Subhalakshmi, product analyst, ManageEngine
Subhalakshmi, product analyst, ManageEngine

When it comes to gauging network security requirements, there are many misconceptions that can lead to businesses being left unprotected and vulnerable to cyber-attacks. With threats becoming increasingly prevalent and high profile attacks making the headlines on an almost weekly basis, businesses must overcome the headaches associated with understanding the risks to ensure protection. Enlisting a the help of a security vendor is one approach, but business leaders must still build a basic of understanding about the risks they face to make an informed decision on which vendor can best protect their organisation's IT networks. Here are seven truths about network security

1.     Size is not the biggest factor.

Many leaders in smaller organisations believe they are exempt from threats because cyber-criminals only target large organsations. The truth is, organisations of all sizes are victims of attacks. The number of attacks that organisations face simply scale up as the business grows. While a global organisation with more than 10,000 employees may receive anywhere from 100-500 attacks per month, an organisation with only 1-10 employees is still vulnerable and can expect up to 50 attacks per month.

2.     Special solutions are a worthy investment.

Decision makers and budget controllers may see “special” solutions as an unnecessary expense, but operating with only network perimeter devices puts businesses at risk. Sixty-four percent of security administrators say they need a special security intelligence platform to collaborate security data and combat security attacks. Specialised solutions like SIEM are now mandatory for protecting business networks against attacks.

3.     Preparation does not guarantee protection.

Proactively protecting against possible attacks isn't always feasible. Only 24 percent of businesses are able to mitigate attacks before they occur. Most attacks can be dealt with only after they actually occur. Enterprises have to speed up the attack discovery process and react accordingly to ensure complete network security.

4.    There are no predictable patterns.

Security attacks are dynamic, and can change patterns randomly and without warning. Businesses operating under the belief that all security attacks follow the same pattern are putting themselves at risk. Just because businesses in a particular sector seem more susceptible to certain types of attacks doesn't mean they're immune to other, less common ones. Organisations need blanket protection from all attacks rather than picking and choosing which types of attack they're most likely to encounter.

5.     Audit reports are not enough.

Thirty-five percent of business leaders believe annual audit reports provide a total overview of their organisation's IT security. In reality, continuous monitoring is the key to securing networks. Simply submitting security reports to establish a security policy, and laying idle for the remainder of year, is not enough. Sixty-four percent of security administrators believe network security goes beyond audit reports. Year-round monitoring keeps network security up-to-date.

6.     The challenges extend beyond compliance.

Stringent compliance requirements are often seen as the biggest hurdle when it comes to network security, but with the security landscape rapidly changing, compliance is no longer the only challenge. Cloud adoption, increased BYOD usage, and evolving threats are beginning to overshadow compliance issues.

7.     Financial consequences are not the only burden.

If an organisation believes that security breaches only result in financial penalties, they're mistaken. Seventy-five percent of security administrators say the cost of a data breach goes far beyond the costs of fixing the issue and paying penalties. There's the obvious risk of lost revenue if an organisation can't operate during an attack, but there's also the danger of customers losing trust and withdrawing their business.

To combat the myriad of evolving cyber-threats, businesses must look to intelligent software-based solutions rather than rely on IT security teams to reactively solve these issues themselves. Budgeting for over-priced licenses and costly consulting fees are no longer valid issues either because there are inexpensive network security solutions available. If a business is proactive with its network security, it won't have to include costly fixes into its budget. 

Contributed by Subhalakshmi, product analyst, ManageEngine

*Note: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of SC Media or Haymarket Media.