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Monitoring your internal network with intelligent firewalls

Francis Teo, Regional Director of South-East Asia, Hillstone Networks | Jan. 26, 2016
Francis Teo, Regional Director of South-East Asia, Hillstone Networks, discusses how security can keep up with network threats in 2016, and some upcoming technologies vendors can consider moving forward.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

As each year passes, new and more complex cyber security threats loom in the horizon and organisations must continue to look into more innovative strategies and solutions to keep up with cybercriminals and stay protected. The pervasiveness of mobile technology and the growing adoption of wearables and smart devices have led to easier access to networks and applications, making them more vulnerable to risk.

This is set to continue as we go into 2016, as it is now increasingly easy for attackers to conduct a security breach due to the increasing sophistication of IT security threats. Security products need to be prepared to address such evolving risks, along with the increased variety in attack threats and avenues while factoring in agility, and the ability to adapt to different security situations that may arise.

Today, the average cost of each intrusion incident stands at US$3.8 million, and it will only continue to rise with the widespread usage of big data as companies collect and generate more information each day. When it comes to cyber security and company networks, prevention is certainly better than cure. The implementation of a security solution is no guarantee that a company is protected, as not all solutions are effective in protecting the organisation on all fronts. This is evident from examples of high profile companies in recent years such as Sony Pictures Entertainment and Ashley Madison, who despite their security policies, experienced security breaches. This illustrates the active and ever evolving nature of security threats lurking on the internal networks of companies.

In fact, many of the biggest breaches in history have gone undetected for a significant period of time. In fact, it is external parties, instead of companies themselves that discover 75 percent of breaches. On average, a network is breached in hours, but the average time taken for a breach to be detected is roughly 200 days.

This is why collaboration between the network and endpoint is crucial to achieve competent security for organisations. Both external and internal threats must be given equal importance in a holistic approach toward dealing with threats.

In recent years, there has been a shift towards "monitoring", and a more holistic approach to network security. Firewalls alone can detect and prevent external threats, but if a threat slips through, it renders a firewall completely obsolete.

There are many proactive technology segments that take care of post breach and internal network monitoring functions and here are some latest technologies that can companies can consider.

1. Micro Segmentation

The newer kid on the block, this offers a new dimension of network security, providing organisations with visibility into east-west or lateral traffic. It utilises zero trust on security, permitting communication from trusted sources, thus enabling a more agile data centre that is quick to identify breaches and isolate them. The multiple layers of security also slow down attacks, giving administrators more lead-time to deal with threats.


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