Real Talk Part 1: The Wild Wild East-West!

Vinay Prabhu
Head of Quality Assurance

Cybersecurity is a broad, deep discipline with a crowded market. There are a lot of different approaches and a lot of companies competing for your attention. This is a perfect recipe for dense jargon.

Confluera is a technically unique product that we’re proud to work on. When we explain it to friends and family, we’ve found that we don’t need impressive language to be impressive. Our product speaks for itself.

This blog is how we’d explain Confluera to a friend working outside of cybersecurity.

Grab a beer!

A Security Parable: The Fort vs The Marketplace

A fort is designed to defend people and treasure during wartime and closely monitor territory during peacetime. Corporate networks used to be built like forts. They achieved safety primarily through isolation. For the purposes of this analogy, you can think of any computer or server on a corporate network as a “person” the fort is protecting and the data those servers hold as the “treasure”.

Like forts, corporate networks used to place very clear boundaries between the private network and the public internet. Entrances and exits were small and closely monitored. It was often inconvenient, but it kept everyone safe. We call traffic moving in and out of the corporate fort “North-South” traffic.

The structural limitations to this approach were similar to those great forts faced: there’s a hard limit to how many people you can fit inside, and you can’t run a marketplace through a very small door.

Market Place. Literally no door!

Marketplaces are optimized for very different things. They are designed to give people access to as many products as possible and to make that access easy. Movement in and out of the market is fluid. There aren’t strict rules or time-consuming checkpoints.

The public internet and “the cloud” are structured like a marketplace, and the difference in structure requires an entirely different approach to security.

In a marketplace, monitoring entrances and exits (North-South traffic) is insufficient. So you have to pay attention to track patterns in how people move *within* the marketplace. In security, we call traffic moving between different services on the public internet “East-West” traffic.

Problem Statement: The Cloud is Great, but It’s Not Yours

A modern corporate network or Wide Area Network (WAN) is essentially a series of forts connected by roads that run through a vast public marketplace. Let’s say you have two offices. One is in LA and one is in Tokyo. Each office has a small local network that connects printers, laptops, and maybe a local server with sensitive data. These are your forts. But more and more, businesses are relying on resources in the public internet (the “cloud”) for everyday operations. While there is the regular foot traffic between the fort and the marketplace, there’s a huge growth in “East-West” traffic within the public market, and this foot traffic brings with it a new set of security concerns.

The Forts and Market of The Enterprise

Up until the late 2010’s, cybersecurity products could be broken down into two broad classes:

  • Endpoint security — security software running on a server or laptop. Ex: virus scanners and activity monitoring
  • Network security — the tools designed to keep risky traffic out of your network. Ex: firewalls and access lists

If an enterprise was vigilant and technically savvy, these two types of solutions, deployed together, would keep their WAN reasonably well protected.

But with modern use of cloud services, traditional endpoint and network security are no longer enough.

According to The Cisco Annual Internet Report, by 2021 85% of enterprise network traffic will be within and between clouds. And “the cloud” is a marketplace. It’s inherently NOT secure.

Industry Standard: Everyone’s Lunch Has Been Eaten

The hard truth is that right now, most businesses are failing to meet the security challenges posed by new cloud technologies. This is probably not news to you.

Fortune 500 companies are pouring money into their network. Enterprises are predicted to spend $12.6B on cloud security tools by 2023, up from $5.6B in 2018 [2]. But breaches are still commonplace. In the past year, 52% of enterprises using services from more than one cloud provider have reported a breach. And a staggering 69% of those organizations reported 11 to 30 breaches [3].

What does this mean for the security landscape?

Continue Reading Part 2 : Human Readable Introduction To Confluera


[1] Unknown, U. (2019). Agra Fort — Red Fort of Agra. Retrieved December 03, 2020, from

[2]Columbus, L. (2020, April 06). 2020 Roundup Of Cybersecurity Forecasts And Market Estimates. Retrieved December 03, 2020, from

[3] Fast-Track Your Multi-cloud Monitoring Initiative. (n.d.). Retrieved December 03, 2020, from:

Intercept Threats. Before Damage.

Ready to experience the benefit of Confluera?
Start your 30-day trial and see for yourself how the latest innovation in detection and response can fend off the most advanced modern cyber attacks.
Like to learn more about Confluera?
Schedule a 30-min demo with one of our cybersecurity experts to learn how Confluera can help you identify and intercept cyber threats before it becomes a breach.