September 18, 2020

VMworld 2020 Digital Q&A: Firemon Talks Network Security for Multi-Cloud Environments and Real-Time Asset Visibility, Compliance and Automation

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VMworld 2020 goes digital.  Will you be in attendance?  If the event were physical, I would have looked forward to visiting with Firemon.  So we reached out to them digitally instead.

With the current pandemic, we're seeing a lot of changes taking place in our normal, everyday lives -- both professionally and personally.  One of those changes is the end of physical trade show events as we move to socially distance ourselves from one another.  While some trade shows simply cancelled or postponed until 2021, others have made the switch to a 100% digital format.  VMworld, the world's largest virtualization and cloud computing event hosted every year by VMware, is one of those shows -- enter for the first time ever, VMworld 2020 Digital

While a physical VMworld event would normally have north of 150+ sponsors, a digital VMworld event won't be able to effectively support that number of sponsors. 

FireMon is the only agile network security policy management platform for hybrid cloud enterprises. They deliver persistent network security for multi-cloud environments through a powerful fusion of real-time asset visibility, compliance and automation.

So what about you?  Are you gearing up for VMworld 2020 digital?  Get started now by reading this exclusive interview with Tim Woods, VP, Technology Alliances at FireMon, to learn more and start getting excited for what's to come!

 

VMblog:  Are you sponsoring this year's VMworld 2020 digital event?  Can you talk about what that sponsorship looks like? 

Tim Woods:  We are not - silver sponsors and exhibitors were not asked to sponsor. 

VMblog:  With COVID-19, we've seen a lot of changes in the tech world.  One big change has been the disruption of physical trade shows.  Many, like VMworld, have become digital in 2020.  What are your thoughts on digital events compared to traditional physical events? 

Woods:  Given the circumstances the world is facing today, I am encouraged by how motivated people are to stay connected.  Digital events are by no means a replacement for physical face-to-face events, such as trade shows, but they offer people an alternate avenue to stay informed and connected with their peers on like forums of interest.

VMblog:  With this new digital format, what are you most interested in seeing or learning at VMworld 2020 digital? 

Woods:  Anytime I hear VM anything I think "virtual".  VMware has been a leader in virtualization for many years. As a partner and consumer of the technology I am most interested to hear about what is new and what to expect down the road ahead.

VMblog:  Another change has been a shift to working from home.  What are your thoughts on this, how has it changed things for your company both internally and externally? 

Woods:  The transition for our company was pretty smooth.  Our company culture places emphasis on the results we achieve and what resources we need to achieve those results regardless of where we are physically located.  It's natural we miss not being able to interact with each other in person, but our folks have embraced video conferencing as the best replacement vehicle for those interactions until we can get back to a better norm. 

VMblog:  Can you give us the high-level rundown of your company's technology offerings? 

Woods:  FireMon was created to help organizations achieve greater security efficiency while reducing risk and complexity.  FireMon offers an Agile Network Security Policy Management solution that helps companies maintain a strong security and compliance posture with comprehensive real-time visibility across the entire hybrid network real estate.

VMblog:  Talking about your product solutions, can you give readers a few examples of how your offerings are unique?  What are your differentiators? 

Woods:  First off, I want to emphasize we help detect change real-time.  It's important to understand the impact a given network security change might have on the environment.  When a change takes place there are fundamental questions that must be answer; 1) who made the change,  2) what was the change, 3) was it expected, 4) was it documented, 5) did it have a negative impact on business, security, or compliance posture.  

The second item I would emphasize is our strong commitment to an in-depth API offering.  Over 90% of the functionality found in the web interface is also accessible in the form of an API.  The is critically important when you desire to raise the total value of your combined security solutions through information exchange and enrichment.

Lastly, and there are many others, we have repeatedly proven our ability to scale to the size of a given environment.  If you can't perform at scale in a customer's environment the functionality of your product, regardless of how good it is, will not be adopted by the users.  We take pride in the ROI that FireMon's solution provides.

VMblog:  For those individuals attending the VMworld 2020 digital event, or those who have attended VMworld in the past, why should they be interested in your company and solutions?   

Woods:  We are humbled by some of the best know companies in the world that entrust us to help them improve their security posture.  The FireMon value proposition resonates across all industry verticals to address the real-life challenges our customers face every day.  If you company is struggling with limited security visibility across your hybrid environment, growing complexity yielding increased human error, inconsistent security controls causing rework or system impacts, repeated failed compliance audits, over taxed resources due to inefficiency, I promise FireMon can help and we want to talk to you!

VMblog:  What specifically does your company offer a VMware shop or VMware implementation? 

Woods:  Large enterprise networks have much heterogeneity and benefit greatly from FireMon's extended viewing lens across the hybrid infrastructure.  For VMware implementations the full functionality of the FireMon solution suite is available to support an NSX edge and VM Distributed Firewall implementation. This would include policy visibility, change, compliance assessments, and security policy automation for distributed firewall policies.

VMblog:  Normally, VMworld is the time of year that people in this industry announce a new product or product update.  Do you have anything new that you've recently announced or plan to announce?  Can you give us the details? 

Woods:  FireMon continues to be an innovation leader in the NSPM space.  We continually collaborate with our partners and customers to identify new development areas, and value enhancements to existing areas.  Our technology device support for cloud, SDwan, SDN, SOAR, and ITSM is growing.   And I would be remiss if I didn't mention the extensive work being done on our API support.  One example would be new additions for headless API support to our policy orchestration.

VMblog:  How does your company work with VMware?  Where do you fit within the VMware ecosystem? 

Woods:  FireMon has been an advance tier member of the VMware Technology Alliance Program (TAP) for over 5 years.  We specifically address areas where the FireMon solution can extend visibility and augment security effectiveness.

VMblog:  VMware will be covering things in their keynote, but what big changes do you see taking shape in the industry?

Woods:  No doubt we find ourselves in interesting times.  The pandemic has had far reaching effects on our economy and industry segments.  It has also uncovered areas where better efficiency of the technologies we use today can help support a remote workforce.  Automation is one of those key areas.  Deployment of workloads to the cloud will continue to accelerate but the processes we use apply data security control to those workloads cannot lag behind the speed of those cloud deployments.   When faced with people skill shortages and antiquated processes we must turn to technology automation to enhance process efficiency and consistency for the application of data security controls.  Security must gain parity with the speed of the business.

VMblog:  Finally, do you think physical trade shows will come back?  And if so, when and do they change?  Would you sponsor?  

Woods:  We absolutely believe physical trade shows will return but it may be quite a ways away.  If I had to guess I would say a least another 12 months bar any additional challenges containing the spread of Covid.  People will need to feel safe and have assurance that their best health interest is being taken into consideration.   At FireMon we want nothing more than a return to some semblance of normal but only if it means our employees, partners, customers, and their families are safe.

David Marshall

David Marshall has been involved in the technology industry for over 19 years, and he's been working with virtualization software since 1999. He was able to become an industry expert in virtualization by becoming a pioneer in that field - one of the few people in the industry allowed to work with Alpha stage server virtualization software from industry leaders: VMware (ESX Server), Connectix and Microsoft (Virtual Server).

Through the years, he has invented, marketed and helped launch a number of successful virtualization software companies and products. David holds a BS degree in Finance, an Information Technology Certification, and a number of vendor certifications from Microsoft, CompTia and others. He's also co-authored two published books: "VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center" and "Advanced Server Virtualization: VMware and Microsoft Platforms in the Virtual Data Center" and acted as technical editor for two popular Virtualization "For Dummies" books. With his remaining spare time, David founded and operates one of the oldest independent virtualization news blogs, VMblog.com. And co-founded CloudCow.com, a publication dedicated to Cloud Computing. Starting in 2009 and continuing all the way to 2016, David has been honored with the vExpert distinction by VMware for his virtualization evangelism.

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