Millions of Log4j vulnerable systems still unpatched

Log4j vulnerability unpatched

A recent survey by Qualys and published in SC Magazine suggests that after over 3 months, roughly 1 in 3 devices and installations that were affected by the Log4j vulnerability are still unpatched. This number amounts to roughly 22 million vulnerable application installations — and it should be noted that these are just the devices that are readily accessible from the Internet.

Log4j reached critical status towards the end of 2021 when it was discovered that a feature its platform could allow an unauthenticated attacker to take complete control over a remote system. The vulnerability was classified in CVE-2021-44228, and has been extensively discussed in cyber security as well as in a published flash with guidance from the government’s cyber security agency, CISA, who published guidance.

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Tepco Glass Migrates to Azure, Increasing Reliability and Setting the Stage for Future IT Modernization

Faced with aging on-premises servers and an unsupported operating system, Tepco Glass moves all applications to Microsoft Azure with help from Lightstream.

Business Challenge

Tepco Glass is one of the top glass and glazing contractors in the United States. Founded in 1982, the Dallas-based company specializes in commercial glazing and architectural design, as well as the installation of curtain walls, window walls, storefronts, entrances, motor operable windows, glass railings, and other façade enclosures.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the construction industry stalled. Many projects were postponed, delayed, or canceled. And the global slowdown cascaded to suppliers and contractors, including Tepco, negatively affecting revenues and cash flow.

Although business was slow and cash flow was tight, Tepco’s business did not stop. The company continued to operate, serving its customers and addressing operational challenges. One challenge they faced involved the company’s IT infrastructure.

Tepco’s core business applications ran on Windows Server 2008 R2 servers located in the company’s small data center in Dallas. The hardware was over five years old, and Tepco’s IT manager was concerned that the aging hardware could lead to equipment failures. In addition, Windows Server 2008 R2 had reached end of life, and the company was no longer receiving support from Microsoft.

Solution

Company executives knew they needed to address the issues. But given the economic realities during the pandemic—business slowdown, a global microchip shortage, and supply chain constraints—they did not want to incur a large capital outlay to purchase new hardware and upgrade to a supported operating system.

They decided to explore the cloud. Moving to the cloud would eliminate the need to refresh hardware. And Microsoft offered an added incentive: if they migrated their Windows Server 2008 R2 environments to Microsoft Azure, the company would receive an additional 36 months of extended security updates for free.

The solution seemed viable, but the company wanted to ensure that it would work. Tepco’s IT manager knew one of Lightstream’s account executives from a previous working relationship, and reached out for help.

The first step was to assess the plan. Lightstream linked Tepco’s VMware environment to Azure Migration to evaluate the feasibility of moving it to Azure. This showed that the migration was viable and that Tepco could save money over the long term. Tepco’s executives were pleased with the findings and approved the project.

Over a period of 12 weeks, Lightstream experts worked with Tepco to plan, configure, and test their Azure environment. Finally, when all testing had been completed and issues resolved, Lightstream moved all of Tepco’s core applications from on-premise servers into the new environment. For ongoing support and optimization of their Azure environment, Tepco will use Lightstream Cloud Managed Services (CMS).

Business Outcomes

Increased Reliability and Availability

Tepco Glass has four locations—two in Dallas, one in Carrollton, Texas, and one in Oklahoma City—as well as other remote users who need access to applications. The Dallas headquarters is located in a section of the Dallas area that doesn’t have the most reliable power or internet service. Consequently, when the headquarters site suffered a power or internet outage, no one could connect from any locations, and their business was disrupted.

By moving all applications to Azure, Tepco no longer has this problem. Even if the Dallas location experiences an outage, users from the other sites are not affected. They can continue working without interruption.

Shift to a Consumption-based Operating Model

Tepco no longer maintains on-premise server hardware. By moving to Azure, they eliminated the need for large capital outlays in the future to address product upgrades and hardware refreshes. And they now have a more predictable operating expense model for IT.

Better Positioned for Future IT Modernization

Tepco is no longer limited by their data center environment. With all server infrastructure now in Azure, they have more flexibility, making it simpler for them to pursue future modernization efforts like virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and others. For example, with all workload in Azure, they don’t need to buy high-end gaming computers for people to do product designs anymore—the heavy processing can now be done in the cloud.

Ongoing Infrastructure Management and Cloud Optimization

By moving to Azure, Tepco no longer has to worry about infrastructure management. Lightstream Cloud Managed Services supports the company’s infrastructure, ensuring servers are patched and maintained, and oversees the company’s Azure environment to make sure it is optimized both for cost and performance.

SOC 2 is the answer – but whose problem is it?

SOC 2 is, with increasing regularity, becoming the go-to certification requirement for companies who handle their customers’ data. SOC 2 is the first step to sales discussions, contracts, and revenue – yet it’s completely misunderstood. Lightstream V.P. of Security Strategy Rafal Los and JustProtect Founder & CEO Vikas Bhatia will de-complify what it takes to achieve certification, and why it’s more about process maturity and evidence than technology.

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A Large Design-Build Construction Company Saves Azure Cloud Migration with Help from Lightstream

Security gaps threatened the company’s cloud migration, but crisis was averted with services from Lightstream.

Business Challenge

A desire to stay innovative, modern, and operationally effective—three critical attributes in today’s competitive construction industry—led a large design-build construction company in the Midwest to explore the cloud. The company’s IT leadership team chose Microsoft Azure as their platform and purchased Prisma Cloud, a multi-cloud security offering from Palo Alto Networks, to provide added security protection for their cloud environments.

Once its Azure environment was implemented, the company began migrating applications. The team’s goal was to move as many applications as possible to the cloud, knowing some applications would have to remain on-premises, and their operating environment would result in a hybrid configuration.

After months of moving applications and deploying them into production, however, the company discovered problems. A security assessment revealed there were serious security gaps in the way Azure and Prisma Cloud had been implemented. If not addressed, the gaps would allow external entities to gain access to their environment, leaving the company’s systems vulnerable to breaches. This forced the company to stop its cloud migration and move applications back into its own data center.

Solution

With its cloud migration on hold, the company looked for a solution to solve its security problems and contacted Lightstream for help.

Once engaged, Lightstream Azure Cloud experts began gathering information. They reviewed the company’s business requirements, technology environment (infrastructure, data services, security landscape, application portfolio, and operations tools), and processes to gain a clear understanding of the company’s operating environment.

Next, the team evaluated the company’s existing Azure environment. They reviewed the company’s core cloud configurations, standards and governance, identity and access management (IAM), network interconnectivity, security, and monitoring, provided recommendations for changes to address issues, and then created an operational run-book with as-built documentation.

The next step was to review the Palo Alto Networks NGFW (next-generation firewall) configuration. The team reviewed the overall design of the appliances, assessed the Azure routing configurations, network placement, and connectivity, and recommended changes to remediate issues and ensure high availability.

The last step was to address the Palo Alto Networks Prisma Cloud implementation. The team evaluated the existing deployment, including policies and settings for resource configurations, user activities, network traffic, and host vulnerabilities, and made changes to resolve problems and ensure the environment operated correctly.

Business Outcomes

Remediation of Security Gaps and Reduced Business Risk

After completing the project with Lightstream, the company was able to eliminate its security gaps. External entities were no longer able to gain access to the company’s Azure environment through the known security vulnerabilities. This increased the confidence in the company’s cloud platform and lowered the risk of security breaches to the organization.

Secure Azure Environment with Next-Generation Firewalls

The company gained a secure Azure environment protected by Palo Alto Networks NGFWs in a high availability configuration. This enabled the company to resume migrating applications safely to the cloud and ensured its firewalls would be resilient.

Successful Prisma Cloud Implementation

With help from Lightstream experts, the company was able to overcome its initial problems and successfully implement Palo Alto Networks Prisma Cloud in its environment. This provided added security protection for the company’s cloud infrastructure and cloud-native applications.

A Large Dairy Co-operative Turns to Lightstream to Help Save Its ERP Migration in Azure

Microsoft Azure and Palo Alto Networks NGFW design and implementation services from Lightstream help the company overcome edge security issues and deploy ERP in the cloud.

Business Challenge

Dairy is a complex, regulated industry. Since the 1930s, the U.S. government has regulated milk prices. Minimum prices are set for fluid milk (based on several factors, including the price of butter, cheese, nonfat dry milk, and dry whey), and all processors must pay it. Different prices are set for milk used as an ingredient in dairy products, though the process is the same: the government sets the price, and processors pay it.

In addition, milk is a perishable product. As a result, the government sets strict standards on its use. Processors are unable to stockpile product to meet fluctuating consumer demand, which in recent years has been shifting to dairy alternatives like oat and soy milk.

These market realities put pressure on dairy processors. To address these challenges, a large dairy co-operative in the Pacific Northwest decided to expand its operations beyond its regional customer base with the goal of becoming a national brand. But to do that, the company first needed to modernize its systems by moving away from its on-premise legacy enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to Microsoft Dynamics 365 to establish a more flexible operating platform.

Midway through the project, however, the company ran into security problems. It turned out the company didn’t fully understand how to implement native cloud security controls available in Microsoft Azure and did not have proper edge security protection in place to satisfy governance and compliance regulations. After months of trying to correct the problem with the help of a 3rd -party firm, the company was unable to deploy its ERP solution and was faced with either seeking additional help or shutting down the project.

Solution

Prior to contacting Lightstream, the company had attempted to implement Palo Alto Networks NGFW (next-generation firewall) in Azure to provide edge security for its users. The company’s IT team was committed to the solution and its capabilities, but they had struggled with the implementation.

Once engaged, the Lightstream team reviewed the company’s requirements. They evaluated the existing Palo Alto NGFW configuration, executed an ingress and egress assessment, developed a security plan for implementing the company’s ERP system in the cloud using Azure native controls and Palo Alto NGFW as the edge inspection point, and architected the design to ensure high availability and resiliency. This was done by performing a customized Cloud Foundation Framework engagement.

After the design was completed, Lightstream built the Azure environment per the design blueprint, including VNets, network security groups, platform logging, and all native security controls. Then, the team implemented the Palo Alto NGFWs in a high availability configuration.

The final step was testing and validation. Lightstream’s Azure Cloud engineering experts helped test traffic flow, routing, and connectivity, as well as security functionality to ensure the solution provided the edge security protection the company needed.

Business Outcomes

Next-Generation Edge Security Protection

The company now has next-generation security to protect its systems. This includes IPS (intrusion prevention system) that examines network traffic to prevent vulnerability exploits, APT (advanced persistent threat) intelligence and detection, and other security capabilities that help keep data safe from cyber attacks.

Successful Migration to Microsoft Dynamics 365

With edge security in place, the company was able to move forward with its ERP project. Now, the company has replaced its legacy ERP solution with Microsoft Dynamics 365, providing the enhanced computing platform the company needs to expand its operation.