New Juniper Security CTO promises open framework for software defined network security

Kevin Walker says his experience with Walmart.com is helpful.

The new Juniper Networks liaison between the company’s engineering team and its customers says it will take time, but Juniper’s software defined security networking (SDSN) will eventually support third-party devices to help build security into the network fabric itself.

It’s part of a shift from network security to a secure network that is flexible thanks to software defined networking, says Kevin Walker, Juniper’s Security CTO.

The SDSN framework is designed to leverage the capabilities of the entire network to detect and assess threats, and enforce security policies across switches, routers and firewalls. Recently Juniper CEO Rami Rahim referred to this framework as “the rolling thunder of security enhancements.”

Initially, customers will have to be Juniper shops in order to reap its benefits, Walker says. “Clearly out of the gate we’re going to promote our own products,” he says, but with APIs available for others to write to and active recruiting he expects third parties to become partners. “It’s an open ecosystem.”

He says the company is urging customers to buy into SDSN, with the most apparent immediate benefit being localizing the effects of malicious activity. “There’s a lot more we want to do with SDSN,” he says, that will involve intelligence gathering, analysis and enforcement.

He says CISOs face budget pressures, hiring and nurturing security talent and coming to grips with the unique set of network assets each business has. “It’s a very complex environment,” he says, and the goal is to help reduce the complexity of security by embedding some of it in the network itself. “Customers are facing a huge problem with respect to complexity.”

Walker has been security CTO for just a few months, having come from Walmart where he was CISO for the retailer’s online presence. He says his experience is what he brings to the table, and that gives him an understanding of real-world problems. He plans to stay in touch with his Rollodex of colleagues as well as by attending forums for corporate security pros, he says.

He cites as one of his proudest accomplishments the fact that three of his former staffers are now CISOs in their own right with a fourth on the way.

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