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Guest Article: Tackling network security with standards

Martin Creaner | Sept. 19, 2012
Industry standards and best practices can and must play a major role in network security.

The advent of complex communication technologies and network infrastructures has made our world more connected than ever, but it has also presented a new set of challenges for the industry in terms of data management, privacy and security. While threats such as system-wide fraud and service disruption are always key concerns for service providers, today they are also facing customer concerns over data privacy and security while trying to reduce costs and improve network agility at the same time. To add to the challenge, the proliferation of cloud, Web 2.0 and mobile technologies have converged threats from a range of environments, putting networks at risk more than ever before.

With the big data boom of the 21st century, the issue of security has taken top priority among service providers and network operators. Indeed, everyone who is in business or in the public sector needs to be concerned about and engaged in protecting privacy and securing their activities, for themselves, their customers, business partners and suppliers. And industry standards and best practices can and must play a major role in security. The pressures this puts on organisations of all types can seem contradictory at times - they need to be robust yet agile; secure yet flexible; complex yet easy to manage. Meeting these demands and achieving the availability, delivery and security of information and infrastructure - all at the lowest possible cost - is a serious challenge for service providers today, but one that can be overcome.

Security Challenges Today

Mobile computing and social networking, which have become ubiquitous activities of today's generation, have only increased the security challenge. Threats such as malware attacks, cyber theft, botnets and identity fraud are increasing at record rates, with a Verizon's latest Data Breach Investigations Report noting that malware incidence have gone up to 69 percent globally, with hacking activities forming 81 percent of all security breaches throughout the world. A Global Security Report published this year by information security firm, Trustwave, found that 89 percent of attacks were focused on obtaining personally identifiable information, credit card data and other critical data.

As a result, every player in the communications industry is feeling the pressure to address security issues at every level, from the network to the platform to the person, and ensure an end-to-end secured connection for their customers.

Cyber Threats Know No Boundaries

Service providers also know that cyber threats have no geographical boundaries. Widespread adoption of public and hybrid cloud technologies has resulted in concerns over data privacy across borders, emphasising the need for new security models and management controls. Ultimately, businesses need to be able to ensure that their security solutions can transcend across markets to ensure maximum security of their networks and services, and service providers have to make that happen.


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