It’s a Jungle Out There. Time for Collaborative Security

September 14, 2016 Nirmal Rajarathnam

In a world of millennials and beyond, modes of communication and interaction are changing for both personal (consumers) and professional (enterprise) users. According to Gartner’s Adaptive Security Architecture1, all digital interactions are bi-directional. People are using more types of devices for seemingly non-stop interaction, with little consideration of how their behavior affects security. Bad guys are leveraging these new communication modes and proliferation of devices to hack into and exploit various assets in interesting and creative ways.

Let’s put ourselves in bad guys’ mindsets to understand how these attacks happen. Typically, they go after weak points, kind of like in nature: they attack the points of least resistance and prey on the vulnerable. In tech terms, the following weak points are threat vectors:

  1. Network
  2. Endpoint
  3. Application
  4. User
  5. Data

Legacy security products usually focus on one of these weak points. But, that is more of a siloed approach. While there are new approaches to combat using patterns and behaviors to cover these intersection points, they are not sufficient. The ideal way to secure your digital assets in this environment is by protecting these threat vectors.

I’ll share a childhood folktale to illustrate the approach. There were several cows near a village that would graze the green pastures next to the jungle. There was a hungry lion in the jungle that was always in search of an easy meal. Every time, a cow would wander off alone, the lion would attack and kill the cow for its delicious dinner. The remaining cows discussed a strategy to stay alive and avert the lion’s attack. Okay, these were very intelligent and collaborative cattle. ;-) They decided to always stay together facing all directions while grazing in this pasture so that no single cow could be blindsided. As they went to the pasture to graze, the lion came to attack. This time, since they all stood together as a unified group, they all fought off and chased away the lion. The moral of this story is “united we stand, divided we fall.” This is the concept of collaborative security.

ForeScout’s ControlFabric® Architecture is based on this same collaborative concept. ControlFabric is a state-of-the-art, extensible architectural framework that allows true integration and workflow automation among various security vendors—covering different aspects of the above-mentioned threat vectors. By sharing security insights among these tools they work together to provide unified protection.


1 Designing an Adaptive Security Architecture for Protection From Advanced Attacks, Gartner, Inc. February 12, 2014

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