We’re going to need a new term to talk about “data centers.” I say this because virtualization in public and private form factors means the locations of processors and other resources you use on-demand don’t sit statically in a data center anymore. Virtual resources dart around like bees in a field of clover. When will this affect you?

Cisco estimates cloud platforms will process 86 percent of workloads by 2019.[i]  RightScale reports 95 percent of businesses use on average 3 public clouds and 3 private clouds.[ii]  These dynamic pools of computing resources are making traditional data centers like fax machines; you still likely have one, but hardly anyone uses it.

This changeover to virtual/cloud affects cybersecurity. In old-school data centers, data travels north from servers to the firewall and south from the firewall to servers. However in virtual and software-defined networks, up to 80 percent of traffic travels east and west among virtualized applications and various network sectors. Furthermore, virtual applications can migrate among host servers as resource use changes.

Under these conditions, most data traffic takes detours that bypass the perimeter-security gateway. Mobile apps, cloud apps, and partner apps can connect services to users outside data centers through pathways not scanned by perimeter security. If attackers compromise a minor web service with malware, the entire network is at risk. Read the Check Point Security report to learn more about current trends in malware.

To keep virtual public and private clouds secure, segment your network and applications using the same security methods as physical gateways, but add flexible support for software-defined micro-segmentation, which can be centrally managed. High visibility of applications is also critical for securing cloud- based services traveling in new directions due to cloud platforms and domains.

When you figure out what to call the new networking, don’t forget to consider which directions your data is traveling and how you will keep data and resources secure.

If you want to know more about data center security and other vital security topics, download the new Check Point Security Report 2016.


[i]  “Cisco Global Cloud Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2014–2019 White Paper,” April 21, 2016.
[ii]  Weins, Kim. “Cloud Computing Trends: 2016 State of the Cloud Survey.” RightScale, February 9, 2016. http://www.rightscale.com/blog/cloud-industry-insights/cloud-computing-trends-2016-state-cloud-survey