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Security Manager's Journal: Upgrading, and looking for the best we can afford

J.F. Rice | May 2, 2013
Several of the company's security technologies are reaching end of life. It's a new experience for our manager to be improving security measures instead of closing gaps.

Another technology I've been checking out is email filtering products and services. Until recently, the filter we've been using has done a pretty good job of stopping spam and phishing messages. Now, for some reason, we have seen a sharp increase in phishing. Because this product is almost at end-of-life anyway, it's time for something new. I'm thinking of going with an Internet-based software-as-a-service offering instead of a premises-based appliance, like we have now, because it's only going to be filtering inbound e-mail. Why not stop those unwanted messages while they're still in the Internet, before they reach us? So I'm looking into email filtering services to see what best meets our needs. Postini was once the undisputed king of email filtering, but because I'm not really sure what Google is doing with it, I'm looking at other options.

Web filtering is another technology that is in need of refresh in my environment. Our old tried-and-true product is performing admirably, after years of being fine-tuned by daily administration, but because it's nearing the end of its support lifetime, I'll need to either upgrade or replace it. I'd like to find a smarter Web filtering product that doesn't require so much attention. Subscribing to blacklists and manually managing individual domains for blocking and allowing is time-consuming and not completely reliable, and that causes frustration for both our administrators and our end users.

Finally, I'm looking into upgrading my security information and event management (SIEM) tool. I'm currently using an inexpensive SIEM product from Cisco that used to be the best but has gradually fallen behind other commercial products, into abandonment. It has finally reached the end of its life. I don't have a lot of money to spend, so I'm again looking for the best value. How can I meet my business needs while spending a reasonable amount of money? That is the question.

While replacing technologies that I already have instead of bringing in new ones is all fairly new to me, I'm applying the same principles and approach I've always used for evaluating options. And I'm looking forward to taking advantage of the newest inventions (that I can afford) for managing network security.


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