With network security, firewalls are the least of your concerns

With Network Security, Firewalls Are the Least of Your Concerns

Remember when network security was all about creating an impermeable wall around your office network? Now, your focus has to go beyond fancy firewalls. 

As Help Net Security explains, that “perimeter” around your organization has, for all intents and purposes, vanished. Just think about how and where people work now: from home on a laptop; on the road on their phones; or from remote office locations. Migrating data to the cloud helps make all of this flexible work possible, but it challenges the old practices involving network security. In fact, a recently released Accenture study shows that concentrating on the perimeter, by investing in advanced firewalls, actually results in a negative ROI.  

 

Another threat comes in the form of IoT devices. Often insecure and vulnerable to attack, these devices are expected to triple by 2025. 

Given this environment, how do companies best protect themselves?

Monitoring Network Security

Don’t toss out your firewalls and perimeter defenses, but supplement them by looking for malicious lateral movement in your network. Analyzing communications between devices like tablets, laptops, phones and printers can root out malicious activity. But with so much data flowing in and out of an organization, relying solely on your IT people for this analysis is not realistic. 

 

This is a job for artificial intelligence instead. AI-powered systems collect and store network metadata, logs and activity in the cloud in real-time. Models can be created that show normal network activity. When something unusual occurs, AI can determine if it fits into a benign anomaly pattern, or if not, it sounds the alarm. 

Help Net Security offers this scenario that might indicate an attack: “Perhaps something is being downloaded to a laptop that usually doesn’t connect to the outside and is suddenly transferring 3GBs of financial data to an IP address in China. Knowing if the nature of the communication, and the data being moved, is normal for the device (and user) from which it’s being sent will help you intercept malicious activity.”

The Best Security Investment

Every organization wants to shield its network from bad actors. In today’s world, an integrated and sophisticated approach to network security is critical. You must identify the risks, assess which have the greatest likelihood and take steps to mitigate those risks first. If you have questions on how best to protect your data and resources, contact us. 

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