I just finished reading a wonderful piece by top notch analyst and thought leader, Rich Mogull entitled “Tidal Forces: The Trends Tearing Apart Security As We Know It.” I am very impressed with his astute observations on the “Tidal Forces” that are causing the security market to rapidly change, with the potential for full implosion. His analysis of the increase of built in security at the endpoint, movement to SaaS, and the demise of the datacenter resulting in the rise of IaaS/PaaS, provides a view into how security has yet to change to meet these undeniable forces. Before you continue on go read his post for background.
I am occasionally asked why Signal Sciences has been as successful as we have, and what it is that we have managed to tap into that other vendors haven’t addressed. Rich’s piece discusses a couple of the same shifts that have been core to the Signal Sciences vision, specifically the enterprise shift to cloud and SaaS systems.
The web security market, which is made up of technology offerings such as SAST, DAST, WAF, and SDLC, targets the security of web applications that exist in the traditional datacenter with traditional development lifecycle methodologies. In general, these technologies have been “feature complete” for nearly a decade.
Well guess what… in the last decade, the systems and processes that web security technologies are designed to secure has shifted underneath them, moving the security market to a new playing field.
Just like the endpoint security space changed with the built-in security of the mobile device, the development lifecycle was disrupted by DevOps and Agile methodologies. Similarly, as the data center shifted to PaaS and IaaS, and enterprises adopted SaaS services, the concept of the perimeter, and using network choke points as a natural location for security controls, has been eliminated.
Why haven’t web application security vendors taken these changes into account and adapted how they do business. Because it’s a fundamental shift in how their service offerings are built, from business model to technical core. It’s just plain HARD!
Other vendors in the space have had to adapt what they currently have in order to address these changes. It’s always harder to adapt your technology to chase a major “Tidal Force” than it is to build new technology the right way, from scratch. This is fundamentally why traditional technology companies do so many acquisitions of young upstart companies.
Another interesting shift in the technology landscape that is changing security is the move to Agile, DevOps, and a rapid pace of deployment. Web application technologies that target the old SDLC models fall down under the weight of this shift. Web application security must execute during runtime without additional latency to the application stack. Auditing your code using SAST technologies and scanning your production system with DAST is great, and still required, but falls a distant second to knowing “in real time” what attacks are happening in your environment against what portions of your application and at the end of the day, which of them are successful.
As we continue to speed up deployment and the development lifecycle, we will continue to apply pressure to SAST and DAST technologies to innovate and change.
Here at Signal Sciences we built our technology and vision on these fundamental shifts from day one. We are built on the fact that these “Tidal Forces” have changed how security vendors do business and what it is that the customer really needs. We pride ourselves on making sure that we stay in front of the “Tidal Forces” as they continue to evolve the security technology landscape.