PSI: Precise Security Instrumentation for Enterprise Networks
Download: Paper (PDF)
Date: 27 Feb 2017
Document Type: Reports
Additional Documents: Slides
Associated Event: NDSS Symposium 2017
Despite soaring investments in IT infrastructure, the state of operational network security continues to be abysmal. We argue that this is because existing enterprise security approaches fundamentally lack precision in one or more dimensions: (1) isolation to ensure that the enforcement mechanism does not induce interference across different principals; (2) context to customize policies for different devices; and (3) agility to rapidly change the security posture in response to events. To address these shortcomings, we present PSI, a new enterprise network security architecture that addresses these pain points. PSI enables fine-grained and dynamic security postures for different network devices. These are implemented in isolated enclaves and thus provides precise instrumentation on these above dimensions by construction. To this end, PSI leverages recent advances in software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV). We design expressive policy abstractions and scalable orchestration mechanisms to implement the security postures. We implement PSI using an industry-grade SDN controller (OpenDaylight) and integrate several commonly used enforcement tools (e.g., Snort, Bro, Squid). We show that PSI is scalable and is an enabler for new detection and prevention capabilities that would be difficult to realize with existing solutions.