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Security Defined As Code - Why Tenable has entered into an agreement to acquire Accurics

Security Defined As Code - Why Tenable has entered into an agreement to acquire Accurics

I never cease to be amazed at how infrastructure management continues to evolve over time, to become such a precise engineering discipline. Twenty years ago when I first published Nessus, the computers I designed the scan engine to assess were physically attached to hubs and switches, infrequently changing over time and invariably available unless somebody shut their system down for the weekend.

The visibility problems I strived to solve still exist today, but the methods used to identify vulnerabilities attackers target have evolved alongside the devices we use. As networks became more dynamic, Tenable created Nessus Network Monitor to identify systems in real time rather than scanning on a schedule. As more IT teams embraced containers, we pioneered a new approach of integrating into the CI/CD pipeline to identify vulnerabilities on docker hosts. As we saw the meteoric rise of Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) on AWS and Virtual Machines in Azure, we launched Frictionless Assessment for security at the speed and ease of cloud.

Almost every organization now has a cloud-first strategy and a new deployment has moved from a lengthy purchase order process to a handful of commands. This is a big deal. With that velocity, infosec teams need to change the way they operate to keep pace and even create new points of leverage.

As the adoption of public clouds matures, so does the management of all of the cloud resources in an engineering-driven, repeatable way, through the use of scripts to create and manage environments in minutes. We are witnessing the rise of the Infrastructure as Code (IaC) movement, and to support this movement, cybersecurity needs to innovate with Security as Code.

Legacy Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) solutions have tried to address the security issue in the cloud but have not leveraged all of the capabilities the cloud has to offer. They've taken a traditional approach to identifying security flaws, assessing the systems and configurations at runtime. This approach fails to deliver on the promise of modern architectures, where you can identify and address the flaws in the code used to create the environment in the first place. It’s far more effective to find and fix the issues at the point of creation in code, rather than where they manifest in the cloud. Security can enable the DevOps team with a security syntax check for Infrastructure as Code, assessing Terraform and Kubernetes scripts for issues. In this way, we can ensure that what is deployed is secure by default and that any fixes are a simple merge request rather than a patch or operational afterthought.

By codifying the desired state of the platform in scripts, we believe the opportunities IaC brings to the table are limitless when it comes to security. In particular:

  • Starting secure by design - assessing the code used to create the environment removes risks before they are ever introduced.

  • Codifying your desired state - by looking at the drift between the actual cloud resource and what was intended, teams can catch problems earlier.

  • Scale through Security at the Speed of Code - There is no more need to modify the permissions of thousands of cloud resources one by one if a single script creates them all.

  • Code as the Rosetta Stone - Most importantly, Infosec teams can better communicate with ops by offering edits (pull requests) to their IaC scripts. In this manner, infosec becomes an actor and enabler in the deployment of new resources.

Enabling these new capabilities leveraging Infrastructure as Code will create a new world order for security and risk management. The Accurics team has focused on understanding Infrastructure as Code by integrating into the processes and tools that developers and infrastructure operators use. There are over 200,000 downloads of Terrascan, their hugely popular open source IaC assessment tool.

We're incredibly thrilled to have them join Tenable following the completion of the acquisition and I can't wait to work with our teams to integrate their innovative approaches to help our customers to identify issues in Infrastructure in Code and drift in runtime to make their clouds  flawless.

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