SaaS App Security

Dave Frampton On Innovation In Cloud Security And How “True SaaS” Technology Can Assist Cloud Expansion

Sumo Logic’s Dave Frampton discusses cloud migration challenges, how “true SaaS” can help tackle those challenges, the importance of innovation in cloud security, and where businesses should start when it comes to securing their cloud environments.


Many businesses around the world already use the cloud in some way and benefit from its increased scalability, operational simplicity, and economic benefits. As we become more comfortable within cloud environments, the challenges associated with the cloud are changing; we’re no longer struggling with migrating to the cloud and securing legacy software. Instead, organizations are struggling with visibility and cloud-native security—new technologies that will protect cloud-native applications against cloud-specific threats. 

“Many of the basic challenges people [encounter] have been more or less solved at this point,” says Dave Frampton, Head of the Security Business Unit at Sumo Logic. 

“[There are two] challenges that we hear from customers: one is making sure that they have the same degree of visibility in a holistic sense; the other one is realizing the security risk of applications that are developed in the cloud, and that face the internet.”

Dave is an experienced cybersecurity entrepreneur and innovator. He joined Sumo Logic in 2017 via the acquisition of his startup, FactorChain, to lead the development and launch of the company’s next-gen cloud SIEM.

In an exclusive interview with Expert Insights at RSAC 2023, Dave discusses the main challenges associated with cloud migration, how using “true SaaS” technologies can help tackle those challenges, the importance of innovation when it comes to cloud security, and his top tips on where businesses should start when it comes to securing their cloud environments.

You can listen to our full conversation with Dave on the Expert Insights Podcast

Cloud Challenges Are Evolving

When it comes to cloud migration and the management of cloud environments, the typical challenges that businesses face today are different to the ones they may have faced historically. In the past, organizations were often concerned with trying to replicate their on-premises security in the cloud to defend against known threats. 

Today, we’re facing two slightly different challenges, says Dave. The first challenge is a lack of visibility. This is, he says, covers all the way from the application to the services layer, to the cloud infrastructure on which the application is hosted. 

The second challenge is securing cloud-native applications amid a sea of new tools and terms. 

“[The cloud-native application] security threat surface is, in many ways, a bigger risk for the business than some of the well-known security risks,” says Dave. “Understanding that and then trying to figure out how we shift resources and then act on that—given that that threat surface is currently supported by a variety of tools that are relatively new compared to some of the traditional tools.” 

“We have the constant use of new… acronyms and new products that are springing up, and they’re all useful at addressing pieces of the security problem. And I think a challenge that customers have is: how do we look across all of that and aggregate that information into actionable insight? How do we get a sense of where we really are in that securing of the applications?”

A Cloud Challenge Needs A Cloud-Native Solution

The best way to combat the challenge of securing cloud-native applications is by removing the siloes between security tools and workflows. This will improve visibility, as well as making the various tools easier to manage, says Dave.

“These solution sets are going to need to converge so that these teams can collaborate with one another, not just leveraging common data, but collaborating in workflow, in the types of content, and in consolidating some of the siloed tools that exist.”

“There’s a need to pull this together into a holistic, coordinated, defence.”

Sumo Logic’s cloud log monitoring, management, and SIEM tools are built in the cloud, for the cloud. When it comes to cloud security, utilizing cloud-native tools has several benefits over “lifting and shifting” on-premises technologies, says Dave. First, it’s more straightforward in terms of operations; businesses can rely on their vendors to host and maintain software, rather than having to do that themselves. This saves valuable people resource, cost, and bandwidth. Second, cloud-native tools generally offer more flexibility in terms of storage demand; you can often mix and match different services to meet your business need.

“[Sharing that infrastructure] is a big economic advantage,” Dave says, “both for all the customers at one vendor, and then in the macro sense; all of the software that leverages common infrastructure.”

Unifying Our Teams As Well As Our Tools

This year, the cybersecurity industry has been placing importance on the need to unify tools to make them easier to manage, improve visibility, and reduce blind spots. But it isn’t just our tools that need unifying, says Dave—it’s our teams and security providers, too. 

“We have islands of application security, we have developers who don’t have a security background, you have this collaboration necessary between people who are very separate on the org chart and in their backgrounds and orientation. So, there’s this need to unify the defence at multiple different levels.” 

“That is far broader than just a single tool set. And I think that kind of unification is a shift that will need to happen quickly. You’ll see consolidation of some of the some of the tech vendors—I think it’s too overwhelming to have three dozen more vendors added to a pile that’s already too big. So, you’ll see consolidation and you’ll see that holistic approach, and you’ll see it slowly experiment with different forms of best practice.”

We Need To Keep Innovating

With a threat landscape that’s continuously evolving and the increasing pressure on cloud deployments, the cloud is a very dynamic environment. New vendors are popping up all the time and established vendors are producing an ever expanding product line. This is, in part, done to address new pressures, use cases, and risks—all of which is making the “supply” (vendors and products) just as complex as the “demand” (lack of visibility and security). 

To keep up with the pace of these changes, the security industry needs to remain creative and keep innovating, says Dave. 

“That creative mindset is critical,” he says. “Creative in the sense that you’re taking a fresh approach to some of these problems without the rigid mindset of some of these silos and well-defined product categories, and the way that we’ve done things in the past […] It’s also critical to keep the balance of innovation and harvest towards innovation.

“We’re trying to get customers to an end state of a greater degree of security and reliability for this new emergent digital enterprise. And that with that True North in mind, it takes creativity, it takes innovation, you can’t really become stuck in the incremental pivoting off the past.”

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