The increasingly borderless and diverse nature of data network infrastructure not only strains management resources, it exposes sensitive data to a correspondingly diverse cyber threat landscape. With added complexity, comes added risk.
IT and communications networks have become increasingly complex in recent years. Ubiquitous connectivity, an increasingly mobile workforce and the evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT) have combined to create a scale and diversity never seen before.
Take the IoT for instance. Initial estimates placed the number of connected devices at 30 billion in 2020, rising to 75 billion by 2025 and 125 billion worldwide by 2030. The sheer volume of devices places an extraordinary burden on network managers and introduces a seemingly endless number of vulnerabilities.
The underlying network infrastructure that supports these devices, and the petabytes of data they produce, has also become more complex. Multi-Layered networks supporting multiple topologies have become the standard, not the exception.
Where networks were once centred around an isolated datacentre, they are now distributed; connected to the cloud, multiple devices and a broad range of applications.
Securing a complex network landscape has become increasingly difficult. The data breach statistics for the past ten years alone are testament to this. Add to this the evolution of data breach regulations and a widening threat landscape and IT security professionals are facing the perfect storm.
The monitoring and management of security events across multiple branches, campuses and datacentres have become key challenges for network security teams. The task is made more difficult by having deployed solutions from multiple vendors; each with different management consoles and little or no integration. The net result is a negative impact on the ability to protect against, detect and respond to a security breach.
To address these challenges, IT and security professionals may have to rethink their approach to network security. An emphasis should be placed on delivering a unified level of security across the entire network, to minimize the risk of security gaps appearing as the network expands. For most, this would mean simplifying the vendor landscape to ensure a greater level of integration.
The level of security provided may vary based on the critical nature of systems and the sensitivity of the data being exchanged. The performance required may also be dictated by the speed of the network links, the volume of data being transmitted and the requirements for real-time data availability. Whatever the nature of the network, security will benefit from a unified approach to automation and orchestration.
Of course, security isn’t limited to network infrastructure. Perhaps the greatest threat to network operations is that posed by malicious content, introduced through day-to-day file-sharing activity. Ransomware, malware, viruses and more are often introduced through email attachments, cloud and file-sharing applications and removable hardware. Frequently, this malicious content is introduced with the specific aim of vandalising IT infrastructure.
Traditional anti-virus and sandboxing technologies rely upon predictive analytics and do not always catch malware in time. Next-generation Secure File Gateway solutions can provide a broader spectrum of support against even undisclosed or zero-day attacks.