Technology Consulting

With technologies evolving at a break-neck speed and competition getting fierce. Trying to solve all your IT challenges internally can become costly and distracting while other aspects of your business could suffer. Without right technical expert by your side, it is difficult to reach business goals in a dynamic and competitive marketplace.

We have provided broad range of technical services to hundreds of clients across United States. You can be confident in Vertex’s Technology Consulting Services team ability to provide IT strategy consulting, network security, cyber security assessments, application development, IAM solutions, and more. Our team has worked the world while helping clients assess different technology and methodology strategies, successfully integrating IT solutions that deliver maximum benefit in the shortest time.

If you feel you don’t have the right internal resources, enlisting information technology consulting services may be the best option. Please contact us whether for a one-time project or ongoing strategic partnership. Some of our services include:

Identity and Access Management

Identity and access management (IAM) is a framework of business processes, policies and technologies that facilitates the management of electronic or digital identities. With an IAM framework in place, information technology (IT) managers can control user access to critical information within their organizations. Systems used for IAM include single sign-on systems, two-factor authentication, multifactor authentication and privileged access management. These technologies also provide the ability to securely store identity and profile data as well as data governance functions to ensure that only data that is necessary and relevant is shared.

IAM systems can be deployed on premises, provided by a third-party vendor through a cloud-based subscription model or deployed in a hybrid model.

On a fundamental level, IAM encompasses the following components:

  • 1- How individuals are identified in a system (understand the difference between identity management and authentication);
  • 2- How roles are identified in a system and how they are assigned to individuals
  • 3- Adding, removing and updating individuals and their roles in a system
  • 4- Assigning levels of access to individuals or groups of individuals; and
  • 5- Protecting the sensitive data within the system and securing the system itself.

Why IAM is important?

Businesses leaders and IT departments are under increased regulatory and organizational pressure to protect access to corporate resources. As a result, they can no longer rely on manual and error-prone processes to assign and track user privileges. IAM automates these tasks and enables granular access control and auditing of all corporate assets on premises and in the cloud.

IAM, which has an ever-increasing list of features — including biometrics, behavior analytics and AI — is well suited to the rigors of the new security landscape. For example, IAM’s tight control of resource access in highly distributed and dynamic environments aligns with the industry’s transition from firewalls to zero-trust models and with the security requirements of IoT. For more information on the future of IoT security, check out this video.

While IT professionals might think IAM is for larger organizations with bigger budgets, in reality, the technology is accessible for companies of all sizes.

Customer Identity and Access Management (CIAM

Customer identity and access management (CIAM) enables organizations to securely capture and manage customer identity and profile data, as well as control customer access to applications and services.

CIAM (aka customer identity) solutions usually provide a combination of features including customer registration, self-service account management, consent and preference management, single sign-on (SSO), multi-factor authentication (MFA), access management, directory services and data access governance. The best CIAM solutions ensure a secure, seamless customer experience at extreme scale and performance, no matter which channels (web, mobile, etc.) customers use to engage with a brand.

These solutions can be delivered via software that can be deployed on premises, in private clouds or via identity-as-a-service (IDaaS) platforms. Some platforms expose their capabilities—including admin capabilities—via APIs and are geared toward development teams who want to embed CIAM services into their applications. Regardless of delivery method, the goal is to make the experience of accessing digital applications seamless and secure.

Why CIAM is important?

Customers want two simple things as they interact with brands.

  • 1- A great user experience
  • 2- Protection from fraud, breaches and privacy violations

Privilege Access Management (PAM)

With cybersecurity threats on the rise, implementing a proven privileged access management (PAM) strategy is more important than ever before.

Regrettably, some think that implementing a PAM solution is too complicated, too costly, even too trivial. When in fact, the right solution can cost effectively simplify implementations, while significantly improving overall security.

Our Fundamentals of privileged access management guide offers strategies and lessons learned, including:

  • 1- Establishing the importance of discovery, i.e., you can’t secure what you can’t find
  • 2- Forming clear goals, whether moving from manual processes or legacy PAM solutions
  • 3- Creating advanced visibility into who has access to which systems and data
  • 4- Transitioning through the different stages of PAM maturity

Legacy Application Migration

A lot of organizations are stuck with legacy ageing security infrastructure due to migration costs and complexity involve to migrate to latest technologies.

We provide competitive and cost-effective legacy application migration solutions. Our strategy involves keeping the lights on and migrate applications with minimum to zero downtime experience for end-users.

We have implemented various migrations involving legacy infrastructure such as RACF / mainframe to latest technologies.

It takes thousands of hours to get off legacy identity systems. That’s because identity is hard-coded into your applications.

We decouple identity from your applications, so all your apps can work with any identity provider. That means you can modernize each app without rewrites or repetitive integration tasks. Say goodbye to app refactoring once and for all.

Cloud Migrations

A cloud migration is when a company moves some or all of its data center capabilities into the cloud, usually to run on the cloud-based infrastructure provided by a public cloud service provider such as AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure.

As more and more companies have already transitioned to the cloud, migrations are increasingly taking place within the cloud, as companies migrate between different cloud providers (known as cloud-to-cloud migration). But for those making the initial foray to the cloud, there are a few critical considerations to be aware of, which we’ll take a look at below.

What are the Main Benefits of Migrating to the Cloud?

Here are some of the benefits that compel organizations to migrate resources to the public cloud:

Scalability

Cloud computing can scale to support larger workloads and more users, much more easily than on-premises infrastructure. In traditional IT environments, companies had to purchase and set up physical servers, software licenses, storage and network equipment to scale up business services.

Cost

Cloud providers offer managed services that lower your operational overhead and simplify maintenance tasks such as upgrades. Companies migrating to the cloud can spend significantly less on IT operations. They can devote more resources to innovation—developing new products or improving existing products.

Performance

Migrating to the cloud can improve performance and end-user experience. Applications and websites hosted in the cloud can easily scale to serve more users or higher throughput, and can run in geographical locations near to end-users, to reduce network latency.

Digital experience

Users can access cloud services and data from anywhere, whether they are employees or customers. This contributes to digital transformation, enables an improved experience for customers, and provides employees with modern, flexible tools.

What are Common Cloud Migration Challenges?

Cloud migrations can be complex and risky. Here are some of the major challenges facing many organizations as they transition resources to the cloud.

Lack of Strategy

Many organizations start migrating to the cloud without devoting sufficient time and attention to their strategy. Successful cloud adoption and implementation requires rigorous end-to-end cloud migration planning. Each application and dataset may have different requirements and considerations, and may require a different approach to cloud migration. The organization must have a clear business case for each workload it migrates to the cloud.

Cost Management

When migrating to the cloud, many organizations have not set clear KPIs to understand what they plan to spend or save after migration. This makes it difficult to understand if migration was successful, from an economic point of view. In addition, cloud environments are dynamic and costs can change rapidly as new services are adopted and application usage grows.

Vendor Lock-In

Vendor lock-in is a common problem for adopters of cloud technology. Cloud providers offer a large variety of services, but many of them cannot be extended to other cloud platforms. Migrating workloads from one cloud to another is a lengthy and costly process. Many organizations start using cloud services, and later find it difficult to switch providers if the current provider doesn’t suit their requirements.

Data Security and Compliance

One of the major obstacles to cloud migration is data security and compliance. Cloud services use a shared responsibility model, where they take responsibility for securing the infrastructure, and the customer is responsible for securing data and workloads.

So while the cloud provider may provide robust security measures, it is your organization’s responsibility to configure them correctly and ensure that all services and applications have the appropriate security controls.

The migration process itself presents security risks. Transferring large volumes of data, which may be sensitive, and configuring access controls for applications across different environments, creates significant exposure.

Cloud Migration Strategies

Gartner has identified five cloud migration techniques, known as the “5 Rs”. Organizations looking to migrate to the cloud should consider which migration strategy best answers their needs. The following is a brief description of each:

Rehost. Rehosting, or ‘lift and shift,’ involves using infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). You simply redeploy your existing data and applications on the cloud server. This is easy to do and is thus suited for organizations less familiar with cloud environments. It is also a good option for cases where it is difficult to modify the code, and you want to migrate your applications intact.

Refactor. Refactoring, or ‘lift, tinker, and shift,’ is when you tweak and optimize your applications for the cloud. In this case, a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model is employed. The core architecture of the applications remain unchanged, but adjustments are made to enable the better use of cloud-based tools.

Revise. Revising builds upon the previous strategies, requiring more significant changes to the architecture and code of the systems being moved to the cloud. This is done to enable applications to take full advantage of the services available in the cloud, which may require introducing major code changes. This strategy requires foreplanning and advanced knowledge.

Rebuild. Rebuilding takes the Revise approach even further by discarding the existing code base and replacing it with a new one. This process takes a lot of time and is only considered when companies decide that their existing solutions don’t meet current business needs.

Replace. Replacing is another solution to the challenges that inform the Rebuild approach. The difference here is that the company doesn’t redevelop its own native application from scratch. This involves migrating to a third-party, prebuilt application provided by the vendor. The only thing that you migrate from your existing application is the data, while everything else about the system is new.

Secure Directory Services

Your enterprise data store is under siege. With new objects being added at an exponential pace, the retrieval speed of identity-related information across your enterprise can be impacted.

This results in performance degradation that delays responses to application queries and user access requests. Customer transactions are slowed. Your workforce becomes less productive. And user frustration grows. To support next-generation identity and access management (IAM), hybrid IT, remote work, Internet of Things (IoT), distributed cloud workloads, consumer demands, and workforce requirements, you need a directory service with built-in performance, security, scalability, and resilience.

Managed Services (onshore/offshore)

Operating with efficiency, leading with opportunities

Businesses use value-added, subscription-based services for three core reasons:

Cost savings

Innovation

Faster service delivery times

We provide following managed services:

1- HelpDesk Support (L1 till nth Level of Support)
2- NOC Support
3- Service Hosting/Maintenance
4- SOC

Risk Mitigation

Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business. Comparable to risk reduction, risk mitigation takes steps to reduce the negative effects of threats and disasters on business continuity (BC). Threats that might put a business at risk include cyberattacks, weather events and other causes of physical or virtual damage. Risk mitigation is one element of risk management, and its implementation will differ by organization.

What is the goal of risk mitigation?

Risk mitigation is the process of planning for disasters and having a way to lessen negative impacts.

Although the principle of risk mitigation is to prepare a business for all potential risks, a proper risk mitigation plan will weigh the impact of each risk and prioritize planning around that impact. Risk mitigation focuses on the inevitability of some disasters and is used for those situations where a threat cannot be avoided entirely. Rather than planning to avoid a risk, mitigation deals with the aftermath of a disaster and the steps that can be taken prior to the event occurring to reduce adverse and, potentially, long-term effects.

Ideally, an organization would be prepared for all risks and threats and avoid them entirely. However, having a risk mitigation plan can help an organization prepare for the worst, acknowledging that some degree of damage will occur and having systems in place to confront that.

What’s in a risk mitigation plan?

When creating a risk mitigation plan, there are a few steps that are fairly standard for most organizations. Recognizing recurring risks, prioritizing risk mitigation and monitoring the established plan are vital aspects to maintaining a thorough risk mitigation strategy.

There are five general steps in the design process of a risk mitigation plan:

Identify all possible events in which risk is presented. A risk mitigation strategy takes into account not only the priorities and protection of mission-critical data of each organization, but any risks that might arise due to the nature of the field or geographic location. A risk mitigation strategy must also factor in an organization’s employees and their needs

Perform a risk assessment, which involves quantifying the level of risk in the events identified. Risk assessments involve measures, processes and controls to reduce the impact of risk.

Prioritize risks, which involves ranking quantified risk in terms of severity. One aspect of risk mitigation is prioritization — accepting an amount of risk in one part of the organization to better protect another. By establishing an acceptable level of risk for different areas, an organization can better prepare the resources needed for BC, while putting fewer mission-critical business functions on the back burner.

Track risks, which involves monitoring risks as they change in severity or relevance to the organization. It’s important to have strong metrics for tracking risk as it evolves, and for tracking the plan’s ability to meet compliance requirements.

Implement and monitor progress, which involves reevaluating the plan’s effectiveness in identifying risk and improving as needed. In business continuity planning, testing a plan is vital. Risk mitigation is no different. Once a plan is in place, regular testing and analysis should occur to make sure the plan is up to date and functioning well. Risks facing data centers are constantly evolving, so risk mitigation plans should reflect any changes in risk or shifting priorities

Types of risk mitigation strategies

There are several types of risk mitigation strategies. Often, these strategies are used in combination with each other, and one may be preferable over another, depending on the company’s risk landscape. They are all part of the broader practice of risk management.

Risk avoidance is used when the consequences are deemed too high to justify the cost of mitigating the problem. For example, an organization can choose not to undertake certain business activities or practices to avoid any exposure to the threat they might pose. Risk avoidance is a common business strategy and can range from something as simple as limiting investments to something as severe as not building offices in potential war zones.

Risk acceptance is accepting a risk for a given period of time to prioritize mitigation effort on other risks.

Risk transfer allocates risks between different parties, consistent with their capacity to protect against or mitigate the risk. One example of this would be a defective product built with some amount of third-party material. The producer of the product may transfer responsibility for a certain fraction of the risk because of this.

Risk monitoring is the act of watching projects and the associated risks for changes in the impact of the associated risks.

Risk can affect any combination of performance, cost and scheduling; therefore, different strategies should be used to address risks based on the way they affect these factors. For example, it might be more important for a company to perform well than for it to save money in a certain project scenario. The company would likely employ a risk acceptance strategy, temporarily prioritizing risks that affect performance more heavily than cost.

Risk mitigation best practices

Below are some risk mitigation best practices that information security professionals should follow:

Make sure stakeholders are involved at each step. Stakeholders may be employees, managers, unions, shareholders or clients. All perspectives are important for developing a comprehensive, holistic risk mitigation strategy.

Create a strong culture around risk management. This means communicating the values, attitudes and beliefs surrounding risk and compliance from the top down. It’s important for every employee to have risk awareness, but the probability of a strong culture is greatly improved when management sets the tone.

Communicate risks as they arise. Risk awareness must be strong throughout the entire organization, so facilitating communication of new, high-impact risks is important to keep everyone up to speed.

Ensure risk management policy is clear so employees are able to follow it. Roles and responsibilities should be clearly defined, and each defined risk needs a clear process for dealing with it

Continuously monitor possible risks. Risk monitoring practices should also be clearly defined and implemented to continuously improve the risk mitigation plan.

Risk mitigation tools

One commonly used risk mitigation tool is a risk assessment framework (RAF). An RAF provides an organization with an outline of which systems are at high or low risk and presents information for both technical and nontechnical personnel. An RAF can be used as a risk mitigation tool by presenting consistent risk assessment and reporting methods.

Common RAFs include the Risk Management Guide for Information Technology Systems from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); the Operationally Critical Threat, Asset, and Vulnerability Evaluation (OCTAVE) from Carnegie Mellon University; and Control Objectives for Information and Related Technology (COBIT) from the Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). The Mitre website also offers comprehensive guidelines for risk mitigation.

Some other commonly used risk mitigation tools are:

1- A probability and impact matrix
2- A SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis.
3- A root cause analysis.

Along with having a keen understanding of internal needs and resources, external specialists can also be a beneficial part of a risk mitigation plan. Several BC and disaster recovery (DR) vendors focus on risk mitigation, and even smaller organizations can take advantage of DR as a service (DRaaS) vendors to keep costs relatively low.

Risk Compliance – For every vertical HealthCare, Finance, Government, Manufacturing, GDPR, CCPA, NIST 800-53, 800-207.

Zero Trust (ZT)

Zero trust (ZT) allows you to provide set of cybersecurity paradigms that move defenses from static, network-based perimeters to focus on users, assets, and resources. A zero trust architecture (ZTA) uses zero trust principles to plan industrial and enterprise infrastructure and workflows. Zero trust assumes there is no implicit trust granted to assets or user accounts based solely on their physical or network location (i.e., local area networks versus the internet) or based on asset ownership (enterprise or personally owned). Authentication and authorization (both subject and device) are discrete functions performed before a session to an enterprise resource is established. Zero trust is a response to enterprise network trends that include remote users, bring your own device (BYOD), and cloud-based assets that are not located within an enterprise-owned network boundary. Zero trust focuses on protecting resources (assets, services, workflows, network accounts, etc.), not network segments, as the network location is no longer seen as the prime component to the security posture of the resource. (ZTA) gives general deployment models and use cases where zero trust could improve an enterprise’s overall information technology security posture.

Emerging Technologies

OT /iOT, Connected Cars, Industry Controls, Supply Chain

Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS)

Doing business in a digital economy demands agility, and corporate digital infrastructures have changed profoundly in response. But as businesses race to the cloud and expand activities across a globally distributed digital ecosystem, they must also reinvent cybersecurity platforms to defend this expanded threat surface.

An Intrusion Detection System (IDS) is a monitoring system that detects suspicious activities and generates alerts when they are detected. Based upon these alerts, a security operations center (SOC) analyst or incident responder can investigate the issue and take the appropriate actions to remediate the threat.

Classification of Intrusion Detection Systems

Intrusion detection systems are designed to be deployed in different environments. And like many cybersecurity solutions, an IDS can either be host-based or network-based.

Host-Based IDS (HIDS): A host-based IDS is deployed on a particular endpoint and designed to protect it against internal and external threats. Such an IDS may have the ability to monitor network traffic to and from the machine, observe running processes, and inspect the system’s logs. A host-based IDS’s visibility is limited to its host machine, decreasing the available context for decision-making, but has deep visibility into the host computer’s internals.

Network-Based IDS (NIDS): A network-based IDS solution is designed to monitor an entire protected network. It has visibility into all traffic flowing through the network and makes determinations based upon packet metadata and contents. This wider viewpoint provides more context and the ability to detect widespread threats; however, these systems lack visibility into the internals of the endpoints that they protect.

Due to the different levels of visibility, deploying a HIDS or NIDS in isolation provides incomplete protection to an organization’s system. A unified threat management solution, which integrates multiple technologies in one system, can provide more comprehensive security.

Detection Method of IDS Deployment

Beyond their deployment location, IDS solutions also differ in how they identify potential intrusions:

Signature Detection: Signature-based IDS solutions use fingerprints of known threats to identify them. Once malware or other malicious content has been identified, a signature is generated and added to the list used by the IDS solution to test incoming content. This enables an IDS to achieve a high threat detection rate with no false positives because all alerts are generated based upon detection of known-malicious content. However, a signature-based IDS is limited to detecting known threats and is blind to zero-day vulnerabilities.

Anomaly Detection: Anomaly-based IDS solutions build a model of the “normal” behavior of the protected system. All future behavior is compared to this model, and any anomalies are labeled as potential threats and generate alerts. While this approach can detect novel or zero-day threats, the difficulty of building an accurate model of “normal” behavior means that these systems must balance false positives (incorrect alerts) with false negatives (missed detections).

Hybrid Detection: A hybrid IDS uses both signature-based and anomaly-based detection. This enables it to detect more potential attacks with a lower error rate than using either system in isolation

IDS vs Firewalls

Intrusion Detection Systems and firewalls are both cybersecurity solutions that can be deployed to protect an endpoint or network. However, they differ significantly in their purposes.

An IDS is a passive monitoring device that detects potential threats and generates alerts, enabling security operations center (SOC) analysts or incident responders to investigate and respond to the potential incident. An IDS provides no actual protection to the endpoint or network. A firewall, on the other hand, is designed to act as a protective system. It performs analysis of the metadata of network packets and allows or blocks traffic based upon predefined rules. This creates a boundary over which certain types of traffic or protocols cannot pass.

Since a firewall is an active protective device, it is more like an Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) than an IDS. An IPS is like an IDS but actively blocks identified threats instead of simply raising an alert. This complements the functionality of a firewall, and many next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) have integrated IDS/IPS functionality. This enables them to both enforce the predefined filtering rules (firewalls) and detect and respond to more sophisticated cyber threats (IDS/IPS). Learn more about the IPS vs IDS debate here.

Selecting an IDS Solution

An IDS is a valuable component of any organization’s cybersecurity deployment. A simple firewall provides the foundation for network security, but many advanced threats can slip past it. An IDS adds an additional line of defense, making it more difficult for an attacker to gain access to an organization’s network undetected.

When selecting an IDS solution, it is important to carefully consider the deployment scenario. In some cases, an IDS may be the best choice for the job, while, in others, the integrated protection of an IPS may be a better option. Using a NGFW that has built-in IDS/IPS functionality provides an integrated solution, simplifying threat detection and security management.

Custom Tailored Solutions

We are one window solution company, where we strive to provide custom tailored solutions to our clients’ specific scenarios/needs. Each client has different needs based on their budget, existing design complexities and customer SLAs

The complete solution will take care of entire company IT footprints starting from Network, Services, Security, Backends, Compliances and Op