are all the rage and TLS connections are established between them, but this approach is lacking. The Trapize SDSB provides immediate value by delivering a turnkey API platform across the entire environment that can do real-time security enforcement — with analytics and monitoring — that empowers security administrators to control where what data goes.

 

Network Security Architecture in a Digital World

As businesses evolve and expand their digital footprint it has become clear that users and applications are everywhere.  So too are the APIs and microservices that are producing and consuming data from thousands of sources.  This vastness is driving enterprises to add data security compliance to the list of network security functions.

Everyone knows that hackers exploit the weakest point within an ecosystem and then use it to gain access to higher value targets.  The digital hacker has learned how to bypass a standard security stack, by working within an allowed network connection and acting “normally” to avoid detection and to spoof an application firewall.  For instance, if a hacker gets access to an enterprises’ partner system and uses a trusted encrypted connection to gain access to an enterprises system, a next generation firewall and IPS have trouble identifying this.

Therefore, with continued exploits, application security is not enough to manage data security, so enterprise network security is being asked to move further up the OSI stack to help ensure sensitive data does not unintentionally leave the organization.  This would address IT’s challenge of protecting sensitive data as it is exposed to more partners, mobile users, IoT devices, and applications which often resides outside of the direct control of enterprise IT.

The one thing that enterprise IT still has control of is the enterprise network, and through a next generation security architecture, enterprise IT can still ensure that sensitive data does not leave the company without permission.  This new network security architecture for a digital world includes the following:

  1. Zero Trust Networking – No users or applications on a network should be able to talk to each other without an explicit policy that allows them.  Whitelist routing means eliminating default routes and broadcast domains and using the first packet of a new session to ensure approved access to the requested resource, whether that be another user or application.
  2. Encryption –  As part of not trusting anyone or anything on the network, encrypting data-at-rest is not good enough.  As such, all data in motion should be encrypted end-to-end, from user to application.  TLS is the most common way of doing this and the latest 1.3 release promises to make this even more secure.
  3. Data Security – Network intelligence that decrypts a TLS session to ensure enterprise data identity, access controls, and compliance requirements.  This includes being able to identify and classify data plus tokenizing or redacting sensitive data and creating anomaly alerts.

To enforce the above architecture, a combination of network routers with tunnels, firewalls, proxies, and digital service brokers must be used.  Figure 1 shows this next generation network security stack in reference to the OSI model layers 3-7.

Layers 3-7 - Network Security Functions

Figure 1. OSI Model Layers 3-7 – Network Security Functions

Secure Digital Services Brokers (SDSBs) are new to the market and decrypt, analyze and act, and then re-encrypts traffic flowing through a network.  The SDSBs functions include:

  • Identification – Automatically identifying data through natural language and numeric algorithms such as social security, credit card, and passport numbers.
  • Classification – Indexing the data and categorizing it into groups which enterprise governance rules can be used to determine how to treat the data
  • Tokenization or Redaction – For data that is determined to be sensitive or private, an additional level of encryption can be applied, or the data can be altogether deleted
  • Anomaly Detection – Creating a baseline of what data is going where, setting thresholds, and generating real-time alerts when thresholds are exceeded
  • Logging – Keeping records of what data went were for tracking and auditing
  • Analytics – Ability to create customized reports

As regulations continue to expand their requirements, such as PCI 3.3 and GDPR, this too will drive enterprises to seek help from their network security team in managing data security.  The blame game is over and everyone in the enterprise is accountable for data security; including enterprise IT network security.

Learn more about the Trapize Secure Digital Services Broker (SDSB) user interface concepts by viewing our short product demo.

Top 4 compliance lessons I learned from the movie “The Blob”

You probably know the storyline, a mysterious Blob creature crashes to earth via a meteorite and two teens (Steve McQueen & Aneta Corsaut) head out to investigate. Along the way they run into an elderly man who has a weird blob attached to his arm. They take him to the doctor’s office, and then go to find out what happened. From there, the Blob begins spreading through the town and eating everyone in its path.

The Blob, a horrifying monster from the 1950’s sci-fi era, is much like its software namesake BLOB (Binary Large Object) that lives on today in modern digital services – albeit no longer binary.

Here’s four compliance lessons I was reminded when watching The Blob:

  1. Compliance fact #1: an enterprise has the same amount of risk associated with how it handles data it receives as it does for data it is sending.   Blob fact #1: if you touch the Blob, you’ve got the Blob and there is no ‘do over’.
  2. Compliance fact #2: even if the enterprise really didn’t intend to receive the data, HIPAA and GDPR regulations require that same diligent care be given to any sensitive data no matter how it enters the enterprise. Blob fact #2: even if you didn’t intend on touching the Blob, once you’ve come in contact you’re exposed.
  3. Compliance fact #3:  often when an application needs to access a single innocuous piece of data, a large complex data structure that holds the item is returned.  Blob fact #3:  the Blob may appear to be small as it creeps under the doorway, don’t be fooled, the Blob is massive.
  4. Compliance fact #4: an application may log or otherwise save the BLOB data without ever realizing how sensitive that surrounding data is. This exposes the enterprise to risk that was not immediately apparent given the nature of the application or digital service. Blob fact #4:  While the Blob starts off small and appears innocuous, once exposed to human contact it’s painful (It’s first victim is heard moaning ‘it hurts…it hurts’). From there the viewer is convinced and frightened of the risk.

Don’t be like the townsfolk and heed the learnings from this movie: don’t overlook compliance when handling data.

The Trapize Digital Service Broker high-performance proxy provides visibility to all data that is crossing the enterprise boundary.  All elements of the BLOB are inspected, tokenized and optionally redacted.  Alerts and alarms can be attached to sensitive data that crosses the enterprise boundary in either direction so we can warn the townsfolk (I mean enterprise).

Think of Trapize as your digital “Steve McQueen” who is helping to protect your data from the risks and exposures you might not believe in before it’s too late.

Digital service monitoring, compliance & governance “The Jetson’s”-style

Back in the golden age of cartoons – at least my golden age – there was a company called “Spacely Space Sprockets, Inc.” that employed the well-meaning, yet stressed at times George Jetson. Many an episode included the company and how they used advancements in technology to outperform their competition “Cogswell Cogs”.   When employees showed up for their hard day’s work, they only needed to push a button once to start and stop things.  To this day, I have no actual idea what they made, but I have come to realize that this is how the best technology ends up working.

If you look at the march of technology in the security space, not only has it become more sophisticated, the deployment has become increasingly frictionless. Today’s IT professionals have adopted the model of not needing to deeply understand the underlying products they support, they just need to understand the risks it might pose to the enterprise.  From there they can then implement the simplest, most cost-effective solution to mitigate that risk.

No IT professional would be expected to understand the intricacies of an operating system to deploy a virus scanner.  It would be unreasonable to expect your IT department to write custom code that opened every packet entering a system, inspect the packet for intent, then write code to apply rules to handle that particular packet.  No matter how good the tools that you give them are, “slow and costly” is not the mantra for any modern IT department.

Many API management companies would have you believe that is state-of-the-art technology for secure enterprise digital services. Their tools are designed for programmers by programmers. Implicit in this design is the fact that you need to have deep understanding of a service to properly protect your enterprise.  No matter how many cool tools and drag and drop GUI’s they provide, your IT staff better have a programming degree and be willing to dedicate a couple of months’ time to implement even the most basic solution.  An inescapable truism in the IT world is that time is directly proportional to cost and complexity of the solution being deployed.

At Trapize, our digital services broker makes you a modern-day George Jetson. The enterprise IT staff never needs to understand the service and is never exposed to sensitive company or personal information. Our catalog currently supports over 1000 of the most popular digital services in use today. Browse our catalog, pick a service, then click a button.  Monitoring, compliance, and governance with a single click of the mouse.  Not only should it be that easy, now it is.

Decoding vendor conferences

“Developer Conference,” two words that should alarm all enterprises as they begin looking for solutions to manage their growing digital transformation investments. Having been around the high-tech industry for many years, this is vendor code for: “We have built a product that is so complicated that we need to teach you how to use it before you to get any value out of it.”   There is also the slightly less daunting “Users Conference” – just a notch below the Developer Conference – where it’s unlikely you’ll be writing any custom software to effectively use a vendor’s product, here you should expect to spend a lot of time learning to configure said product correctly.

The team here at Trapize is dedicated to solving the hard problems facing businesses undergoing their digital transformation. So, if you’re looking to get a free conference vacation in a balmy location this year to learn our product, you should stop reading now. If your enterprise has $100K+ in budget surplus to get some developers working on securing each digital service you need for your digital transformation, look somewhere else. If your IT department loves the intellectual challenge of spending weeks tweaking complicated configuration, we here at Trapize do not have the product you are looking for. But, if your enterprise is looking to add compliance, governance and monitoring of the digital services you are using with a single click of the mouse, then we should definitely talk.

As we enter our public beta in the early fall, the Trapize API proxy currently supports over 2,000 of the most popular digital services in use by businesses today. We have profiled thousands of digital services and provided a powerful set of one-click controls for an enterprise to quickly control and monitor digital services crossing their perimeter.

If you would like to see a demo, reach out and let us know. It’s really, really brief – unlike those Conferences – so you can get back to enjoying your busy afternoon (golf, baseball, kid’s soccer, we won’t tell).

Cold War ethics: ‘trust but verify’ for microservices oversight of critical data flows

End-to-end encryption is becoming a popular industry trend while at the same time causing nightmares for the IT department. With the emergence of SD-WAN technology and other private routing strategies, it is getting easier for enterprises to fully direct and encrypt traffic flow between application servers within the enterprise and between an enterprise and its business partners.

While there is no argument over the need to keep private data private, the question becomes who are you keeping it private from?

Increasingly applications are being built using a distributed set of microservices. These services fall into three broad categories:

  1. microservices the enterprise built for themselves,
  2. microservices built by third party contractors hired by the enterprise, and
  3. microservices the enterprise consumes from the public cloud.

This collection of disparate microservices is making it difficult for enterprises to know what information is being exchanged as the application fragments collaborate to build a cohesive solution.

As we were beginning to form Trapize, I had a conversation with a CIO who stated their data center was built out of microservices that they mostly subcontracted out to third parties. Yet given the level of encryption between services, the CIO/IT team/enterprise had no real way of knowing or understanding the data that was flowing across – or out of – their network. While the applications worked, this enterprise had managed to create a data super-highway that was private…even to themselves.

At Trapize, we think the cold-war mantra of ‘trust but verify’ still applies. It is critical for an enterprise to understand the underlying data that is moving in and out of their network. Very few enterprises would bypass email or message scanning but many today have no visibility into the critical data flows from systems they know have access to private or sensitive data. We have built a security proxy designed to specifically address this new threat surface.  Check us out.

Sizzle versus simple: what’s your approach to digital transformation?

We here at Trapize spend a lot of time talking to businesses that are beginning to transform themselves into modern digital enterprises.  Most of what we talk about revolves around the sizzle topics: compliance, governance, and data loss prevention (DLP).  While those are great topics to address, it is important to remember that the simple things matter too.

When an enterprise is choosing to consume a digital service, an implicit contract is made with the service provider that the particular service remains both available and reliable.   More and more we hear of enterprises requiring service level agreements (SLAs) for services that are now crucial in the day to day operation of their business.   A complete service outage – or even a consistent delay in processing requests – can have a disastrous, sometimes cascading effect on internal business systems.  Even if a service is moving data packets in and out, it is crucial to have a view that shows the service is actually performing the task the business is paying for.

The modern digital enterprise needs a way to effectively monitor, ensure availability, and measure the performance and functionality of the services it has built the business around.

The Trapize Digital Services Broker (DSB) monitors the performance of all the digital services within an enterprise.   Built-in support for secure socket layer inspection (SSLi) allows the DSB to not just ensure that encrypted data packets are flowing in the network but to also inspect the flow for service functionality.  The DSB monitors and understands the service response time and actual responses to ensure the service is positively performing as expected and not just passing packets around.  Reports summarize the use of a service by requests and responses and monitor the service on a packet-by-packet basis for latency, delays, and service faults in the encrypted tunnels.  Alerts and alarms can be tied to these metrics allowing the business to quickly identify service issues and quickly rectify them before critical services fail.

Proverbs: how to become a cloud-based digital service expert using Trapize, no fishing required

As a business transforms itself into a digital enterprise by consuming cloud services, the IT department may feel as if they are being dragged along for the ride.  Gone are the days when an IT department’s sole concern was the management of firewalls, email, VPN’s, and more.

Today’s IT departments are now being asked to not only evaluate digital services but also determine the risks that those services may pose to the enterprise.  With the services running through a ‘pinhole’ in a firewall or via some encrypted, tunneling technology, the IT department must secure the access while also understanding the underlying data that is being exposed.

Every digital service that an enterprise exposes itself to causes the corporate IT staff to become an expert in a new application domain.  An enterprise either chooses to assign staff to help IT understand the applications (“give the man a fish…”) or begin the process of training the IT staff on the applications (“teach them to fish…”).

We’ve found that when it comes to our customer’s digital services, they don’t want to deal with fishing at all.  They instead want to sit down to enjoy a nice trout almandine.  The Trapize Digital Services Broker can make that a reality with built-in service intelligence.

The built-in tokenizing data vault allows the network management and IT staff teams to monitor and control application performance without being exposed to any sensitive business data. The Trapize inline proxy delivers profiles of popular digital services that allows the IT department to both monitor the performance of the service at the application level and enforce compliance and governance controls without becoming application experts.

Et tu, Brute? Are firewalls and SD-WANS enough protection when using cloud APIs?

As enterprises are rapidly transforming their businesses with cloud-based digital services that are being driven by APIs, they are starting to realize more and more, that their firewall is providing less and less protection.  Interestingly, it’s not that the firewall technology has gotten noticeably poorer, it’s that today’s data streams are bypassing this traditional security model altogether.

Enterprises are beginning to realize – many with surprise and dismay – the need to shift their security model away from sessions being managed by a firewall to a more application-centric control model like a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN).  These new software architectures enable IT to replace older tunneling technology – like multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) – and quickly build dynamic connections with trusted partners.

All good so far. The problem now becomes: Do you trust your friends?

For businesses to achieve regulated compliance and internal governance, they need to have positive controls over all digital transactions, specifically the “5 Ws” – What, Who, When, Why, Where. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter if you shared corporate data with your partners via a simple HTTPS session via the firewall or routed that data over a new private connection.  The question a corporate compliance or governance officer needs to answer is: Should that data have been shared in the first place?

So, while we probably could not have helped Julius Caesar with his problems of betrayal, the Trapize proxy can help our customers ensure that as your protected data passes to and from your partners, that your business retains full control while engaging in the API economy.

Is Shadow IT going to sink your enterprise?

We’ve all heard the saying “loose lips sink ships” and now imagine how that translates to enterprise data, where sometimes exchanging sensitive data with a partner is a good thing, sometimes not so much.

Today we’re finding that corporate infrastructures at most large enterprises have sprung more than a few leaks.  This situation has been driven by the rise of cloud-based digital services, where corporate IT is under increasing pressure to open ‘pin holes’ in a firewall or add DNS exceptions to satisfy business needs.

Unfortunately, this is a risky approach that could compromise the safety and integrity of the enterprise network, particularly since the term ‘pin hole’ implies a small, manageable exception to the otherwise rigid controls that a firewall supplies.  In reality, this couldn’t be further from the actual risk introduced with this approach.

With every pin hole or exception added, a ‘digital waterway’ is created where data can flow in and out of the enterprise.  Adding another layer of complication, this data is often encrypted so centralized compliance and governance solutions have no visibility into these streams.  This has given rise to the popular term “shadow IT”, where core IT has ceded control of previously protected corporate data to the line of business application using cloud-based digital services.  All in all, a pretty perilous situation and unacceptable to regulators who provide oversight.

While some cloud security solutions gaining in popularity today think that scanning for data that has left your enterprise gives you control, we think having the right tools – a sound strategy and navigational instruments – is a safer approach.

So why are enterprises putting their data at risk?

At Trapize, we have built an in-line proxy that not only decrypts this data, ours has a packet-by-packet deep understanding of the data in an application flow.  So, as data enters or leaves the enterprise perimeter, Trapize can apply policies on a service-by-service basis.  It’s a better approach to keep your enterprise afloat.