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Checkmate your attackers

Linda Hui | Jan. 10, 2014
The security game has changed. The simple tactics of moves and counter moves is no longer working. More businesses are being successfully attacked despite the numerous point solutions available; worse, many don't even know they have been attacked until it's too late.

A well-rounded security framework can offer you an in-depth look at the risks and threats that your entire infrastructure faces, allowing you to plan for the right security measures. It also allows you to understand the security impact of deploying architectures like Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) have on the entire infrastructure.

How to protect your king
So where do you begin? Here are three things to keep in mind when building a complete security framework.

First, become application-centric — not just network-centric. Why? That's because the way we use applications, often seen as the lifeblood of businesses, has changed drastically.

According to F5 iHealth data surveys, the majority of applications are accessed via the Web. Mobiles have introduced a shift in the devices we use to access these applications. According to Gartner, 2.7 billion mobile devices will be shipped in 2017 and 40 percent of the workforce will be mobile. Meanwhile, Clouds are changing the way applications are developed and deployed.

Most network infrastructures have also not kept pace with the way we use applications. Many are largely not application-aware, and are ill-prepared for sophisticated or multi-modal attacks at the application level. An application-centric approach, which goes beyond device or network-centric ones, offers a smarter approach.

For example, F5 Networks'( new F5 Synthesis, made up of a high-performance services fabric, intelligent services orchestration and simplified business models, reduces operational risks. By enabling you to centrally deploy and manage application services consistently, it ensures fewer deployment errors that often exploited during an attack.

Second understand that the network, not your servers, is the Achilles' heel. So protecting your network using a multi-tier security model is important.

For example, a two-tier DDoS protection system properly deployed can stop volumetric, asymmetric, computational and vulnerability-based DDoS attacks. Often the first tier at the perimeter uses layer 3 and 4 network firewall services. This will root out most attacks. A second tier — consisting of more sophisticated and also more CPU-intensive services, such as SSL termination and a web application firewall stack — can act as a secondary defense to thwart more sophisticated or brute force attacks.

Lastly, understand that humans, not machines, are the biggest threat to your security framework. It's no secret that most hackers use social engineering to overcome sophisticated security defenses and access vital information. So the money spent on training on awareness, deploying a real-time access management system enterprise wide and enforcing consistent security policies across the business will go a long way to thwart would be attackers.

Avoiding checkmated
Good enough security is no longer good enough. A complete security framework deployed enterprise wide, instead of just point security solutions, can help you understand the severity of the threats your business faces.


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