Key Criteria for Evaluating Cloud Network Security Solutionsv1.0

An Evaluation Guide for Technology Decision-Makers

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Cloud Network Security Primer
  3. Report Methodology
  4. Decision Criteria Analysis
  5. Evaluation Metrics
  6. Key Criteria: Impact Analysis
  7. Analyst’s Take
  8. About Andrew Green

1. Summary

Cloud network security solutions provide a suite of security services for single and multicloud environments to prevent unauthorized traffic, access, modification, misuse, or exposure. These security services are managed through a central platform that can define and enforce security policies at a global level.

Cloud environments use virtual networking constructs to route traffic through an organization’s infrastructure-as-a-service environment. Cloud network security solutions integrate with cloud platforms and virtualization solutions to deploy and orchestrate virtual security appliances that provide visibility, control, and security monitoring.

The elasticity of compute and storage services in cloud environments translates to the networking aspect as well. New virtual networking constructs such as virtual private clouds (VPCs) and virtual networks (VNets) can be spun up and down on demand, making it difficult to continuously manage the security policies of these new environments. This is particularly difficult when environments are distributed across multicloud or hybrid cloud environments, and even more so when third-party cloud networking solutions can define and configure connections across multiple environments via graphical user interfaces (GUIs) or infrastructure as code (IaC).

Cloud network security solutions improve the security posture—they are not meant to respond to incidents or help with threat hunting. Their purpose is to provide visibility over networking constructs and enforce policies at a global, service, and user level.

Cloud network security is not a security appliance. Rather, it is a central orchestration platform that can support visibility and control. This solution is cloud aware and vendor agnostic, meaning that it can be used across multiple providers and managed from the same pane of glass. It can insert services such as firewalls and gateways at appropriate places in the network, but to do so, it must be able to orchestrate functions, whether native constructs such as an AWS transit gateway, the vendor’s proprietary security functions, or third-party appliances that a customer may purchase. Lastly, the solution can aggregate and forward relevant logs to the customer’s solution of choice, such as a security information and events management (SIEM) tool or security data lake.

This is the first year that GigaOm has reported on the cloud network security space in the context of our Key Criteria and Radar reports.

This GigaOm Key Criteria report details the capabilities (table stakes, key criteria, and emerging technologies) and non-functional requirements (evaluation metrics) for selecting an effective cloud network security solution. The companion GigaOm Radar report identifies vendors and products that excel in those capabilities and metrics. Together, these reports provide an overview of the category and its underlying technology, identify leading cloud network security offerings, and help decision-makers evaluate these solutions so they can make a more informed investment decision.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding, consider reviewing the following reports:

Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

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