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Guest View: Matching protection criteria to the next wave of threats

Ammar Hindi | July 2, 2013
Finding the right approach to dealing with breaches

It seems that nearly every five years a new wave of cyber attacks evolve and businesses are faced with a new cycle of threats - from viruses to worms to spyware and rootkits. Today we find ourselves combatting the latest wave - advanced malware, targeted attacks and advanced persistent threats (APTs). While these threats have demonstrated themselves to be more damaging than any in their wake, technologies are available to deal with them. The question then is for organisations to determine the right approach to dealing with breaches.

Networks are constantly evolving and expanding, and attackers are taking advantage of any gaps to permeate a network and accomplish their mission. A network breach can potentially cause serious harm to vital business infrastructures and IT systems. There is thus a need for organisations to pay more attention to their networks such that when attacks do happen, they are well prepared to minimise the impact of an attack and stop reinfection.

The market requires more intelligent security appliances with greater performance scalability with throughput ranging from 50 Mbps to 40+ Gbps to confront these challenges. In addition, the sophisticated nature of security threats that organisations face today calls for a new approach to security. These new approaches not only provide the required detection and blocking, but can also protect before, during and after an attack - a "next-generation" security solution that delivers superior value and utility.

To better address today's threats, there is a critical need for advanced visibility and awareness into network interactions and applications, and it is important to offer advanced malware protection. Companies require increased flexibility and scalability to ensure leading protection for any environment.

However, it is key to note that in the real world, one "size" doesn't fit all when it comes to factors like network configurations, media types, performance and features. Companies that already have an existing solution in place need to ensure that their network protection systems remain relevant and updated at all times. In order to be able to address multiple network configurations with a single device, new security appliances need to work easily within the organisation's existing network environment. This allows companies to buy and deploy technologies in the way that makes the most sense for them.

Examples of such capabilities are that of mixed-media support and increased port density, which are crucial in enabling new security appliances to work more easily in the company's existing network environment. This then allows them to address more network configuration cases with a single device.

Need for greater security

The need for greater security is further emphasised in consideration of the fact that modern networks include not only traditional networks, but also endpoints, virtual systems and mobile devices. These extended networks constantly evolve and spawn new attack vectors, such as web-enabled and mobile applications, hypervisors, social media, web browsers and devices that roam outside of the corporate network. In view of this, companies can make use of data to drive effective security programs - for example, consider security approaches that use a telemetry model to gather data across these extended networks, and leverage on big data analytics and the power of the cloud to continuously store and analyse data from these networks and their components.


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