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Guest View: Bridging the generation gap to combat today's attacks

Amitpal Dhillon, Sourcefire (Cisco) | March 10, 2014
Armed with the right tools, IT managers can be confident about making the best decisions to protect their organisation and mitigate risks in this challenging era.

We're facing a generation gap when it comes to combatting today's attacks. Organisations around the world are spending millions of dollars annually to secure their networks, but are still getting attacked. Cybercriminals are using next-generation attack methods, while many organisations are still using first-generation defenses.

A new estimate by the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) has calculated that cybercrime and espionage could cost the world between $70 billion and $400 billion a year from a total global economy of $70 trillion. As the threat landscape evolves, so too must security defenses. New approaches are essential to protect against cyber crimes and keep up with evolving threats. Designed for another time, most first-generation network security devices can't keep pace with the challenges of today.

Asia Pacific is now at the centre of the war against Cybersecurity, and recent reports even indicate that growing percentage of attacks are designed and/or originate here in APAC while having their aim on targets globally. There is much at stake here since there is a growing presence of global financial markets here as well as a dramatic increase in mobile penetration.

Today's challenges

Technology disruption - Mobile devices, software as a service, virtualization and cloud computing are necessities as organisations look to ways to enhance productivity, save costs and speed deployment. While the adoption of new IT solutions in these areas represents a major business opportunity and can drive innovation and growth, they are also introducing new threats and challenges for organisations. Most security tools deployed today don't provide adequate visibility to factor in dynamic network topology, behavior and traffic into security policy definition and enforcement decisions.

Advanced attacks - The tactics that adversaries now employ, such as port hopping, encapsulation, zero-day attacks, command and control (C&C) evasion, lateral movement, encrypted traffic and sandbox evasion, make it very difficult to detect and block attacks. First-generation security tools lack the historical data and intelligence to handle attacks that use these methods.

Performance demands - In the age of multi-gigabit network connections at the perimeter and within the core data centre, security devices need to inspect and enforce policies at these same speeds across all network subsections. This simply isn't possible with traditional network security device architectures.

So how can organisations deal with this generation gap? New security approaches are emerging to address today's fluid IT environment, sophisticated threats and increasing network speeds. Given that many first-generation devices have been deployed for over a decade and simply can't adapt to this new reality, the time is right to revisit the security strategy and bridge the gap with a new approach to security.

Protecting against modern day attacks

Below are key criteria to help you make more informed decisions and, ultimately, better defend an organisation's modern IT environment against modern attacks.


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