Integrated Network Security: Solutions You Need to Protect Corporate Data

Layered defenses provide multi-tiered protection

 

Research firm Gartner reports that enterprises spent nearly $1 billion dollars for various firewall, endpoint and other security solutions in 2010.

Yet the Ponemon Institute Second Annual Cost of Cyber Crime Study found that companies surveyed experienced an average of 72 attacks per week, highlighting the need to remain ever vigilant in maintaining a comprehensive, integrated security solution to protect against viruses, Trojans and other cyber threats.

The Ponemon Institute study reports that mitigation of such attacks requires integrated network security that includes enterprise governance, risk management and compliance solutions.

The idea of an integrated solution is nothing new; at one time, it was a relatively easy task. Until about 1995, the main threat was from an array of viruses, which the enterprise could protect itself against by using a firewall and anti-virus protection on its network. Though some staff might already have been traveling with portable computers, they tended to maintain files on floppy disks (try to ask anyone under 20 what a floppy disk is today and you’ll likely get a deer in the headlights expression); any data on which could be checked for threats before being added to the corporate network.

But since then, denial of service, spam, spyware and Advanced Persistent Threats have all come into being and are evolving. And the network is no longer just a device or a couple of devices within the four walls of the enterprise. Companies have to manage PCs and servers both on the premises and off, not to mention all of the laptops, smartphones, tablets and other devices capable of connecting to the internet and the network.

An integrated network security approach takes into account the proliferation of different attacks as well as types of endpoint devices to provide a comprehensive security solution for the enterprise.

It is impractical if not impossible to apply security solutions to the multitude of devices that connect to the network. It would require physically accessing each individual device that can be secured and attempting to prevent flash drives to attach to any devices that might connect to the network, like a PC or laptop.

By using a security solution in the cloud, on the other hand, the enterprise benefits from the protection of an integrated security solution that achieves the following:

  • Filters web and email traffic to blocks spyware, viruses and other malware in the cloud before they get to the network layer where they do damage and become costly to eradicate
  • Protects the network regardless of the type of endpoint device used, be it a PC, laptop, smartphone or even a flash drive connected to one of these devices
  • Enables the enterprise to enforce its security policies such as strong password usage and up-to-date security patches for any remote or on-premises device connecting to the network
  • Provides the latest zero-day malware protection
  • Enables centralized administration to set policy, view user activity, create and run reports, obtain threat definition updates, and enforce security policies for networked and mobile device users
  • Alerts IT, managers and employees about the latest security threats and trends (Educate staff that security is everyone’s responsibility and not just that of IT.)

To protect against the multitude of threats today and ones likely to develop in the future, an integrated security solution needs to rely on a combination of the following:

  • Connection management
  • Sender reputation
  • Multiple spam detection layers (Some types of spam can defeat one type of defense; other spam can elude a different type of defense. Multiple detection layers help ensure that if one layer doesn’t stop the spam, another layer is likely to block it.)
  • Multiple signature detection engines - with the same idea as behind the multiple spam detection layers
  • Secure storage for email and other data that the enterprise needs to retain

By shielding the network with an integrated, full solution, the enterprise can keep up with the growing number and complexity of malware threats.

By Phil Britt