What Is Software-Defined Security?

AvatarWritten by | Cloud, NextGen Data Center, Security

We have been hearing a lot about software-defined X and how it can positively impact your business. In fact, Arrow has published several articles and an E-Book about the topic to make sure you understand the business drivers, the technology and what Arrow can do to help you guide your customers in a proactive approach to new IT environments.

In this article, we dive into software-defined security. It is a market that you should pay close attention to, because IDC predicts that by 2020, the security solutions market will grow to $50 billion.

SDS can be defined as a type of security model in which the information security in a computing environment is implemented, controlled and managed by security software. It is a software-managed, policy-driven and governed security where most of the security controls, such as intrusion detection, network segmentation and access controls, are automated and monitored through software.

IDC Security Market Growth

SDS is frequently implemented in IT environments that have cloud or virtualization infrastructures. Every time a new device is created in the environment, it is automatically covered and controlled by the already established security policy. This also means that entire environments can be moved to other data centers without affecting the security policies and controls that are in place.

“With SDS, a security policy can follow the person instead of the device — be it a laptop, virtual desktop, tablet or smartphone,” said Davitt Potter, Director, Global Engineering and Technical Services for Arrow Security. “If an employee leaves the office with any of these devices, the same security policies or profiles are in place just as if they were in the office. The employee doesn’t have to rely on a coffee shop or hotel network to provide the security.”

Advantages of Software-Defined Security

Organizations are moving to SDS for several reasons, including:

  • Enables consistent and efficient security policies across enterprise networks no matter where resources are located
  • Focuses on the software aspect of security instead of hardware, which allows IT staff to focus on policies instead of keeping machines up and running
  • Facilitates the automation of security with security technologies, such as intrusion prevention, identity/access management, data loss prevention and geolocation, which ultimately saves time and money.

Potential Drawbacks of Software-Defined Security

Potter points out that additional IT staff training may be required. “There is a learning curve involved,” said Potter. “Traditionally, IT departments would have specialists in storage, servers, switches and other technologies. With SDS, the specialist becomes a generalist and will need to know about the other equipment and software within the infrastructure.”

Collaboration also needs to take place in order to create and manage security policies. All groups will need to be involved in determining the who, what, when, where and why of policies before SDS can be implemented. “It is so much easier to do it right the first time around,” says Potter. “It does take time, but you will gain a lot of benefits from doing the groundwork upfront.”

How to get started

If you aren’t already talking to your traditional data center customers about software-defined X, someone else probably is. With its 50+ engineers, Arrow has the resources to support you and enable you to gain entry into this growing market. Arrow engineers are real-world engineers with decades of experience being on the front line of end-user organizations or in supplier roles.
Arrow can also support you with its on-premises technology centers in Denver and Minneapolis, as well as a fully integrated Value-Add Center in Atlanta. Arrow engineers are always happy to assist you on your sales calls and to work with your end users to help them achieve their goals.
If you have any questions about SDX and how Arrow can help you get in the game, please contact your Arrow representative.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Last modified: April 9, 2019