F5 Networks: Network Virtualization: Microsoft and F5 Work Together to Empower Customers

Jeff Bellamy, Senior Director, Business Development
For more than a decade, F5 and Microsoft have collaborated to develop joint solutions that help organizations get the most value from their technology investments. Deep integration, expert deployment guidance, and a vibrant support community enable F5 products to enhance key Microsoft applications— including Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, and Lync Server—with maximum availability, performance, and security.

F5 and Microsoft are always finding new ways to enable organizations to maximize efficiency and stay ahead of the competition. For instance, the Microsoft Hyper-V Network Virtualization (HNV) with F5 solution enables organizations to secure and optimize applications running in a virtualized network environment.

Network virtualization with Microsoft HNV and F5

Software-defined networking (SDN) is transforming the traditional data center and creating a “new reality” in which a virtual network infrastructure can be easily set up, managed, and scaled. Organizations adopt Microsoft’s SDN solution, Hyper-V Network Virtualization, because it’s policy-based and software-controlled. This eases the management burden and enhances operational flexibility and scalability to deliver a higher ROI.

However, organizations that virtualize their networks with HNV must provision a gateway between their virtualized and non-virtualized networks. In addition, in a virtualized environment, traditional security devices such as web application firewalls and intrusion prevention systems become ineffective because they don’t have visibility into encapsulated packets.

To solve this problem, organizations need a high-speed, hyper-scalable HNV gateway that also allows them to deploy a host of traditional application services—including granular security policies, application acceleration, and load balancing—on their virtualized networks. “F5 is well-positioned to further enhance the capabilities of Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure offerings to deliver greater agility, flexibility, and security to our joint customers,” says Jeff Bellamy, Senior Director, Business Development, F5.

An agile, secure, and scalable solution

F5 has collaborated with Microsoft to develop a highly scalable gateway that enables the virtualized networks in an HNV environment to communicate with non-virtualized networks and the Internet.
In addition, an F5 plug-in enables the command center and brains of the virtual network—Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM)—to instruct the F5® BIG-IP® system about network policy changes. With this level of granular control over their virtualized networks, organizations can maintain a robust security posture, increase efficiency by managing network resources, and prepare for growth with seamless scalability.

Bridging virtual and physical networks

Large organizations and government agencies often manage hundreds of distinct child networks across their organizations. But, bringing these networks together in a traditional data center could cause IP address conflicts and confusion. By decoupling virtual networks from the physical network infrastructure— and removing the constraint to assign hierarchical IP address when provisioning virtual machines (VMs)—organizations can now easily move VMs into and out of cloud networks without manually reconfiguring IP addresses. One powerful use case involves acquisitions in which an organization running a virtualized network can quickly and seamlessly onboard an acquired company’s existing networks and application suites.

F5 is well-positioned to further enhance the capabilities of Microsoft's cloud infrastructure offerings to deliver greater agility, flexibility and security to our joint customers

Continuing the legacy of the F5-Microsoft collaboration to help organizations achieve their operational goals, the Microsoft HNV with F5 solution provides the gateway they need. It also enables organizations to harness the full power of the BIG-IP system—which includes a robust suite of application services that can keep virtualized networks running efficiently—and to securely deliver the application services users demand.

F5 Networks News

F5 Introduces AI-powered Solution that Blocks Fraud Missed by Existing Technologies and Improves Online Experiences for Users

SEATTLE - F5 (NASDAQ: FFIV) has introduced Shape AI Fraud Engine (SAFE), a new SaaS solution that eliminates fraudulent online transactions that get past existing fraud tools. Leveraging Shapes industry leading expertise, SAFE utilises a battle-tested AI engine to evaluate each online transaction across a variety of telemetry, environmental, and behavioural signals to accurately understand user intent and block human fraudsters”before the fraud occurs.

Legacy fraud tools rely on weak data signals and static rules to try to catch increasingly clever fraudsters. Often, these tools cant clearly determine if the users intent is good or bad, and resort to putting additional burden on good users to prove their legitimacy through hurdles like multi-factor authentication (MFA) challenges. The result: bad experiences for good users, as well as financial losses and frustration when fraudsters get by ineffective defences.

In contrast, SAFE is a fully managed, AI-powered offering that stops fraudsters in real time, resulting in up to 90% less friction for known good users. As a fully managed service that can detect and block evolving threats, SAFE protects modern and traditional applications, helping organisations accelerate digital efforts and lessen the often-overwhelming workload on fraud teams.

The Impact of Modern Fraud

Businesses need a totally new approach to online fraud prevention. Most find they are still losing tens of millions of dollars annually to online fraud, despite a growing collection of fraud tools in their arsenal. Juniper Research estimates that online fraud losses”from sources including new applicant and account fraud, account takeover fraud, loyalty program fraud, and digital payments fraud”are projected to exceed $48 billion per year by 2023.

The need for innovation in fraud prevention becomes more urgent when you factor in the accelerated shift to online channels driven by the current global health situation, said Sumit Agarwal, Vice President, Analytic Products at F5, and co-founder of Shape. Were seeing fraudsters launch increasingly sophisticated attacks that take advantage of COVID-driven shifts and overall economic distress.

SAFE overcomes todays industry challenges in the following ways:

• Stops fraud, faster: SAFE identifies fraudulent transactions along the entire user journey, from new account creation and login to checkout, send payment, and other actions. SAFE uses AI to accurately detect and block malicious intent, and has the intelligence to help applications scale and adapt performance, security, and other important services as needed. SAFE typically identifies twice as much fraud per month when compared to other current fraud tools. One large North American bank detected 250% more account takeover fraud in 60 days with SAFE than with their existing tools, resulting in the elimination of an additional $10M in fraud losses per year.

• Reduces friction for real customers: Fear of fraud can cause organisations and application owners to impose friction on legitimate users because their existing fraud tools cant accurately distinguish real customers from fraudsters. Through a combination of proprietary telemetry and advanced AI, SAFE significantly reduces friction on legitimate activity by safely removing MFA challenges for known good users.

• Increases effectiveness of fraud teams: SAFE actively blocks fraud without the need for fraud teams to write or maintain rules, and is delivered as a fully managed service, with ongoing tuning done by Shape fraud experts. In addition, by stopping fraud at the application perimeter, SAFE reduces the amount of time and resources fraud teams have to expend on manual investigations. For one customer, SAFE identified that 67% of fraud cases could be safely blocked instead of investigated. For another, SAFE identified 33,000 malicious transactions in a six-week period that could be blocked instead of investigated.

Leveraging the Power of the Shape Network

Application owners face two core sources of online fraud against their applications: bots and other forms of malicious or abusive automation, and real humans with bad intent. Through machine learning, Shape distinguishes automated traffic (bots) from humans as well as malicious traffic from benign, and provides dynamic defences to prevent fraud and abuse, while enhancing user experience. SAFE leverages analytic insights gained from defending many of the largest and most attacked applications in the world to accurately identify and stop fraudsters in real time.

SAFE is part of a comprehensive solution set from F5 that helps modern applications protect themselves with the aid of AI. Todays adaptive applications grow, shrink, defend, and heal themselves based on the environment theyre in and how theyre being used, which can enable organisations to increase revenue, reduce costs, improve operations, and better protect users.

F5 Networks

Seattle, WA

Jeff Bellamy, Senior Director, Business Development

Provides solutions for an application world. The company helps organizations successfully deliver applications to anyone, anywhere, at any time