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F5 Networks makes a security stand

Applications security is key focus area for ADC vendor

F5 Networks makes a security stand
El Khayat says F5 can provide the same level of security to applications on the cloud as on premises.

F5 Networks is keen to highlight its credentials in the Middle East region as an applications security platform.

To strengthen this posture, F5 addresses three components, explained Taj El Khayat, Gulf, Levant & North Africa Director, F5 Network. This include the ability to ensure the confidentiality of applications, the capability to ensure the integrity of applications and finally the ability to ensure availability of applications. “This is in making sure that we are walking the talk in our promise for ‘safer, smarter and more secure’.”

In DevOps, F5 can work with organisations and teams that are developing applications on the cloud to make sure they have the right toolsets to carry out their DevOps in a secure fashion, said El Khayat. “More importantly, we ensure that after the application is deployed, developers have the right access policy management to protect the integrity of the application against any potential DNS or DDoS attacks,” he added.

Additionally, F5 offers organisations the right database of known bad IP address to help protect them against any potential IP malware attacks. “Equally important, we have the ability to provide visibility to encrypted traffic to ensure that the encrypted traffic is not going to be malicious, and making sure we ensure the full protection in terms of how we orchestrate that visibility,” El Khayat explained.

Organisations make costly investments in disaster recovery (DR). F5 can help them monetise this investment as in majority of cases, DR stays idle until something happens and it fails over. “F5 will leverage the disaster recovery to ensure your DR infrastructure is able to take in traffic as it’s being load balanced within the applications load balancing capabilities that F5 has,” El Khayat asserted.

During the F5 Agility annual event in Barcelona last month, F5 highlighted its cloud credentials, including its recent availability on Google Cloud.

F5 is now available in the marketplaces for both Amazon Web Services and Azure. “We have the capabilities to provide the same security features we offer on our on-premise appliances to the cloud. We provide the ability for customers to run critical data at any time because we provide cloud security as well,” explained El Khayat.


The success of F5 is built around the multipurpose capabilities of its flagship BIG-IP platform. However with virtualisation, other form factors have emerged providing the same BIG-IP functionalities on virtual editions so customers can leverage the company’s solution for any of their software defined everything (SDX) environment, said El Khayat.

For high end complex environments, customers can utilise the VIPRION platform, F5’s modular applications delivery controller so users can add or remove blades without disrupting users or applications.

F5 Networks is also highlighting its cloud-as-a-service offerings for both DDoS and web application firewalls. The Silverline WAF solution is a cloud-based express self-service or managed solution that protects web applications and data as well as enabling compliance. “Our managed and hosted solutions are in response to developments in enterprise security where DDoS and web application attacks continue to proliferate.”

“We created the cloud form factor because we want customers and partners to have an easier means of protecting themselves without the headache of having to putting up the infrastructure in their install base. More importantly, our cloud offerings provides a very cost effective means for them to be protected,” said El Khayat.

There’s still a robust base for BIG-IP and VIPRION in the region with strong refresh rates, said El Khayat. “Our roadmap is long term but we are becoming more sophisticated when it comes to software defined offerings of our platform,” says El Khayat.

The latest version of BIG-IP is testament to this evolution in how it ties into how customers want to consume services, which is increasingly via the cloud. F5 recently launched the Herculon platform, a dedicated, on-premises appliance that, combined with native, cloud-based scrubbing services, delivers a hybrid DDoS threat solution. “We are making sure we have multiple form factors that will build onto the success we had with BIG-IP in making sure we are agile to customers’ requirements.”

F5 Labs is the company’s application threat intelligence with five datacentres around the world. These facilities host many multi-vendor technologies providing regular reports and best practices and to customers, explained El Khayat. “More importantly, we have our top security experts sitting in these labs making sure we are providing the best and most recent advice and best practices. We also have incident response teams to make sure that whatever happens at a global level is communicated and shared with customers.”

An example is the recent WannaCry ransomware. El Khayat says F5 was very proactive in highlighting to its customer base the actions they needed to take to make sure they were not impacted.

Supporting F5 Labs is F5’s own security operations centres (SOC’s) and scrubbing centres. “We can leverage all the BIG-IPs installed and and how they are connected to make sure our customers are always two steps ahead of any threats,” added El Khayat.

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