'The best defence is a good offence' in evolving security, networking market

Dieter Lott discusses the security and networking solutions market and how organisations should be adopting a new proactive approach to security breaches given that IT infrastructure is in a constant state of change.

Dieter Lott
Dieter Lott

The marketplace is being changed permanently by new dynamics from hybrid computing trends to ‘bring your own device' (BYOD), creating new challenges for security and networking solutions. As high level data breaches continue to make headline news across the world – from Sony to eBay, and more recently, Uber – companies are accepting the principle that it's no longer a case of ‘if' you're breached, but ‘when'.

These threats are emerging through security gaps that appear due to transformations in the security and networking marketplace. As these industries evolve, we are noticing next-generation security technologies being integrated into IT platforms within the data centre infrastructure, and the result is a convergence of the two markets. Ultimately, a successful cloud implementation will be dependent on good networking practices and high-quality security solutions.

The rapid adoption of private, hybrid and public cloud solutions is changing the way companies do business, and as they broaden their network scope, businesses are starting to struggle with how to meet security compliance demands without sacrificing network availability. User communities are also putting pressure on enterprise networks as they increasingly embrace mobile working practices. This flexibility increases the pressure on perimeter security, and by accessing services from multiple locations, users drive a greater volume of traffic onto the network.

The challenge organisations are facing is how they can secure both applications and devices in a way that's not overly disruptive to the user, but also provides the right level of corporate security.

What we're seeing from the most recent spate of high profile data breaches is that security threats can come not only external sources, but also from within the organisation. It is these insider threats that are fundamentally changing the way organisations should approach their security protocols. The security gaps we are seeing develop within an organisation are concerned primarily with security intelligence and analytics.

Traditionally, these types of security protocols have operated in a way that seeks to build a perimeter around an organisation's data, to competently defend against a variety of attacks. However, the requirements of an enterprise's security solution are changing as rapidly as the marketplace. With the adoption of cloud solutions, businesses no longer simply have all their applications and information saved in a data centre somewhere that they can build a high wall around. Users and applications now sit in a variety of places, all of which need addressing and securing. This makes it all the more complicated to manage. 

Companies still have to do their best to try to prevent breaches but they have to understand that breaches will very likely still happen. It is therefore essential to have the right systems and processes in place to manage those events, once it's happened. The modern approach to network security is all about the intelligence you have on your environment and the speed with which you can respond to a threat, using forensics and analytics to track a breach when it happens, allow network managers to understand the damage that has been done, and find the person or people who have committed the offence.

Businesses need network security solutions that give complete visibility, but do more than just alert you to breaches. I believe the next generation of security software will evolve to operate in constant learning mode and be able to adapt to the strategies of potential threats in real time. There are many products and services already in existence to help organisations manage such an event, and businesses should consider adopting a range of security solutions that can offer holistic support before, during and after a security breach.

There is much more focus now on the analytics of what's happening in the network, how it's happening and the forensics of ‘something' has happened - what's the damage that's been done?' These technologies can help businesses to plug the security intelligence gap which will enable them to move from a ‘defensive' approach to one that's ‘proactive', to limit and prevent damage from security breaches – today and tomorrow. 

Contributed by Dieter Lott, vice president business development EMEA, Avnet Technology Solutions EMEA