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With more applications and data moving to the cloud, enterprise security professionals are paying close attention to cloud security, and with good reason. Top security vendors are transitioning their on-premises products to the cloud to meet that demand.
A few vendors have already achieved notable success with that transition. We honor two products that were standouts among voters in our 2014 Readers' Choice Awards for best of Cloud Security.
Winner: Blue Coat Cloud Service, Blue Coat Systems Inc.
The Blue Coat Cloud Service, true to its name, is a software as a service security platform that replaces the need for an on-premises security appliance. Blue Coat first introduced the platform in 2011, taking many of the features of its hardware and software products such as policy-based Web monitoring, malware protection and granular application controls and offering them in the cloud. Blue Coat has continued to build out the platform's cloud offerings since then, adding mobile device security services to the mix.
The company partnered with enterprise mobility vendor AirWatch in July 2013 to enable enterprises to extend their Web security policies to protect smartphones and tablets against malware and other threats through mobile device management.
Blue Coat relies on its Global Intelligence Network for "real-time" threat information from about 75 million users that make up its WebPulse collaborative defense service, according to the company's estimates. All of that crowdsourcing must be working. Readers praised Blue Coat Cloud Service's ability to detect and stop new threats and vulnerabilities. Blue Coat also received high marks for its vendor support and service behind the platform.
John Oltsik, senior principal analyst at Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group, says Blue Coat has taken the best of its on-premises software and hardware products and created a robust cloud service. "This is a really strong product," says Oltsik. "They've done a great job of maximizing their security services and extending them into the cloud."
Winner: Security Gateway Virtual Edition, Check Point Software Technologies Ltd.
Check Point's Security Gateway Virtual Edition (VE) is based on the vendor's Software Blade Architecture for flexible, manageable security products. Security Gateway VE takes typical security features for physical networks, such as granular firewall policies and intrusion prevention, and brings them to virtual machines to secure the inter-VM traffic. The product received strong feedback from readers for its scalability and integration with existing applications and infrastructure.
The integration with technologies such as VMware's vCloud Networking and Security software-defined networking (and NetX virtual networking APIs), streamlines operations such provisioning and other administration requirements. Security Gateway VE is automatically deployed on ESX hosts by VMware vCenter without the need for reconfiguring network topology such as ports, virtual switches and VMs, according to Check Point. Administrators can then use Check Point's security management console for monitoring as well as creating and enforcing polices across their physical and virtual environments.
Enterprise Strategy Group's Oltsik says products like Security Gateway VE are becoming crucial as more enterprises deploy virtual machines. "All of the network security vendors are adding virtual security to their physical security offerings, and Check Point is certainly part of that," he says. "Check Point is taking what they do well in terms of network security and applying it to VMs."
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Which cloud security products did readers recognize last year? Compare this year's results to the 2013 best of cloud security.