QA With VMtech in Australia

Unless you’ve been off the grid, you’re aware we are hosting Ignite 2012, our inaugural user conference, in Las Vegas next week (November 12-14 -- one more week to register!!). What may be interesting to you is during that same week, on the other side of the world, we are also participating at VMware Forum 2012 in Sydney with our partner VMtech.

Those of you who are in the region should check out our joint-session on November 14th at 3 pm entitled “Palo Alto Networks in the Data Centre – Securing Your Private Cloud”. We are excited and honored to have Len Findlay, the Chief Executive Officer of VMtech present at this session. VMtech specializes in data center infrastructure technologies and solutions, and partners with NetApp, VMware, Cisco and Palo Alto Networks to deliver end-to-end secure data center stacks.

I caught up with Len recently to discuss the current state of network security in Australia.

Danelle: What is the vForum, and who should attend?

Len: vForum is the flagship VMware Customer and Partner technology seminar here in Australia, receiving more than 5000 attendees each year. We’ve had great success attending and demonstrating our solutions here for the last few years and would recommend the event to both C-level and technical attendees. The breakout and key note sessions are particularly good and normally host product launches and high profile updates, so always worth attending and getting the latest news.

Danelle: What are some of the biggest security challenges for Aussie businesses today?

Len: A recent article in the local paper “The Australian” quoted the Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, as saying, “Australia is experiencing increasingly sophisticated attempts to infiltrate networks in both the public and private domain”, with more than 65 per cent of the intrusions observed to be economically motivated. As you know, when the threats are economically motivated they are far more difficult to identify using legacy security technologies and architectures leaving Australian businesses vulnerable to modern day attacks. In my opinion, with the upward trend in modern attacks hitting Australia, identifying and remediating the threat is the biggest challenge, and that’s where the Next Generation Firewall technology comes into play.

Danelle: Sounds like it’s very similar to what we’re seeing here as well. Are there any security issues for Aussie businesses that are different from other parts of the world?

Len: The security risks here in Australian businesses are no different than the rest of the world, we’re just a little behind the eight ball, as Next Generation Firewall technology has only been available here in the last couple of years and only now being discovered in the public domain. One area Australia is very strong is in virtualisation of the datacentre. In fact, Australia is the most virtualised nation in the world ‘per capita’ (VMware figures) therefore requiring more complex/automated security mechanisms in place to keep up with the “ever-evolving” environment.

Danelle: How should businesses tackle these challenges?

Len: Businesses need to first identify the traffic traversing the network, allow only what’s needed and by whom, then protect that permitted traffic flow. Sounds simple, but with legacy protection technologies, this is near impossible to implement and for those that do, the management of multiple technologies leaves them in a state of confusion when looking through multiple log files to ascertain the threat.

Danelle: We recently delivered a validated design on Securing FlexPod environments, but I know you’ve been deploying this in many customer environments for some time now. Can you comment on what types of organizations have deployed Secure FlexPods?

Len: We’ve been delivering a service we call “SecurePod” for quite some time. Although a little different from the Palo Alto Networks equivalent, the solution combines technologies from Palo Alto Networks, NetApp, Cisco and VMware to provide a Secure Multi-Tenant environment. We’ve had some great success with this model over the last couple of years delivering the solution to high profile clientele here in Australia. Market segments we’ve seen success in include Government (Local and State), Advertising, Recruitment, Mobile Operator, Utilities, Education and Not-For-Profit.

Danelle: What will you talking about at vForum?

Len: This year, in collaboration with Palo Alto Networks, we have a vForum Gold Booth, and a 30-40 minute presentation slot. We will be presenting some very new and exciting information including the VMtech SecurePod (Palo Alto Networks Secure FlexPod) solution stack for the Australian market.

If you’re going to vForum, do stop by to listen to Len’s presentation.