Network vs. Security: Collaborating In An Evolving Market

Network vs. security. It’s an old debate. What’s more important?

Once upon a time, a business’ network system and application security system were considered separate isolated management items. With the way technology has evolved many IT departments have merged the two. That way they sit under one umbrella.

Past Grievances Between Network and Security Teams

In the past, the two management systems contradicted one another. While network teams generally demand speed and efficiency, security teams work on the opposite end of the spectrum. They prefer to slow things downs and apply additional security barriers to assure complete protection. Nevertheless, their opposing objectives have been the cause of the lack of communication between both parties.

Security teams are generally more focused on the mitigation of potential security risks and network vulnerabilities. Whereas network teams continually strive to enhance network accessibility and usability. This creates bottlenecks for network engineers because security measures are more likely to affect the speed of the processes due to firewalls, as well as the implementation of two-factor authentication and other precautionary measures.

Forward Thinking

Today, IT experts agree that collaboration between the two IT counterparts is key to supporting an organization’s needs. With the rise of security hack attempts, network and security teams are now required to sync up and shift their approach to combating system failures or system breaches.

A Collaborative Solution

It all boils down to communication to maintain a collaborative solution. Whether your business has merged to the two counterparts or not, the goal of both departments is to ensure that a company is operating at full speed and at all times.

This means taking a proactive measure to communicate about the latest trends and concerns.

It also means that when a new project begins, like adding a new application; both teams should be present in the process to ensure effective deliverability. That way the security team can provide feedback about the impending security issues and the network team can evaluate responsively.

To learn more about merging your network and security management teams, check out our managed networks services.

Evolved Firewalls

Similar to every technology, firewalls have also changed over the past few decades.

A firewall is a security device for the network that monitors both incoming and outgoing traffic over a network and allows or blocks the network traffic according to its programmed security rules. For a quarter of a century, these firewalls have served as the first line of defense in network security. Firewalls create a barrier between secured and controlled in-house networks. They also decide whether to trust an external system or not, such as the Internet.

In modern-day firewalls, you get to see more than just a packet inspection. Because of their proven ability to block malicious traffic from accessing the corporate networks and guard the most valuable assets of organizations, firewalls have become ubiquitous throughout their IT landscapes.

How Have Firewalls Evolved Over the Years?

Firewalls were invented as a software tool to regulate access from mainly free and non-targeted network security threats. Over the years, firewalls have evolved into exclusive hardware devices. As the appliances, firewalls are enforced to adjust according to the continually rising performance demands. With the increasingly sophisticated attacks, firewalls are also required to embrace additional security functionality. With the introduction of the public and private cloud services, a division of firewalls needed to get back to their software state and virtualized form.

The contribution of a firewall towards a cyber-ecosystem has been refined with evolution. Having progressed from a simple access guard, a few forms of modern firewalls act as a highly sophisticated cyber defense system. The evolved firewalls have taken on the extremely challenging, tough, and sneaky adversaries. Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) solutions and the multi-solution Unified Threat Management (UTM) are the two examples of evolved firewalls.

The Latest Trends in Firewall Security

Modern-day firewalls, also known as next-generation firewalls at present depend more on a similar analysis of the application layer. However, evolved firewalls are more focused on deep-packet introspection. To this extent, evolved firewalls can be highly effective in the execution of different security features such as detecting and preventing intrusions, integration of user ID, firewalls for Web applications. Another latest trend in Firewall security is the integration of Virtual Private Network (VPN) services into firewalls. This has become a common practice by most enterprises because it enables off-site employees of an organization access company resources while interacting over an unprotected network such as a public Wi-Fi.

Adaptive and responsive data services are our specialty. To gain a better understanding of your network performance get a FREE Network Assessment today!

Guest Post: Smart Card Technology

Massive Networks uses various types of smart cards for security measures within its data center facilities. And because the smart card is among the digital icons in today’s information era, we thought’s we’d share a feature guest post about it from our friends at The Smart Card Institute.

Smart Card Technology – Types, Applications, and Working

Your smart card is always at your beck and call for making transactions every now and then. Today’s article takes a dive deep into the types, applications, and workings of this technology.

Smart card technology is available in markets for gaining access to products and services, for authenticating identity, and for establishing and facilitating trade. In a survey conducted in 2016, it was discovered that 27 percent of smart card applications are utilized in the banking industry, 18 percent in the welfare and health sectors, and 15 percent in the transportation industry. Besides these, smart card tech equally applies to other applications, including radio security, identification, telecommunications, and metering. In this article, we elucidate on the types of this technology, its applications, and how it works.

What is a Smart Card?

“Smart card” is a term used to describe a special kind of card-like device, pocket-sized, and containing a small integrated circuit (IC) chip. Also called a readable device, it is deployed for security verification in big corporations. The IC chip embedded in smart cards could be a simple memory circuit or a microprocessor with memory. These cards have 3 primary functions: storing personal information/data, authentication, and storing values.

Types of Smart Cards

Contact Smart Card

This type comprises electrical contacts that connect to the reader where the smart card gets inserted. In a contact smart card, the electrical contacts can be seen arranged upon a conductive gold plated coating on the surface.

Contactless Smart Card

The contactless type establishes communication with your card reader without any form of physical contact. Contact-less smart cards consist of an antenna, used for communicating with the RF (radio frequency) band with the antenna on the reader. This antenna gets power from the reader via the electromagnetic (EM) signal.

Furthermore, based on smart card functionalities and configuration, 2 types of cards can be identified:

Memory Cards

These comprise only memory circuits and are used for storing, reading, and writing data to a specific location. These are cards which only consist of memory circuits. The data, stored and written in this manner, can neither be manipulated nor processed.

A memory card is also used as a rechargeable or disposable card, containing memory units usable only once. This type is a straight memory card, which is only used for storing and writing data. And this data is protected from unrestricted access.

Microprocessor-Based Cards

Microprocessor-based cards consist of a microprocessor, which is inserted into the chip together with memory blocks. This type has specific sections of files, associated with a specific function. The data contained in these files are either managed by a fixed operating system or a dynamic one. Microprocessor-based cards also carry out multiple functions and are equally utilized for data processing as well as manipulations.

How Smart Cards Work

Your smart card is connected to the controller or host computer through a card reader — also known as an interface device, card programmers, or a card acceptance device — that receives information from the card and then conveys this information to the controller or host computer. A difference of one minute exists between both the reader and the terminal.

When your smart card gets closer to a smart card reader, the card identifies itself to the interface device by transmitting information and receiving it. If the data that is exchanged does not match, any further processing will cease. Smart cards, just like ordinary bank cards, can secure themselves against unauthorized use.

Applications of Smart Cards

Smart cards were first introduced 3 decades ago in Europe as a storage value tool for payphones to crack down on perpetrators of theft cases. Since that time, the smart card technology has made great advances, and people have invented innovative ways of using them, which include tracking credit purchases, record-keeping that took the place of paperwork, among others.

For example, in the US, consumers have been making use of smart cards for all commercial activities, such as buying groceries, ordering items online via smartphones, visiting libraries, attending movies, just to mention a few.

Smart card applications cut across many sectors and industries, ranging from banking, transportation, to telecommunications, domestic purpose, and even in government agencies. We’ve firmly integrated the smart card technology into virtually every activity in our daily lives, obviating the need to carry cash on a person. Many a state in the United States has made things a lot simpler by including chip card programs for government applications, which range from traffic departments to electronic benefit transfers.

A lot of industries have equally adopted smart card technology in their products, like GSM digital cellular phones and TV-satellite decoders. Indubitably, smart cards have a wide variety of applications in modern times, stretching across many different fields.

One of the most prominent and relevant smart cards applications is in SIM Cards and telecommunication, where they are also called secure elements, allowing the safe and secure operation of network traffic, through the provision of security technology for several millions of subscriber identity modules (SIMs) on a yearly basis. Smart cards are consumed which help the unique identifier, stored in the SIM card to protect the rights as well as privileges of all mobile subscribers.

In 2017, Brussels, Belgium-based Eurosmart reported that 5.6 billion secure elements, would be shipped globally for applications in the telecommunications sector. Eurosmart estimated that in 2018 secure element shipments for applications in the telecommunications industry would grow to 10 billion.

In a Nutshell

The technology behind smart cards has many uses today and some potential benefits for the future. With this tool — contact or contactless cards; memory or microprocessor-based cards — so many organizations and individuals now seamlessly maintain a business relationship between clients, suppliers, vendors or government authorities. They are equally capable of use, either as portable storage devices or for different purposes entirely, as they possess the capacity to hold more data in various forms.