TL; DR: vArmour empowers customers worldwide to control operational and cyber risk through its tools for application relationship management. The company, founded in 2011, works with important organizations in the financial services, healthcare, and critical infrastructure sectors to protect their most valuable digital assets. With a newly released product designed to manage user access risks associated with distributed workforces, vArmour is now helping users adequately visualize and control applications, devices, and users in the coronavirus era.
Since 2001, Google Earth’s catalog of satellite imagery and geospatial data has provided users with endless hours of digital exploration. The tool has put virtual travel within reach for anyone with an internet connection, allowing them to visit new destinations and revisit old ones via 3D imagery.
Today, vArmour is providing that same level of visibility into the digital enterprise landscape, detailing every application, user, and relationship in a centralized relationship graph.
“vArmour allows you to observe the enterprise from that 30,000-foot view — as if you’re in an airplane flying over Kansas City, but then you can drill down to your favorite barbecue joint and see what’s going on inside,” said Keith Stewart, SVP of vArmour. “That Google Earth for the enterprise notion, that you can zoom in to see the technical details of one virtual machine talking to another, resonates strongly with our customers.”
The company specializes in providing application relationship management to financial services, healthcare, critical infrastructure, and other essential sectors, empowering them to protect their valuable digital assets.
vArmour’s flagship software, Application Controller, reduces risk through the visibility and control of relationships — from detailed interactions between individual workloads to large scale ones across cloud servers and business units.
vArmour is also helping users manage COVID-era risks with a new product designed to visualize and control applications, devices, and users in distributed workforces.
Control Risk, Increase Resiliency, and Secure Hybrid Clouds
Keith told us that Application Controller is built for all platforms, including AWS, Cisco ACI, Microsoft Azure, Tanium, and VMware NSX, allowing users to leverage the technology they already own without adding new infrastructure or hiring staff members.
“What’s unique about vArmour is that everything we do aligns with the investments that you’ve already made,” he said. “We sit on the digital exhaust of your existing infrastructure. So we’ll pull in logs from your servers. If you’ve got security agents deployed on those, we’ll consume information from those. If you’re running on a cloud platform, we’ll pull from there.”
The idea is to provide consumers with micro and macroscopic views of their system without requiring a particular platform or supplier.
“We’re independent of all of that, which makes the process a lot easier for people to navigate and allows them to get value a lot faster because you don’t have to deal with the classic deployment timelines. The technology just sits on top of the data you already have, and away you go.”
With more businesses undergoing digital transformations than ever before, a platform-agnostic approach is often appreciated.
“We’re providing significant value for people who are midstream on that transition, trying to manage complexity and accelerate the process,” Keith said. “We’re serving everyone from large financial services companies and telcos down to very small organizations that are trying to figure out how their systems behave and what pieces to move off-premises, to cloud servers.”
From App Visibility and Discovery to Policy Creation and Governance
Of course, tools for application relationship management have become top of mind amid the COVID crisis as businesses strive to accelerate digital transformation projects, increase application resiliency, and embrace a more fluid workforce.
“In terms of digital transformation, we’re seeing that businesses need better customer engagement online because the internet has become the primary customer engagement vehicle,” Keith said. “Whether it’s a migration to cloud servers, new application development and deployment, or new partner relationships that drive more engagement online, accelerating the pace of these projects is clearly job one.”
Keith said the vArmour team is also observing an increased focus on application resiliency. As more customer engagement occurs online, businesses become more dependent on their online systems. “So understanding the relationships that make up those applications, whether they are robust enough or strong enough, is incredibly important to the resiliency of those apps,” he said.
Increasingly distributed workforces also present challenges in terms of risk. Keith said that risk is finally being addressed. “You need more robust monitoring, policy, and assurance systems to make sure that all these people who are working at home in their pajamas are hard at work on the tasks you want them to complete,” he said.
vArmour has solutions for all of these application relationship management needs, from visibility and discovery to policy creation and governance. But if there’s an underlying tenent connecting all of those services, Keith said it’s the ability to understand the real behaviors happening within applications.
“When people can see their system and teams and get that big picture derived from their actual data, without them having to do any work, there’s typically an aha moment,” he said.
An Agile, Customer-Centric Development Approach
To that end, Keith relayed a story from a financial services institution vArmour serves. Tasked with explaining the technology’s value proposition, the chief architect who had implemented vArmour at the institution began to demonstrate how banks can use the software. He showed his CIO how vArmour helps to achieve operational agility, assist in cloud migration, and ensure application resiliency.
“The CIO said, ‘This is really interesting, but show me my payment systems — they’re my lifeblood,’” Keith said. “The architect was nervous because he hadn’t yet investigated that area. But, much to the CIO’s pleasure, he easily pulled up the information, and in real time, they could understand this incredibly important payment system within the bank.”
The story speaks to vArmour’s focus on customer experience in the product development cycle, which is very much driven by user feedback. In fact, Keith said that staying in close contact with customers is one of vArmour’s keys to success.
“We’re reasonably smart people, but we’re nowhere near as smart as our customers,” he said. “Incorporating feedback into the product allows us to meet their needs — there is no other way to build applications these days.”
Reducing Operational and Cyber Risk in the Distributed Workforce
Keith said that the company’s most recent development, designed to help businesses manage user access risks, was directly inspired by user feedback.
“About nine months ago, the head of the network at another bank told me he had problems understanding the way users are accessing his applications,” Keith told us. “He said, ‘I need you guys to bring that information into the product as well.’”
In response, vArmour recently announced that it would expand its Application Controller to address identity and application access through a deeper understanding of relationships.
The resulting product, the vArmour Application Access & Identity Module, reduces the operational and cyber risk inherent in distributed workforces. It also helps organizations leverage relationships to determine if users are accessing critical business applications and data securely.
“We are very focused right now on helping people maximize their value out of the software and their understanding of relationships because it really does change how people can run and operate IT.”