Qualys and DevSecOps: Helping Businesses Simplify Operations, Maintain Compliance, and Protect Systems With an Innovative Cloud Security Platform

Qualys and DevSecOps: Helping Businesses Simplify Operations, Maintain Compliance, and Protect Systems With an Innovative Cloud Security Platform

TL; DR: Having opened up shop in 1999, Qualys entered the scene as one of the first cloud security platforms on the market. Since its inception, the company has helped nearly 10,000 global enterprises in upward of 120 countries achieve higher efficiency, security, and regulatory compliance through its vast portfolio of IT solutions. Qualys empowers businesses to leverage the power of the cloud to protect their assets in the evolving online threat matrix, operate with greater agility, and adopt the technologies that will drive their revenues and futures.

Despite its current prominence and ever-growing popularity, cloud computing was initially met with a great deal of skepticism. In the late 1990s, the state of online business was still in its infancy, with many brick-and-mortar operations having yet to make the transition to the web.

It would be several years before many companies would grow to trust the online landscape enough to migrate their assets to it. This hesitation was mainly the result of concerns regarding security and the preservation of privacy in cloud computing. But, in 1999, a company emerged that would change this perception. Qualys proved that the cloud was not only capable of being secured, but the very systems ensuring this protection could be run from the cloud itself.

Qualys became one of the first cloud-delivered security solutions and helped ease the minds of cautious businesspeople wary of housing their valuable customer and proprietary data in a web-based environment. Before Qualys hit the scene, the cloud was speculated to be extremely vulnerable and even a possible liability in regards to privacy and protection.

“When people put workloads in the cloud, it’s hard to know where it is and what it’s doing,” said Chris Carlson, VP of Product Management at Qualys. “And people needed peace of mind that they were secure.”

Chris Carlson's headshot and the Qualys logo

Qualys’s Chris Carlson told us how the company’s cloud-based security platform helps enterprises protect their data.

Today, Qualys boasts nearly 10,000 global customers and secures the majority of the Forbes Global 100’s online applications — even gaining recognition and extensive use by software giants like Microsoft.

Finding vulnerabilities in web applications is a difficult and tedious task to tackle alone, even for the largest and most tech-savvy organizations. In the case of Microsoft, the Qualys Cloud Platform helps the company scan thousands of websites per day to ensure the security of its online assets. For almost two decades, numerous enterprise-level organizations, including Microsoft, have partnered with Qualys to help them operate with agility, maintain compliance, and keep their data safe in the face of hazards prevalent in today’s digital space.

Reinventing Approaches to Security in an Evolving Threat Landscape

Companies contemplating cloud use in the 1990s and early 2000s were tasked with weighing the threat of vulnerability against the numerous barriers associated with adopting new technology. Businesses — especially small-scale SMBs — were faced with high prices and a lack of technical knowledge and support.

“A lot of people view security as a cost center,” Chris said. “There’s very little security technology that actually counts as business-enabling technology.”

With threats constantly evolving, businesses must invest wisely, choosing solutions that evolve with them.

Today, online security is top of mind for modern organizations — especially for those that rely exclusively on web presence for their business models — and the need for reliable security solutions is critical.

“Now, security is a board-level decision, and it has more of a seat at the table,” Chris said. “More CEOs, CFOs, and directors are looking at web protection issues.”

Chris noted government regulation, cost, and the need for a skilled workforce as significant contributors to what he calls the “no philosophy of security.” Ironically, the obstruction of progress can also be due to a lack of precaution — thus, investments in security are ultimately investments toward future revenue and growth.

Achieve Better Efficiency & Protection Through Digital Transformation

Chris described the process of adopting new technologies as “digital transformation.” Moving toward hybrid/cloud-based IT enables businesses to scale at a rapid rate, allowing them to keep pace with the evolving market.

“In order for the business to compete better in the industry, they need speed, agility, and automation for their business offerings,” Chris said.

Qualys offers businesses a way to safely improve agility and automation through DevSecOps, which is a fusion of traditional DevOps and advanced security protocol.

More important than efficiency is security — the very livelihood of a company could be at stake if safety protocol is neglected during the DevOps process.

“If you move to the cloud and you don’t do it right, you can expose customer data very quickly,” Chris said. “Witness the GOP consultant that had accidentally exposed 2 million voter records because they didn’t turn on the firewall rules. That’s where the DevSecOps comes in.”

The process of digital transformation thus includes the transformation of security and the ways in which businesses must comply with privacy and data use policies.

Through digital transformation, Qualys aims to automate and simplify the use of security software and services to the degree that any person in any department would theoretically be able to mitigate any discovered vulnerabilities.

“To enable developers to get more out of the DevOps process, security needs to be integrated without the developer or the operations people knowing,” Chris said. “Security is very esoteric.”

Chris named SQL as a threat example, stating that a security expert would understand how SQL injection works, whereas the application developer would be much less likely to even know what SQL injection is.

Hybrid Cloud Solutions Built With Compliance In Mind

Qualys helps protect business operations in the cloud with a wide variety of solutions consolidated into its cloud platform.

“In the mid-2000s, when compliance regulations came in, security leaders learned the language of risk,” Chris said. “It’s not about training your developers in security — it’s about changing security and delivering it within the language and processes of DevOps.”

The Qualys Cloud Platform runs from a simple browser window, with no need for software installation, plugins, or even VPN tunnel access. The platform can therefore be easily accessed by users, regardless of operating system. Furthermore, it’s “always-on,” continuously assessing security and compliance posture. The resulting data is updated in real time, with two-second visibility across all IT assets.

Within its self-proclaimed end-to-end IT solution, Qualys offers compliance and security for cloud infrastructure, endpoints, and web apps. With actionable intelligence, businesses can make smarter data-driven decisions to reduce vulnerability and mitigate budding threats.

Qualys’s offerings not only reduce digital hazards, but also run without the need for specialized infrastructure and highly trained staff, significantly saving cost, time, and headaches. As a result, more accurate TCOs can be calculated.

Safeguarding Global Institutions With a Growing Portfolio of IT Solutions

The Qualys Cloud Platform is trusted by many major institutions, including banks, health insurance providers, government organizations, and enterprise-level businesses. Companies, like Microsoft, use its cloud platform to keep infrastructure secure. As a result, Qualys has become the gold standard for compliance management, global mobility assessment, and web application scanning.

To expand its offerings, Qualys plans to implement new security products related to the emerging popularity of container technologies.

“Docker containers are a new type of computing paradigm, where traditional security assessment doesn’t work,” Chris said.

Docker containers are highly specialized and designed to run a single app at a time. Chris anticipates many new developments in the future, as the businesses Qualys works with are implementing DevOps one project at a time, and each project has its own specific needs.

“A lot of times, there are new DevOps paradigms only done for one project,” he said. “What happens is that the tool they select becomes the standard for the organization to follow. Then, all the other projects are suddenly not using those best practices.”

As some of the most destructive data breaches take advantage of cloud vulnerability — no matter how rare — businesses must stay on their toes to secure assets preemptively. Qualys has worked with businesses to break down the barriers keeping them from becoming their most secure, efficiently-run selves.

“Unfortunately, there are a lot of soft costs in business,” Chris said. “If there are security defects in production, they have to be fixed eventually.”

Issues are cheaper and easier to fix early on in the dev cycle, and the devastation of a security breach is ultimately much more costly than investing in prevention.

Qualys offers an all-in-one package for security management, fully equipped with application scanners, vulnerability assessments, in-depth data analysis, and further assistance for DevSecOps and compliance. Its cloud platform completes more than 3 billion IP scans and upward of 1 trillion security events per year. Using Qualys not only helps reduce vulnerability, but improves overall business operations, which leads to higher ROI, lower costs, and greater customer satisfaction.

Sean Garrity

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