Network Security

Network security

Are you securing smartly?

Smart work is better than hard work. Interestingly, the same can also be applied to the security of the network. Analysts at Gartner observe that organisations are increasingly spending more on security to react to cyberattacks, with total security spending forecasted to grow by 8.2 percent to reach $76.9 billion in 2015[1].

Are security solutions that are currently being deployed merely working hard to stop attacks, when they should be working smart to detect potential attacks as well as defend data?

Yet, are organisations cognisant to the fact that the rules of the network security game are constantly changing? Are security solutions that are currently being deployed merely working hard to stop attacks, when they should be working smart to detect potential attacks as well as defend data?

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The collision of cloud computing and mobile devices in organisations is not only bringing about disruption in the network, but also transforming how businesses work. Network traffic is converging from a mix of user-owned devices and parts of the infrastructure that may be virtual across the cloud.

Organisations need to recognise their inability to control their infrastructure.

These new technologies are extending data and processes beyond traditional enterprise control, and inevitably increasing the probability of attacks. At the same time, these new technologies also present a new opportunity for attackers to shift their strategies. Organisations need to recognise their inability to control their infrastructure.

Organisations need an intelligent monitoring strategy that is capable of detecting attacks across the network infrastructure, as well as up in the cloud. These are some of the technicalities that organisations should look out for when selecting their security platform, so as to ensure the network is secured smartly.

1.Detect ahead of time

Attack detection, data exfiltration, fraud, probing or even system misuse. Is the network security platform adept enough to recognise these promptly, or is it detracting away from the very issues at hand with false positives?

With attackers constantly shifting their game plans, the platform needs to be able to adapt accordingly – be it to detect attacks as they happen or in the provision of immediate identification when the system is compromised.

Simply providing an end-to-end view of information collected from log files of devices in the enterprise is not enough. In order to secure smartly, having better visibility into the actual processes taking place within the devices and network bodes well. After all, advanced attacks cannot be solely detected based on file signatures.

Instead, by encompassing analytic capabilities, the platform is then capable of smartly mining existing data for security information. Not only will it be up to speed with advance attacks, operations will also be streamlined, availability is maintained, and optimisation will be achieved.

2.Allow for scalability

With the advent of cloud computing and mobile devices entering the enterprise, the amount of data being exerted on the network security platform is doubled. This results in the platform working doubly hard to process and analyse information, and this hard work might not necessarily translate into efficiency.

A smarter approach, in this case, would be to select a platform that is scalable so as to keep pace with the expansion of data with no trade off on performance. The workload is distributed into a cooperative cluster of servers that are independently collecting and processing events.

This architecture will allow for more effective and efficient handling of the load, as well as also enable different deployment models that can better accommodate distributed IT systems, cloud providers and virtual environments.

3.Make analytical sense

If the current security platform still requires manually looking through log files or enhancing existing records in order to get the complete picture, organisations should be seriously considering doing away with the hard work and replacing it with a smarter solution.

When the platform is easy to manage, organisations stand to reap the benefits of smart work with increased functionality as well as lowering overhead day-to-day management.

Most platforms are now able to gather information into pre-defined aggregated views of users, events and server activity. Although the specific indicators to keep tabs on are not always meted out in the event of an advanced attack, this can be transformed into smart work by forensic analytics.

It might be argued that forensics are invariably alternating, which makes the process of collecting data and making associations, a difficult one. Instead, the challenge that organisations should be focused on overcoming should be about making analytical sense of the information so as to accelerate detection of the origin of any attack.

Priming the security platform to harness built-in usage profiles and advanced query facilities allows for smart diagnostics and agile analysis respectively.

4.Management made simple

A lot of time is often exhausted in managing complicated security platforms with policy management screens that are convoluted with over 500 checkboxes. Archiving old data, rolling out new collectors and adding new use cases – managing these processes should not be hard work. When the platform is easy to manage, organisations stand to reap the benefits of smart work with increased functionality as well as lowering overhead day-to-day management.

Securing the network doesn’t have to be hard work.

Instead, leave the hard work – of collecting necessary information and detecting threats beforehand – to the security platform. Once the platform is intelligent enough to adequately secure the network, organisations can enjoy peace of mind and channelise efforts towards core business goals.

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[1] Gartner, 22 Aug 2014: Gartner Says Worldwide Information Security Spending Will Grow Almost 8 Percent in 2014 as Organisations Become More Threat-Aware

Headline image courtesy Joshua [email protected]





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