Gaining an Intrinsic Security Advantage in the “New Normal”

Work-from-home mandates necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic turned most enterprises into distributed and cloud-dependent companies. While creating some surprising opportunities, digital-first work simultaneously raised new security concerns.

“The future of work has forever changed,” said Aparna Bawa, chief operating officer at Zoom during VMworld 2020. “But in many ways, it is positive. … It has shown even the most conservative of companies how a service like ours provides an immense amount of flexibility for employees, but also makes them very productive.”

The global shift to remote work changed the data center, as well. “Our customers tell us they’ve increased their cloud usage by 80% in the last several months,” said VMware COO Sanjay Poonen. This shift increased security concerns, too.

According to Poonen, the three pillars of the “new normal” are:

  1. Distributed workforces.
  2. Private and public clouds.
  3. Analytics to monitor and understand cloud and mobile device usage.

“And it’s very important that security is layered nicely into each of these in a very intrinsic fashion to protect all the data,” he said.

Traditional Security Is Broken

Most of today’s security offerings bolt onto existing systems, creating not only integration challenges but also new seams for intruders. Intrinsic security, however, builds security into infrastructure and turns points of vulnerability into points of security control. This approach enables enterprises to get insights across any app, any cloud, and any device.

“VMware took an approach to say, ‘How do we layer security into the heart of the infrastructure?” explained Poonen. “Many people have heard us say, ‘Any cloud, any app, any device.’ And we got there through intrinsic security.”

Zoom Depends on VMware for Secure Distributed Operations in the Cloud

In December 2019, Zoom averaged 10 million daily meeting participants. At the height of global shelter-in-place orders, however, usage spiked dramatically. In April 2020, Bawa said Zoom logged an average of 300 million daily meeting participants. What enabled Zoom to support this sudden three-fold increase in demand? An infrastructure capable of immense scalability and intrinsic security, she said.

Zoom recently completed a 90-day study around security. It also set up a chief information security officer (CISO) council with 36 CISOs from leading customers (including VMware) in different vertical industries. “Privacy is number one at our core, and we care about customer feedback and so a lot of the features that we’ve put out have been a result of in-depth conversations,” said Bawa.

The phrase “consumer-simple, enterprise-secure” is VMware’s foundational vision for its innovation engine. “Usually the consumer companies get simplicity right, but can break on security,” explained Poonen. “And enterprises get security, but then make it too complex.”

Bawa said that VMware Workspace One is that rare product: a robustly secure, but easy-to-use solution that Zoom depends on in the new normal.

“At the very basic level, Workspace One allows us to exist and thrive in a pandemic environment when we have employees all over the world,” Bawa said. “Our IT department is able to automate software updates to our own Zoomies internally. And we’ve been able to secure the employee workspace, including all apps and all endpoints. It ultimately makes our employees more flexible and makes the integration of all of their endpoints and apps more secure for us.”

VMworld 2020 “Intrinsic Security, Intrinsic Advantage” Solutions Keynote

Access the Carbon Black report, and watch the on-demand webinar.