4 Strategies for Keeping Critical Networks Secure

Setting directions for your cybersecurity programs is like assembling a jigsaw puzzle: you need to fit together a central cluster of pieces now, while ensuring you can build toward a complete picture in the future. Selecting the right technology providers is an essential part of this process. They must be able to address today’s security needs. And also have the vision, resources and track record to offer new options in the future. Providers must help you take advantage of innovative technologies while leveraging your existing investments.

But finding them can be challenging if you have mission-critical requirements for high performance, high reliability and comprehensive security against evolving threats. So here are four criteria to help select the right security provider for the long term:

1. Breadth and Depth of Capabilities in One Cybersecurity Solution

The continuing proliferation of threat actors and new attack methods challenge enterprises. In addition, “attack surfaces” are expanding as cloud computing, mobile devices, and mobile applications increase the number of vulnerabilities criminals can target.

To address these, you must deploy a set of comprehensive defences, including next-generation firewalls (NGFWs), anti-malware packages and intrusion prevention systems (IPSs).These defences need to complement each other and share information. When integrated, there are benefits such as reducing the inconsistencies and errors that lead to data breaches and providing visibility into threat events and data across the network, so you can identify attacks faster. Deploying “point products” opportunistically is no longer a viable strategy.

2. Mission-Critical Scalability, Performance and Reliability

Distributed users, cloud computing and new bandwidth-intensive applications are generating unprecedented volumes of network traffic. To be effective, security solutions need to scale up and scan these data flows at “wire speed.” The alternatives, such as holding back application traffic at peak times until scanning catches up, or allowing traffic to pass through unexamined, are unacceptable.

Expectations of reliability have gone up – security solutions should work effectively with “four nines” or “five nines” availability. Anything less gives attackers too many opportunities to penetrate the network undetected. Yet many vendors focus entirely on security features and treat scalability, performance and reliability as afterthoughts.

3. Threat Intelligence: Open Source and the Backing of an Expert Team

Cybercriminals are continuously developing new forms of malware. Hackers are constantly setting up new botnets and command and control (C&C) servers to disguise their attacks.

You should look for security solutions that integrate two types of threat intelligence. Feeds from open (publicly available) sources such as malware clearinghouses and security industry associations. And information from an established cybersecurity research lab that can validate and prioritise threat indicators.

If you’re developing your own internal threat intelligence capability, you’ll want easy integration of your partner’s threat feeds with your security tools. You also need a mechanism to distribute threat indicators to all of the enforcement points across your enterprise, quickly and reliably. That prevents zero-day attacks and new targeted attacks from finding vulnerable points in obscure corners of your network.

4. A Vision for Software-Defined Networking

Security is all about fast response such as shutting down on-going attacks immediately the first indicators are discovered. Network and security services are traditionally embedded in specific hardware devices. That makes the configurations and services static and rigid. Changes in networks and security policies must be made manually on each system, using long, error-prone processes.

SDN implements configurations and policies in software so they can be created and distributed programmatically across diverse hardware devices and environments, including virtual and cloud-based environments. SDN also automates processes for making changes, so adjustments can be made with minimal manual effort and fewer errors.

Summary

Look for cybersecurity providers who offer your organisation “the right stuff”:

  • Provide a broad range of key security offerings, integrate them, support them together, and enhance and expand capabilities as new security technologies become available.
  • Have a track record of successfully supporting high-volume mission-critical environments with excellent performance and reliability.
  • Provide a mechanism to aggregate multiple types of threat feeds, and to automate the process of distributing them to enforcement points.
  • Deliver SDN and has a vision of how it can reach its full potential as a critical enabler for providing fast response and agility in mission-critical environments.

The Solution

Looking to minimise the risk to your organisation? We partner with Juniper Networks to provide automated, scalable and secure network solutions that offer agility, performance and value.

‘4 Strategies for Keeping Critical Networks Secure’ taken from TechTarget and Juniper research.

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