Pulse Secure: Secure Access Visionaries

Sudhakar Ramakrishna, CEO “Security is about access rather than (just) control.”

This forward-thinking statement from Sudhakar Ramakrishna, CEO at Pulse Secure, complements recent research reports that place enterprise security and access hand-in-hand with user experience and enterprise productivity. Pulse Secure represents a new breed of security company, that focuses entirely on the rapidly growing Secure Access market.

Ramakrishna is an IT veteran with more than two decades of experience in the security, mobility, cloud, networking, and collaboration markets. According to him, “security complexity”—the various disparate layers of security controls, policies, client and mobile applications, and even logins required within an enterprise is encumbering the pursuit of improved security solutions and therefore user and administrator productivity. This focus is what drives Pulse Secure –to deliver Secure Access for the next generation workforce. “At Pulse Secure, our mission is to provide a single platform that delivers secure access for people, devices, things, and services,” states Ramakrishna.

Ramakrishna highlights that the entire “Pulse Nation,” as he calls it, is oriented towards “customer success”—a spirit, and a set of behaviors, that permeates throughout the organization to do whatever is necessary, and whatever it takes, to ensure success of their customers. Pulse Secure enjoys a very respectable Net Promoter Scores (NPS) of over 40 and is relentless with its service offerings and focus on customer success, Ramakrishna adds.

New technologies and changes in worldwide regulations and economics are drastically transforming the way in which business infrastructure is deployed and used in the modern enterprise. Employees want to be productive regardless of their location by accessing information without friction while administrators need simpler tools to secure their enterprise across ever expanding boundaries. Pulse Secure allows customers to easily and simply address these new application types, and deployment needs. Their value proposition is to enable secure productivity in any industry. “We have a role to play in almost every market sector as everyone wants their employees to securely access their data centers, information and applications, easily and without traditional complexity. After all, simpler solutions lead to greater productivity,” says Ramakrishna.

Redefining Secure Access

Pulse Secure meets the security and productivity requirements of any organization with its Pulse Access Suite. The integrated solution allows policy based Secure Access to any corporate resource, from any device, to any corporate resource or application, without compromising security. The building blocks of the Pulse Secure platform include Pulse Connect Secure, Pulse Workspace, Pulse Profiler, Pulse Policy Secure, and Pulse One. Pulse Secure software runs on more than 18 million endpoints, including an increasing number of mobile and IoT endpoints, and supports the growing needs of the most demanding customers—spanning over 20,000 diverse companies including compliance and regulatory focused, distributed enterprises, healthcare, finance, and education. More than 80 percent of the Global Fortune 500 corporations leverage Pulse Secure solutions every single day.

Pulse Connect Secure is an award winning, feature-rich SSL VPN solution that provides connectivity for a user, regardless of the device being used, to any corporate resource including cloud applications and corporate data centers.

At Pulse Secure, our mission is to deliver secure access solutions for people, devices, things and services

Features include clientless access, strong authentication, host checker, granular auditing, virtual desktop access, and MDM integration.

Pulse’s Cloud Secure capability allows seamless and compliant access to SaaS applications, such as Office 365 and Salesforce.com. All major mobile device operating systems are supported, further enhancing the Secure Access from anywhere proposition.

Increasingly, workers are bringing their personal devices into the work environment expecting access to business applications and data. Corporations are becoming cognizant of the fact that there can be additional risk with information housed on devices that they don’t have full ownership and visibility of, equally, corporations have to adapt to the changing user behaviors. Further, varying government regulations across the globe insist on specific data compliance and handling. The trick for corporations is to abide by complex and differing regulations without having to impact user experience and interpret government jurisdiction.

Pulse Workspace delivers a secure mobile workspace, allowing enterprises to securely deliver corporate applications and data to personal devices. The solution separates personal and professional environments on the device, catering to needs for security and great user experiences, while not affecting personal data on the device. Ramakrishna says, “Inconsistencies and fragmentation within disparate data sources create security loopholes in enterprises. Pulse Workspace consolidates, simplifies, and manages resources in an enterprise, while respecting BYOD boundaries.” Pulse Workspace provides the right amount of control to IT without invading the employee’s privacy.

Recent ransomware attacks have focused administrators on the security of internal networks. WannaCry’s deviousness comes from its ability to self-propagate without any action from the end user. Thousands of work hours and dollars could have been saved by ensuring all endpoints were updated with the latest patches. The threats here are the non-compliant, unpatched devices that are still allowed on corporate networks. Shadow IT is a serious problem, where businesses don’t know who or what is connecting to their network, or what data is coming in and out.

Pulse Secure has recognized these changing requirements on enterprise networks. “Enterprise Networks were once walled gardens and monolithic. We used to only worry about outside and inside or untrusted and trusted. Those days are long gone, but surprisingly we see many customers only now starting to consider the risks of this binary classification as more and more connected devices are attached to trusted network environments,” Ramakrishna adds.

Pulse Policy Secure offers complete network access control of ‘what, when, where, and who’ connects to a company’s network with features like BYOD onboarding, granular auditing and logging, guest access management, and more. With Pulse Policy Secure you can set policies on which devices connect to your network and what they can do once they are connected. For example, you can perform compliance auto-checks, also known as Host Checkers, on all devices connecting to ensure that the endpoints are running the latest patches and/or antivirus, and if not, automatically remediate and apply the patches. With Pulse Policy Secure, you can also quarantine or provide limited access until the end user ensures the device is compliant, enabling an effective patch management system that proves resiliency against the threat of Shadow IT.
Pulse Secure’s new network profiling solution, Pulse Profiler, provides IT the visibility of every device on their network to make informed, policy based decisions about potential threats. Pulse Policy Secure along with the Profiler and Pulse’s unified client software form the basis of a complete IoT solution.

"We are even enabling connected cars to be secure"

With Pulse Profiler and Policy Secure, Pulse Secure has successfully brought to the mainstream what was traditionally only deployed by very large security organizations—network threats must now be considered by every organization. Ramakrishna says, “Every business, big and small, now needs to consider that all of these everyday devices that are connected to the network have an operating system, strong processing power and with that, an increased risk of vulnerabilities. Why should your IP connected camera and printer get access to your company’s mission critical database storage of customer information?”

As Pulse Secure strives to delight users as well as the system administrators who manage IT, considerable time is spent innovating on productivity enhancing features. One area that is typically ignored by other enterprise software vendors is that of consolidated management and monitoring.

Pulse One, Pulse’s management platform allows IT administrators to leverage a single centralized console for end-to-end visibility from endpoints to appliances. Managing access no longer involves working with multiple management consoles and techniques from multiple vendors. Pulse One can be integrated with back-office systems such as Microsoft Active Directory. Deployed as Software-as-a- Service (SaaS) or on premise, it scales and introduces new features without the need for data center logistics and planning.

A Quest to Revolutionize

The rationale for why 80 percent of the Fortune 50 companies and over 20,000 customers rely on Pulse Secure to make their workforce more productive is crystal clear. Take the case of a leading global university that approached Pulse Secure for a solution to provide remote connectivity. The university then wanted to increase productivity and initiated a BYOD program for its students, enabling them to use their personal devices. The program brought in challenges of setting the right policy, delivering the right access, preventing network infection, and more. Consequently, the need of connectivity changed into a policy challenge. Stepping into the scene, Pulse Secure addressed the unique use case with the Pulse Access Suite, catering to the diverse needs of the client, eliminating the need for investment in multiple technologies, and delighting their end-users with an easy to use solution.

In the days ahead, Pulse Secure aims at extending secure access into new growing markets, and recently announced the acquisition of Brocade’s virtual Application Delivery Controller (vADC) business. “This acquisition enables us to accelerate our secure access mission. Brocade’s vADC is a recognized leader in delivering simple user experiences for the administrator and has accelerated the Hybrid IT journey of numerous customers, large and small, throughout the world,” said Ramakrishna.

“Like all technologies—applications and services are always changing, and so are the scenarios that require Secure Access. We are even enabling connected cars to be secure. Pulse is also driving hard into the emerging cloud security market by helping extend customer data centers and applications into the Cloud. The emerging world of Internet of Things creates the potential for us to increase these numbers by several orders of magnitude.”

As new innovative devices, things, and services enter the IT world, Pulse Secure continues to develop the security and productivity requirements needed to deliver Secure Access rather than just control. The excitement surrounding these growing markets opens the doors of opportunity for Pulse Secure to extend their Secure Access journey.

Pulse Secure News

Pulse Secure Delivers New Cloud-based, Zero Trust Service for Multi-Cloud and Hybrid IT Secure Access

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Pulse Secure, the leading provider of software-defined Secure Access solutions, today announced the launch of Pulse Zero Trust Access (PZTA), a cloud-based, multi-tenant secure access service that enables organizations to provide users easy, anywhere access to multi-cloud and data center applications with Zero Trust assurance.

PZTA simplifies access management with single-pane-of-glass visibility, end-to-end analytics, granular policies, automated provisioning, and advanced threat mitigation that empowers organizations to further optimize their increasingly mobile workforce and hybrid IT resources.

As enterprises advance workforce mobility and business digitization, users require access to on-premises and cloud applications from any device, from any location, and at any time. Meanwhile, cyberattacks, data breaches and compliance obligations have grown significantly, making trust and adaptive control critical. PZTA offers users streamlined application access while allowing organizations to govern every request by automatically verifying identity, device and security posture before granting a direct, encrypted connection between that user's device and applications residing in public clouds, private clouds or data centers.

“IT leaders are driving business transformation in the hybrid digital era while also defending assets during the ‘age of hyper-converged access’ – for any user, from any device, anywhere to any application, at any time. Pulse Zero Trust Access is designed for the elastic digital workplace, providing a unified, cloud-based service that enables greater accessibility, efficiency and risk reduction,” said Rohini Kasturi, chief product officer at Pulse Secure. “From inception, Pulse Secure has focused on providing secure access solutions that enhance productivity, visibility and compliance as companies migrate to the cloud and take advantage of utility computing. PZTA exemplifies our on-going commitment to innovate while maximizing deployment flexibility, scale, interoperability and investment protection for companies of all sizes.”

PZTA is based on Pulse Secure’s new cloud-native, microservices-based, multi-tenant platform deployed globally in Microsoft Azure Cloud. The PZTA service consists of the Pulse ZTA Controller, which is hosted and managed by Pulse Secure, the virtual Pulse ZTA Gateway that customers deploy on-premises or in the cloud, and the unified Pulse ZTA Client which runs natively on each user’s Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS and iOS, and Google Android device.

Architecture, Performance, Data Privacy and Adaptive Control Advantages

According to the Gartner Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) market guide:* “ZTNA improves the flexibility, agility and scalability of application access, enabling digital businesses to thrive without exposing internal applications directly to the internet, reducing risk of attack.” Further, “ZTNA augments traditional VPN technologies for application access, and removes the excessive trust once required to allow employees and partners to connect and collaborate. Security and risk management leaders should pilot ZTNA projects as part of a SASE [Secure Access Service Edge] strategy or to rapidly expand remote access.”

Pulse Zero Trust Access aligns with the Software Defined Perimeter (SDP) architecture of the Cloud Security Alliance, incorporating extensive identity and device authentication, separate control and data planes, centralized granular policy management, and micro-segmentation to thwart unauthorized access and attack propagation.

While every user device access requires explicit authentication and authorization by the Pulse Zero Trust Access service, the Pulse ZTA Gateways are deployed in the customer’s on-premise and cloud environment closest to the application or resource. This proximity optimizes user experience, reduces latency, and enables hybrid IT deployment at scale. Since encrypted application traffic only flows between the ZTA Clients and ZTA Gateways, customers gain full data privacy and data sovereignty.

PZTA governs each access request and session via a centrally deployed and managed policy. Building upon Gartner’s Continuous Adaptive Risk and Trust Assessment (CARTA) framework, PZTA augments contextual and identity-centric policies with built-in User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) whereby attributes for every session are monitored and assessed, applying proprietary risk scoring algorithms to identify non-compliant, malicious and anomalous activity, and take expedited threat mitigation actions.

“Pulse Secure has been a valuable partner that continues to provide solutions that meet our client’s evolving needs. Their latest offering, Pulse Zero Trust Access, delivers an end-to-end, secure access solution with the simplicity, flexibility and scale crucial for managing risk in a modern enterprise. We’re excited to bring this compelling, cloud-based service to our clients,” said Ron Frederick, senior director, enterprise security solutions of Kudelski Security.

Comprehensive Cloud-native, Secure Access Solution for Existing and New Customers

PZTA allows enterprises of any size to gain comprehensive Secure Access with a simple, scalable, cloud-native service that can be implemented in a matter of hours. The solution provides deployment flexibility and cohesive policy management for enterprises migrating applications from data center to cloud, while also offering comprehensive secure access capabilities to those organizations with pure multi-cloud environments. This allows broad support for legacy applications and popular cloud apps such as those from Amazon, Atlassian, Box, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP and Zoom.

PZTA can co-exist with Pulse Secure’s remote, mobile and network access solution portfolio including the Pulse Access Suite. Leveraging the unified, multi-tunnel Pulse ZTA Client, users can enjoy transparent, uninterrupted, and simultaneous access to applications and resources from their device of choice regardless of access method – SDP, VPN or NAC. Organizations gain implementation and operational efficiencies, investment protection and tool consolidation to realize lower overall cost of ownership.

Additional features of PZTA include:

• Extensive identity, endpoint and security posture authentication prior and during each access transaction to negate unauthorized user and vulnerable device access

• Broad application support, including HTTP, TCP/UDP based applications, multi-factor authentication (MFA), single sign-on (SSO) and protected connectivity options

• User and device resource shielding prior to PZTA Controller authorization, establishing a Dark Cloud defense to eliminate target visibility for attackers and malware propagation

• End-to-end analytics to expedite alerting, reporting, auditing, issue triage, and investigation processes

Pulse Secure

San Jose, CA

Sudhakar Ramakrishna, CEO

Pulse Secure is in the business of building secure access solutions that enable end-users and IT administrators to be more productive

Pulse Secure