I had a briefing with Patrick Kerpan and Craig Heimark of CohesiveFT last week in response to some comments that Craig had left on my blog post regarding PCI compliance in the Cloud, here.
I was intrigued, albeit skeptically, with how CohesiveFT was positioning the use of VPNs within the cloud and differentiating their solution from the very well established IPSec and SSL VPN capabilities we all know and love. What's so special about tunnels across the Intertubes? Been there, done that, bought the T-Shirt, right?
So I asked the questions...
I have to say that unlike many other companies rushing to associate their brand by rubber cementing the word "cloud" and "security" onto their product names and marketing materials, CohesiveFT spent considerable time upfront describing what they do not do so as to effectively establish what they are and what they do. I'll let one of their slides do the talking:
Okay, so they're not a cloud, but they provide cloud and virtualization services...and VPN-Cubed provides some layer of security along with their products and services...check. But...
Digging a little deeper, I still sought to understand why I couldn't just stand up an IPSec tunnel from my corporate datacenter to one or more cloud providers where my assets and data were hosted. I asked for two things: (1) A couple of sentences summarizing their elevator pitch for VPN-Cubed and (2) a visual representation of what this might look like.
Here's what I got as an answer to question (1):
Here are two great visuals to address question (2):
So the differences between a typical VPN and VPN-Cubed comes down to being able to securely extend your "internal
clouds infrastructure" in your datacenters (gasp! I said it) in a highly-available manner to include your externally hosted assets which in turn run on infrastructure you don't own. You can't stand up an ASA or Neoteris box on a network you can't get to. The VPN-Cubed Managers are VM's/VA's that run as a complement to your virtual servers/machines hosted by your choice of one or multiple cloud providers.
They become the highly-available, multiprotocol aribters of access via standardized IPSec protocols but do so in a way that addresses the dynamic capabilities of the cloud which includes service governance, load, and "cloudbursting" failover between clouds -- in a transparent manner.
Essentially you get secure access to your critical assets utilizing an infrastructure independent solution, extending the VLAN segmentation, isolation and security capabilities your providers may put in place while also controlling your address spaces within the cloudspaces encompassing your VM's "behind" the VPN Managers.
VPN-Cubed is really a prime example of the collision space of dynamic application/service delivery, virtualization, security and cloud capacity governance. It speaks a lot to re-perimeterization that I've been yapping about for quite some time and hints at Greg Ness' Infrastructure 2.0 meme.
Currently VPN-Cubed is bundled as a package which includes both product and services and supports the majority of market-leading virtualization formats, operating systems and cloud providers such as Amazon EC2, Flexiscale, GoGrid, Mosso, etc.
It's a very slick offering.