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Guest Blog - IDC: The key elements in outlining a network security strategy

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IT decision makers today face ongoing challenges with managing and securing the systems and infrastructure of today's mobile enterprise. With the proliferation of mobile devices and the shift towards cloud-based workloads, IT managers need to anticipate constantly evolving security threats and improve on technologies, policies and procedures in order to keep up with malicious attacks and the threats they can potentially introduce into the organisation.


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The task at hand is by no means an easy one. Affording the right balance between providing network access to the mobile workforce and managing the associated risks can be a challenge. On the one hand, IT security managers need to maintain the security framework of their organisation while on the other, provide the right tools for the lines of business to remain productive while they are out in the field.


The most logical starting point for organisations to manage these risks is to deploy a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution, which can offer protection around the endpoint device. These solutions address such areas as encryption and the ability to remotely track and wipe lost devices. The next step up is to manage and secure the application and data. By securing both the application and the data that moves across the corporate networks, organisations are better able to address security in an end-to-end manner.


As the threats facing today's organisations are increasingly becoming more sophisticated, no single form of defence is capable to withstand a targeted attack on an organisation's infrastructure. Organisations need to adopt a layered approach, where the security architecture is designed with several lines of defense to increase resilience in the event of an attack. Central to the entire planning of an organisation's security architecture is the network itself, as the network is the logical orchestration point for connecting all devices and endpoints within an organisation.


As well as deploying network scanning solutions, organisations can also build traditional signature-based threat management software, such as anti-virus or anti-spam software, on top of their network security layer. More advanced vulnerability assessment tools such as incidence and event correlation management software can also be used to detect anomalies within the network and allow IT managers to nip the problem in the bud before the situation becomes dire.


However, building this kind of security arsenal may be too complex and expensive for some organisations. So a thorough evaluation of the organisation’s risk profile and appetite for risk, along with an audit of the existing infrastructure is necessary to determine what type of security deployment would be the most appropriate for protecting its resources, while limiting the cost to the organisation. Classifying and prioritising data and information, categorising user types and access privileges and subsequently, building defenses around the critical data will in essence create an internal hierarchy of where the security spend should be focused.


By Simon Piff, Associate Vice President, Enterprise Infrastructure IDC Asia/Pacific. All views expressed are the author's own.

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The current workload is in no way, shape or form a simple one. Bearing the right harmony between giving system access to the versatile workforce and dealing with the related dangers might be a test.


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