Tenable Scales its Virtual Training with Cloud Automation, Part 1

Founded in 2002, Tenable Network Security developed its Unified Security Monitoring platform based on the company’s award-winning Nessus scanner for securing enterprise networks worldwide. Nessus is the most widely distributed and utilized vulnerability scanner in the world.

The company makes Nessus available to the general public as a free download and provides updates for the research content/vulnerability checks via home use (HomeFeed™) for free, and for commercial use (ProfessionalFeed™) on a subscription model. Tenable’s award-winning products are agentless, enterprise-class solutions that are designed for the continuous monitoring of vulnerabilities, configurations, data leakage, log management, and threat detection, and are used by thousands of organizations both large and small worldwide.

Tenable’s customers span verticals in federal government, banking, financial services, education, and energy, which include organizations such as McKesson, Starwood Vacation Ownership, Clemson University, and the U.S. Department of Defense. The company provides training engagements to customers, educating them on best practices and ways to maximize their return on investment with Tenable.

Tenable had been facilitating training labs for the instructor-led courses with on-premise virtualized infrastructure that resided on a shared network. This approach required significant time from the trainer to manually configure the virtual machines before each session, and resulted in limited scalability for growing class sizes. The company needed to find a more efficient and scalable solution for providing technical training labs and courses for its growing customer base, partners, resellers, and internal employees.

The Challenge

As demand for Tenable’s highly respected security solutions has soared, the company has also seen a corresponding rise in requests for its training programs from its customer base, partners, resellers, and internal employees. The increased demand for training included traditional virtual instructor-led classes, as well as on-demand resources that users could access on their own. This posed a challenge for Tenable as the company was limited in how many students could access instructor-led classes with internally managed infrastructure. In addition, the company didn’t have the infrastructure to support the addition of on-demand delivery for virtual self-paced training.

Tenable found that building out a scalable solution for the self-service on-demand classes would have been extremely difficult and costly to accomplish using internal IT resources. While the company required the true elasticity of virtual environments for on-demand training, it determined it would need to achieve this by incorporating cloud-based resources as a secure extension to their existing on-premise resources.

Similar constraints were found for the on-premise virtual environments provided for the instructor-led training. David Poynter, Director of Training at Tenable Network Security, would provision the resources as needed for instructor-led events.

“At the time, our internal virtualized environments were not sufficiently robust and required manual provisioning,” Poynter says. “In addition, our shared environments for training had one large network and all students and instructors had to live on that network.”

As the training demand grew rapidly, IT could no longer effectively service the Training Organization at Tenable, and Poynter needed to look for alternatives.

Thursday in Part 2, we’ll continue the story of how Tenable went about selecting the solution that allowed them to move their enterprise training to the cloud.

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