Jul 29 2021

Review: McAfee MVISION Unified Cloud Edge Provides the Basis for Zero Trust

The platform adds new security elements to cloud deployments.

Federal agencies are modernizing their infrastructure, which often means moving as many applications and services to the cloud as possible. This is not just for employees’ benefit, but also to help optimize many of the citizen services that they provide.

While this is a good situation, it does potentially open up security vulnerabilities, as data from multiple new cloud providers, applications and users may now access the network.

Agencies need a consistent way to secure their data as it moves between multiple devices and the cloud, and from cloud to cloud. 

That is where the MVISION Unified Cloud Edge platform comes into play.

The platform brings several cybersecurity technologies together under one umbrella, allowing administrators to fully configure permissible interactions and monitor their complete infrastructure from one location.

Agencies Get Unified and Simplified Security

At the heart of the UCE ­platform is the MVISION console. It acts as a cloud access security broker, a secure cloud gateway, an endpoint protection platform, a data loss prevention tool and more. I mostly tested the cloud access capabilities, although the rules I created could also apply to the rest of the infrastructure as well.

The UCE platform was surprisingly easy to manage despite the complexity of the demo environment where it was being tested. As a test, I was able to apply a security policy to any application that used the Mail.ReadBasic scope.

Once the new rule was in place, the dashboard showed me how many apps were affected.

Because the UCE is context-aware, I could set up automatic actions based on almost any situation. For example, I could set one policy for a valid user on a personal device and another for a valid user on a company-owned resource. Some of the many actions available included revoking access, forcing users to interact via an isolated browser or forcing a security update.

A Bridge to Zero-Trust Security

Because the McAfee UCE is contextually aware and administrators can finely tune access and permissions, it provides a bridge to a zero-trust environment — an environment that federal cybersecurity experts are insisting on. 

At least for cloud applications, federal agencies can tap the UCE to provide the most robust zero-trust protection possible in today’s increasingly dangerous threat environment.

McAfee MVISION Unified Cloud Edge

McAfee MVISION UCE Steers Cloud Traffic in the Right Direction

 To test how the McAfee MVISION UCE platform handled various situations, I set up several precise rules for applications, users and processes. In all cases, the UCE handled traffic exactly as I specified. Whenever it did something incorrect, it was because I hadn’t set the rules correctly.

Working with the UCE is fairly straightforward, but because managers are basically configuring a zero-trust environment, it may take a little while to learn all the nuances of what this powerful program can achieve. (McAfee offers training with new deployments.)

In the first scenario, I had a valid user, with all correct passwords, attempt to access a simulated state government network on a personal device. Per the policy I created, the user was given full access to the network but was prevented from downloading or uploading any files, because a personal device was being used.

A second user was also valid and working on an asset with outdated security assets, which rendered the device noncompliant with my security policy. 

In this case, the UCE gave the user the choice of interacting with the site using browser isolation (which would not affect the network) or applying all of the patches and then, after the UCE verified device compliance, accessing everything normally.

It’s worth noting that assets owned by the organization need to have a UCE agent running on them to verify policies and provide better monitoring.

RELATED: Agencies need to prioritize planning for a cyberattack before it happens.

Vulnerabilities Vanish with Proper Management

Yet another valid user had active malware on the system. The user was denied access to the network and had future access revoked until a human administrator could verify that it was safe for the user to return.

In addition to managing users, McAfee UCE can also enforce rules regarding how cloud-based applications communicate with one another, and what happens when a previously unknown application tries to access network resources. 

Managing everything about cloud deployments, data and access from a single program is easy through the UCE. In every scenario I tested, the UCE performed exactly as requested. 

This eliminated many vulnerabilities in the cloud-based test bed, ensured they stayed away and enabled total control of an entire cloud infrastructure from a single, user-friendly console.

McAfee MVISION Unified Cloud Edge

Technology: Cloud-based security software
Cloud Platforms: Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and many others
License Type: Annually per user
Maximum Users: Unlimited
Technical Support: Available 24/7

Photo from McAfee