One Gateway to Secure them All

Lori MacVittie Miniatura
Lori MacVittie
Published October 29, 2020

The Persian Gate, 330 B.C.

The Pass at Thermopylae, 480 B.C.

The Bridge at Stirling, 1297 A.D.

The Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric®, 2020 A.D. 

Many places are enshrined in history for the strategic role they played in some impactful event. The Pass at Thermopylae is remembered as the place where King Leonidas' famous 300 Spartans held off an advancing Persian army. The Bridge at Stirling is indelibly associated with the Scottish resistance led by William Wallace and a stunning victory over the English army. Lesser known is the Persian Gate, where Ariobarzanes and his army held Alexander the Great at bay for an entire month. The strategic advantages of controlling a single access point to a desired resource is well understood.

The advantages just aren’t about defense; careful control over entry points also results in a multiplicative increase in the efficacy of defenders. It’s no surprise, then, that these principles are often applied in the world of digital security.

For some time now, organizations have been moving applications and workloads to public clouds and enjoying the benefits of digital transformation, including flexibility and economic efficiency. But just like their on-premises counterparts, cloud applications still require advanced services, including security, load balancing, and high availability. Additionally, adding a cloud environment to the data center infrastructure introduces management headaches, compliance risks, and issues related to policy consistency.

Today, the Equinix Cloud Exchange Fabric (ECX Fabric®) is a location organizations should seriously consider to address these challenges. As a digital bridge between the Internet and most major cloud providers, Equinix offers a strategic location at which to control access, secure entry, and protect applications in all the major SaaS, IT service providers, and public clouds.

But the right location is only half the battle. You still need defenders to protect against inevitable attacks. This is a key reason why increasingly diverse distribution of applications and resources poses a challenge to security professionals. Nearly all organizations operate applications across multiple public clouds and consume a healthy portion of SaaS applications. 

Consider all the security services you need to defend and protect applications and their infrastructure:  

  • Single sign-on (SSO) and cloud federation to control access
  • Bi-directional web application firewall services to protect consumer and corporate data and defend against abuse
  • SSL Orchestration and content inspection to ensure privacy and protect against embedded malicious data
  • DDoS protection to keep applications available

Deploying these defenders for each application at every location is going to cause solution sprawl and operator overload. Ensuring the same level of security across them is a task that is constantly repeated due to emerging attacks and newly discovered vulnerabilities. A better approach is, of course, to force the flow of traffic through a single gate at which multiple security services can be deployed and protect all applications across all cloud properties.

Deploying a BIG-IP platform in the ECX Fabric provides a single, strategic location at which you can deploy, operate, and manage the security services you need to protect applications deployed across multiple cloud properties. By guiding all traffic to the same strategic location there are fewer policies to deploy and maintain, fewer services to operate and manage, and fewer entry points to defend.

In addition to reducing the complexity associated with a multi-cloud enterprise, organizations can realize significant cost savings and application performance enhancements while maintaining enterprise-grade security. They also benefit from a single point of entry and exit between the public cloud and the private corporate network—making it easier to retain tight control over network and application security.

Equinix cloud gateway

Common F5 application services for this type of deployment include:

  • Local and Global Traffic Management
  • Access Management
  • Identity Federation
  • Advanced Web Application Firewall (WAF)
  • DDoS Protection
  • SSL Inspection and Orchestration
  • Telemetry Streaming

Additionally, Equinix offers a service called SmartKey™ which closely interacts with some F5 application services. Equinix SmartKey is a dedicated hardware security module (HSM) offered as-a-Service to provide secure key management and cryptography services that (among other things) F5 uses to optimize its own security services and capabilities. 

F5 offers a wide range of services that work in conjunction with Equinix to fulfill a variety of use cases and security policies.

The reality of multi-cloud means enterprises will continue to be challenged to protect applications and defend data in many different locations. By pairing the BIG-IP platform with the ECX Fabric, organizations can gain a strategic advantage over attackers while reducing costs and the complexity inherent in managing multi-cloud security.

There are many benefits to employing F5 solutions in the Equinix environment. If you missed them the first time, here are more resources you can check out to learn more: