Lightstream Names Joe Vadakkan as Global Executive Vice President for Sales and Engineering

Cloud security veteran and key strategist joins emerging service provider to drive growth

Salt Lake City, UT, January 19, 2022– Lightstream, a leader in cloud security, digital transformation and managed services, today announced the hiring of Joe Vadakkan as the company’s new executive vice president for global sales and engineering. As an IT, cloud and security thought leader, Joe will lead Lightstream’s global cloud security engineering and sales organization to drive execution of customers’ cloud security strategies and elevate their innovation at scale.

“Joe is a prominent industry veteran with extensive leadership experience in cloud security sales and innovation, having driven many of the industry’s successful, secure digital transformations,” said Lightstream Co-CEO, Jim Cassell. “I’m excited to welcome him to Lightstream’s executive team, and I look forward to working with him on our mission to enable our global customers to progressively innovate and grow effectively with Lightstream’s cloud security solutions.”

“We are very excited to have Joe join the Lightstream team,” stated Rod Stout, Co-CEO of Lightstream. “His unique ability to help customers realize value and achieve desired business outcomes is unparalleled. With his in-depth knowledge in partner distribution strategies and his success in building and growing world class organizations, Joe will help Lightstream bring continuous value to its customers and achieve our growth objectives.”

Joe has over 20 years of technical and business leadership experience in the areas of global infrastructure and security, most recently having served in a strategic services leadership role at Optiv, a pure play cybersecurity firm. Prior to that, he was responsible for building and running Optiv’s cloud security organization. He has also held leadership roles and provided strategic guidance for startups, venture capital and private equity firms and Fortune 2000 companies.

“I am very excited to join the Lightstream team and look forward to taking the company’s technology and services innovation to the next level to fuel future growth,” said Joe. “Lightstream has a great business model and a talented team that are fast movers on solving customer needs. I believe it is uniquely positioned to accelerate secure client innovation through its Lightstream Connect platform for Microsoft Azure, AWS and Google and integration with a security partner ecosystem that enables it to compete in today’s global market.”

About Lightstream

Lightstream provides full-service cloud, connectivity, and security solutions to enterprises worldwide with a focus on managed services for all three, as well as cloud infrastructure implementation, security, and support.

Lightstream has been named multiple times as a Palo Alto Networks Public Cloud Partner of the Year, and is an AWS Security Competency Partner, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, and a Microsoft Cloud Platform Gold Partner with Security Competency. Visit us at http://www.lightstream.tech or LinkedIn.

Media Contact

Cynthia Lawton / cynthia.lawton@lightstream.tech / 843-300-8445

 

Take the Complexity out of Securing your Public Cloud Environments

There’s no doubt that migrating assets to the cloud brings a multitude of benefits. The promise of improved availability, and increased agility, scalability and IT flexibility are just a few. But what about the risks? When security is architected and designed into the cloud platform – the risk can be significantly less than that of traditional infrastructure. Unfortunately, when cybersecurity is not a design-time consideration the results can be catastrophic.

The agility that allows IT organizations to rapidly build and scale environments is a phenomenal asset to business, but it can be one of its greatest vulnerabilities if not managed. Attackers go where the value is – so as business puts more and more sensitive data into the public cloud, it makes sense that attackers make public cloud their primary target. Configuration errors – in both known and unknown cloud assets – are a primary source of cyber security and compliance failures. Configuration errors give attackers a potential way in, and can lead to intellectual property theft, or breach of confidential information, or even a full environment compromise. Rather than having to develop exploits and probe organizations for weaknesses, configuration errors often provide exposed administrative capabilities, open access to sensitive data, or allow systems to attack each other without monitoring or protection.

The problem is that configuration errors in the public cloud are made at cloud scale and speed. This means that potentially hundreds of data stores, privileged accounts or services can be exposed in seconds. The challenge for security professionals is to address the growing complexity and security challenges without adding complexity further into the equation. The good news for security professionals is that there is a wealth of tools out that can help.

Prisma® Cloud from market leader Palo Alto Networks is a best-of-breed cloud security solution that many of the world’s top enterprises rely on to secure their highly complex, multi-cloud environments. The popularity of Prisma Cloud is driven by the low-complexity dashboard providing a complete set of features such as multi-cloud analysis, automated remediation, and contextual understanding of systems, applications and users. It provides complete visibility and control over public-cloud based risks within Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) and Alibaba Cloud infrastructures.

The fact that 74% of Fortune 100 companies rely on the proven capabilities of Prisma Cloud means it will be able to support your environment as well. But even with such cutting-edge technology available to secure their cloud environments, IT and cybersecurity professionals are still faced with the arduous task of managing the workload the platform produces. Managing identified vulnerabilities, analyzing detected anomalies, ensuring compliance with appropriate frameworks and configuring runtime defense in heterogeneous environments on a day-to-day basis requires expertise and staffing – something companies big and small struggle with. A significant number of exhausted security leaders are turning to companies like Lightstream to operationalize, manage and optimize their Prisma Cloud platforms in their public cloud environments for this very reason.

Build Resiliency and Lower Cloud Risk

As a Palo Alto Networks Global Cloud Partner, Lightstream has the world-class expertise you need in a managed security provider. Together, Palo Alto Networks and Lightstream can help you accelerate your move to the cloud by delivering consistent, automated protections across multi-cloud deployments that prevent data loss and defend against business disruption.
Lightstream’s Cloud Defense built on Prisma Cloud provides customers like you with continuous monitoring, detection and incident response for their public cloud environments. Our team of security experts begins by working to baseline your cloud environment, creating recommendations, and remediating urgent issues then monitoring your environment against the new guard-rails. When security issues arise, we’re there to help with critical incident response services from security professionals and cloud architects and engineers. While other providers call that good-enough, we don’t stop there. Lightstream is different in that we staff industry-certified cloud security architects to continuously advise and improve the security of your public cloud throughout the lifecycle.
And with our Quickstart program, this isn’t a long, drawn-out process. Lightstream can help take you from initial assessment of your existing cloud environment to the design of a customized managed services plan to a fully optimized and managed cloud environment within 30 days. From there, you’ll have all the benefits of 24/7/365 monitoring and management via a single point of contact at Lightstream.
It’s time to mitigate your business’s cloud security risks and de-complicate the management of its infrastructure. Contact Lightstream today to find out how Palo Alto Networks’ Global Cloud Partner of the Year for two consecutive years can help take the burden and complexity out of protecting and optimizing the security of your organization’s public cloud environments.

Hospitality Software Company Successfully Launches in China with Help from Lightstream

Lightstream’s Professional Services team supports Quore in boosting revenue potential by entering a new market

Business Challenge

For the past decade, Quore’s award-winning digital hospitality solutions have been helping hotels improve the quality of their guest services. The company’s focus on relentless innovation has enabled it to provide approximately 78,000 hotel owners, management and staff at 4,300 properties throughout 31 countries with the tools they need to streamline daily operations.
With so many hotel professionals around the world relying on the company to make their jobs easier, Quore’s leadership knew right from the start that such high stakes would require only the best technology partner. That’s why as the company grew from a fledgling software startup to an industry-leading solutions provider, Quore’s IT team depended on Lightstream’s expert guidance in overcoming technological challenges and improving the efficiency, reliability and security of their operations. During that time, Lightstream assisted Quore in establishing its initial on-site data center, then later moving its infrastructure offsite to CenturyLink, and most recently in its migration to the AWS cloud.
When Quore’s largest hotel group client requested its services at three new properties in China, the software company recognized the tremendous opportunity for growth and sprang into action. China is an important market for global companies and as such, leadership once again turned to Lightstream for help in reproducing and reconfiguring Quore’s platform to operate in this complex and disparate cloud environment.

Solution

Lighstream’s Professional Services team applied their technical expertise to begin the process of deploying Quore’s cloud-based applications inside of China with the same APIs, protocols and de-facto operating standards in use at their other worldwide locations. This established the groundwork necessary to successfully navigate China’s rigid regulatory requirements for market entry and operation.
First, they needed to replicate the platform’s large database using native AWS migration tools and custom scripts. Once that process was complete, underlying dependencies required the use of custom automation to migrate the compute platform.

In just three weeks, the Lightstream team had Quore’s East-Asian platform up and running for beta testing. After the solution passed all functionality testing, Lightstream’s Cloud Managed Services professionals got to work on carefully considering this unique environment and optimizing it to meet high availability, resiliency and security requirements.

Business Outcomes

Quore’s hospitality solution successfully went live in this brand-new market at the end of 2021. As a result, the job of providing positive guest experiences has been made easier for about 100 more housekeepers, engineers, front desk agents and managers at three properties. And for Quore, an entirely new market and stream of revenue has been established. Quore can now market their software to other hotels throughout China with confidence and proof of its successful operation in the country.
The company continues to rely on Lightstream as its single point of contact for AWS cloud operations and best practices. And Lightstream’s Cloud Managed Services team is providing the day-to-day administration and management necessary to ensure that the environment is optimized from a security, financial, technological and operational standpoint.

Contact Information

To find out how Lightstream’s technological expertise can help transform your business and implement the digital innovation you need to successfully grow and expand here in the United States and throughout the world, visit www.lightstream.tech.

Vulnerability Management: If you think it’s about missing patches, you’re missing the point

Unlike technology as a whole which continues to advance at an astoundingly rapid rate, vulnerability management is one area of cybersecurity that is harmfully stuck in the past.

In the 90s the primary sources for vulnerability information were mailings lists like Bugtag and FD. With the volume in these public lists security professionals struggled to scan, identify and patch their systems – but the long gaps between exploit releases gave security teams the luxury of time. The early 2000s brought remote vulnerability scanning engines that were managed, woefully, in spreadsheets. In that time we had learned two things: first that there was more to vulnerability management than missing patches, and second that identifying missing patches and unpatched systems was the easy part. But over a decade later in the 2010s spreadsheets were still the predominant vulnerability management tool. And now here we are in 2021, and what is the state of the art for vulnerability management? If you guessed vulnerability scanning and spreadsheets – you’re unfortunately correct. Nearly 30 years and countless technical advancements later, and we’re still basically on clay tablets and chisels.

Today’s Vulnerability Landscape

The time between a software or system vulnerability being identified and a readily available, weaponized, exploit in the wild has shrunk to a sliver of time. Security teams no longer have the luxury of time to try to scan, find systems, manually triage, prioritize and then push patches. Never mind that patching is only a part of overall vulnerability management.

In spite of all the latest technology now available to us, the lessons we’ve learned over the three decades, and the renewed sense of urgency brought on by the COVID19 pandemic, the whole vulnerability management process is a train wreck. IT and cybersecurity professionals are still primarily focusing on missed patches and relying on spreadsheets for reporting and prioritizing vulnerabilities – and no one is being held accountable. Combine that with the work-from-home environment, and you have an avalanche of new vulnerabilities daily, more tools than you can effectively manage, insufficient resources and skills to dig yourself out – and all of it is driving increased business risk.

So, let’s get back to fundamentals, and attempt to understand the problem we’re trying to collectively solve for. First, a vulnerability can be any weakness in your infrastructure that could compromise business operations. And they can come from anywhere. Yes, missing patches are a major factor, but so are misconfigurations, penetration test results and bug bounty programs (if you have them). Vulnerability scanners are highly ineffective in dealing with anything outside missing patches, so they’re not your solution. Finding vulnerabilities is relatively easy, but what do you do with them once they’re uncovered, and when they’re so out of date that patching isn’t an option (also known as technical debt)?

Many IT leaders think the answer lies in purchasing state-of-the-art technology. No matter what the buzzwords, technology doesn’t solve a human problem. Most companies have a volume problem, as well as a culture problem – but we’ll address that in another blog. When you have potentially 10,000 or more identified vulnerabilities, prioritization becomes a pretty tough obstacle to overcome. Your fancy tech is only as good as the analyst who operates it, no matter how much magical “AI” secret sauce is in their marketing fluff. Don’t get me wrong, a strong and capable technology platform is crucial – but that comes after you’ve addressed the human-sized problem in the equation.

What you need is a Programmatic Reduction of Risk

Unfortunately, a significant portion of technology owned by organizations is outdated or worse, no longer being supported by your vendors. This is partly due to tight budgets, partially feature dependence and partially an if-its-not-broken-don’t-fix-it mentality. What may seem like a minor issue today can result in a massive breach tomorrow. While the business is asking for agility from its technology, CIOs everywhere are facing huge technical debt. And the longer it goes on, the more expensive it becomes to fix or replace. How do you extinguish all of these burning fires?

The CIO essentially has to declare technical bankruptcy. Take inventory, acknowledge there are problems, identify them and create a plan to fix them. Communication and accountability among business leaders and IT professionals is the key to implementing an effective solution. In many cases, this includes admitting that the organization lacks the in-house expertise to solve the problems.

The most forward-looking CIOs turn to a trusted provider for help. Lightstream is one such partner with the expertise to move your organization out of this quagmire, and our Rapid Risk Profile is often the best place to start your risk management assessment. This approach helps us to understand your biggest systemic risk so we can work together to create an informed path forward that aligns to your business goals and financial situation. The first step is easy, no-friction, and involves virtually no invasive technology. What we assess and identify are hallmark people, process, and program categories to understand your organizational and program maturity. Whatever stage your organization is at in its journey and program development, we can provide understanding and high-level guidance.

The immediate next step is to take a consultative and technical deep-dive, to understand not only what your organization does in terms of vulnerability management, but how it does it. We create your baseline, and provide a gap-assessment against industry-driven baselines. Lastly, we develop a bespoke roadmap that involves both short-term tactical remediation strategy to prevent catastrophic business disruption, and long-term program development to aid your business into effectively managing technical debt and vulnerabilities across the business. Lightstream’s suite of packaged services provides peace of mind, technical as well as program capabilities, and continuous evolution in your vulnerability management program. The key to effectively managing vulnerabilities is to go beyond patching and implement a lifecycle approach for identification, triage, mitigation and reporting.
Stop buying into the misconception that vulnerability management is about scanning and patching. It’s time to acknowledge the magnitude of the problem and the risks it’s creating for your business. Contact Lightstream today to find out how we can help you establish an effective vulnerability management program – protecting and future-proofing your organization while creating a culture of accountability.

Have You Completed an AWS Well-Architected Framework Review Lately?

Amazon first introduced customers to its AWS Well-Architected Framework in 2020 in the form of a whitepaper designed to help cloud architects build secure, high-performing, resilient and efficient infrastructure for their applications and workloads. As my colleague Ty Annen outlined in his Annual Performance Review blog post back in June, The AWS Well-Architected Framework is divided into five pillars of architectural best practices:

  1. Operational Excellence
  2. Security
  3. Reliability
  4. Performance Efficiency
  5. Cost Optimization

The AWS Well-Architected Framework has rapidly expanded to include domain-specific lenses, hands-on labs, and the AWS Well-Architected Tool, all of which provide a consistent approach for AWS cloud users to evaluate architectures and implement designs that can scale over time.

Once a Well-Architected Framework has been established, Amazon encourages customers to keep their cloud environments finely tuned by regularly evaluating their AWS workloads, identifying high risk issues and making and recording their necessary improvements. It provides a way for you to consistently measure your architectures against best practices and identify areas for improvement.

How it Works

The AWS Well-Architected Framework Review, often called the “AWS WAFR”, was developed to help IT professionals, operations staff and anyone with a cost interest to evaluate the workload and implement improvements for future workloads. AWS advises customers to complete the Framework Review quarterly.

As an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner and member of the AWS Well-Architected Partner Program, Lightstream has deep AWS knowledge and is certified to deliver an AWS Well-Architected Review that includes strategies to help you compare your workloads against best practices and obtain guidance to produce stable and efficient systems.

Prior to your Well-Architected Review, Lightstream can help you identify a priority workload to evaluate. Then together we’ll take a deep dive into that critical workload and provide recommendations as well as a roadmap to making the recommended modifications. Once you implement the modifications, you will receive credit funding from AWS to cover the cost of the Review and remediate.

It’s not uncommon for overworked and understaffed business leaders and IT professionals to put off performing Well-Architected Reviews. They think, everything is running smoothly so why try to fix something that isn’t broken? But the truth is, no matter how well your environment seems to be performing or how much you’ve managed to improve processes and increase your organization’s efficiency, you have the opportunity to do it even better.

The bottom line is this: you have a duty to correct misconfigurations and proactively avert security threats and financial and operational inefficiencies. And between new instances, changing security groups, and updated service offerings, you must make sure that your organization is maximizing every opportunity for savings and automation. The longer you put off Well-Architected Reviews, the greater your organization’s vulnerability is to cybersecurity attacks and getting bypassed by your competition.

Contact Lightstream to find out how Well-Architected Framework Reviews can optimize and update your AWS cloud environment, ultimately helping your organization to cut costs, increase revenue, ensure compliance, go to market faster and increase the quality of your products and services.

 

Introducing Well-Architected Framework Workshops from Microsoft Azure

Microsoft began familiarizing customers with its Azure Well-Architected Framework in 2020 in order to help customers design and build secure, scalable, high-performing solutions in Azure and to effectively and consistently optimize workloads. As I outlined in my Annual Performance Review blog post back in June, the Azure Well-Architected Framework is divided into five pillars of architectural best practices:

  1. Cost Management
  2. Operational Excellence
  3. Performance Efficiency
  4. Reliability
  5. Security

Once a Well-Architected Framework has been established, Microsoft encourages Azure customers to keep their cloud environments finely tuned by having periodic reviews performed against Azure best practices as well as specific business priorities in their cloud journey.

In August, Microsoft started offering Well-Architected Framework Technical Workshops for qualifying Azure customers. Each of the workshops in the series focuses on a different best practice pillar. It is recommended that reviews be performed quarterly, however Microsoft offers eligible customers fully funded workshops once a year.

How it Works

As a Microsoft Gold Cloud Platform Partner, Lightstream has deep Azure knowledge and is certified to help assess and analyze your architecture with Azure’s Well-Architected Review tool to identify risks.

Workshops begin with an evaluation of that specific aspect of your cloud environment – i.e., operational excellence, performance efficiency, reliability or security, depending on the workshop. As you complete the assessment, you’re provided a score for each pillar that you chose to evaluate and an aggregate score across the entire workload. Then we’ll advise what actions should be taken for optimization and create a plan to implement the prioritized, and funded recommendations.

It’s not uncommon for overworked and understaffed business leaders and IT professionals to put off performing Well-Architected Reviews. They think, everything is running smoothly so why try to fix something that isn’t broken? But the truth is, no matter how well your environment seems to be performing or how much you’ve managed to improve processes and increase your organization’s efficiency, you have the opportunity to do it even better.

The bottom line is this: you have a duty to correct misconfigurations and proactively avert security threats and financial and operational inefficiencies. And between new instances, changing security groups and updated service offerings, you must make sure that your organization is maximizing every opportunity for savings and automation. The longer you put off Well-Architected Reviews, the greater your organization’s vulnerability is to cybersecurity attacks and getting bypassed by your competition.

Contact Lightstream to find out how Well-Architected Framework Technical Workshops can optimize and update your Azure cloud environment, ultimately helping your organization to cut costs, increase revenue, ensure compliance, go to market faster and increase the quality of your products and services.

 

A Streaming Video Platform & Production Company Cuts Costs and Enhances the User Experience with Help from AWS CloudFront and Lightstream

The company achieves financial and performance optimization via CloudFront and Lightstream Cloud Managed Services

Business Challenge

A budding streaming content and production studio with a growing number of subscribers based throughout the world is dedicated to providing customers with the best viewing experience possible while keeping an eye on its bottom line. Company leadership made the right choice in utilizing content delivery networks, or CDNs, to take advantage of their high availability and performance benefits. CDNs put the streaming content physically closer to subscribers via a geographically distributed network of proxy servers and their data centers.

The company had many of its workloads housed in AWS  but was using a competing CDN provider to deliver its streaming content. Around 2016, it became evident to the organization’s leadership that they were spending an exorbitant amount on CDN services. Moreover, performance in certain areas of the world wasn’t as fast or efficient as it could be due to the nature of the CDN provider’s edge locations. On the brink of launching a new global streaming series, the company was looking for new ways to streamline content delivery as well as improve the day-to-day management of its multi-cloud environment.

Solution

Lightstream’s specialized engineers analyzed the company’s AWS environment against technical and operational best practices and identified areas for financial, operational and security optimization. Lightstream is an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner and provides the company with ongoing cloud advisory services through its Cloud Managed Services offering.

With the launch of the new streaming series in mind, it was determined that part of the financial and performance optimization involved creating a pathway from the company’s original CDN to Amazon CloudFront to accommodate large data transfer at a lower cost and integrating it with other AWS services. Lightstream worked with the company to understand the benefits of switching to CloudFront for the streaming series’ future traffic, which delivers content to end users with lower latency using a global network of 225+ Points of Presence (215+ Edge locations and 13 regional mid-tier caches) in 90 cities across 47 countries. Using CloudFront on AWS lowers customers’ data-out charges in comparison with competitors. It also leverages Amazon’s highly resilient, fully redundant, global backbone network for superior performance and availability for end users.

Partnering with Lightstream for CMS also allows the company to tap into Lightstream’s expertise on the latest and greatest AWS offerings. AWS is constantly adding new capabilities so users can leverage cutting-edge technologies to experiment and innovate more quickly. Staying on top of this became burdensome and time consuming for the company’s in-house IT professionals. With Lightstream Cloud Managed Services, a team of cloud and security experts helps continually optimize the financial, security, technology, and operational aspects of a company’s AWS cloud. When specific issues like CDN optimization arise, the Lightstream team is already on hand to recommend best practices and drive successful outcomes.

Business Outcomes

Since CloudFront is an AWS solution, the service is bundled into the company’s overall AWS usage. Supported by Lightstream, this gave the organization leverage to negotiate better rates than it had been paying with its previous CDN. CloudFront’s cost-efficient and customizable pay-as-you-go model resulted in greater financial optimization since the company no longer had to pay high data-out transfer fees to deliver the new streaming series globally.

With Lightstream, the company was able to successfully re-route the streaming series’ content to CloudFront. Thanks to the success of the series, CloudFront’s monthly usage has grown from 2 PB to 10 PB without an exponential increase in cost the company would have experienced with the competitor’s CDN. CloudFront’s global network of edge locations has also improved content delivery and performance to certain areas of the world. Its flexibility enables the company to easily scale up and down with subscriber demand.

With Lightstream Cloud Managed Services, a team of experts consistently analyzes the company’s technology spend and performance and guides them toward greater financial savings as well as enhanced operational and security measures.

Contact Information

To find out how Lightstream can help your business implement Amazon CloudFront and integrate it with other AWS services or to learn more about how Lightstream Cloud Managed Services can support the successful migration and optimization of your cloud environments, fill out the information-request form on this page.