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!

Are You Protected? 8 Steps to Combat Cyber Threats

If it’s connected, it’s an access point that can be infiltrated.

And any digital device that is connected to your network, is at risk. Last week, CTO Paul Mako, addressed how cybersecurity threats can be detected from the network at the Denver Biz Tech Expo. Today, your business can reduce downtime from these threats by implementing protocols at all access points that are connected to your network. It’s not just computers or it’s users that may impact business security. It’s any digital device that is connected to the network. Building systems or AI devices are just the tips of the ice burg.

Remaining educated on the latest cyber threats is the first step in improving your security processes and combating these malicious attacks. By keeping all of your system hardware and software up-to-date, actively monitoring your network usage, and utilizing the internet security measures that anti-malware and anti-virus solutions provide, you can ensure that your business is ready to battle whatever cybersecurity threat that may be lurking.

Common Cyber Threats

Phishing attacks, DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks, and APT (Advanced Persistent Threats) attacks are some of the more common cyber attacks that are being used against businesses today. Training administrators and users to be cautious when reading and opening all emails, and utilizing web application firewalls are great tools to use against these attacks as they give you more control over your web traffic while recognizing malicious exploits.

 Lock It Up

Because we’re a team of network people, it’s important to note that we feel the best defense model against any kind of threat begins at the network. Despite that, there are precautions you can implement to lock down your business in the event of a hack or threat. This includes locking down your processes, securing your transactions, then securing all of the access points. Last, but definitely NOT least, train your staff.

Recently, the FBI released an article on Defending Against Payroll Phishing Scams. Below, we’ve listed out some of their strategies businesses can use to avoid them.

Defending Against Cybersecurity Scams and/or Threats Checklist:

  1. Be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls, visits, or email messages from individuals asking about employees or other internal information. If an unknown individual claims to be from a legitimate organization, try to verify his or her identity directly with the company.
  2. Do not provide personal information or information about your organization, including its structure or networks, unless you are certain of a person’s authority to have the information.
  3. Do not reveal personal or financial information in an email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information. This includes following links sent an email.
  4. Don’t send sensitive information over the Internet before checking a website’s security.
  5. Pay attention to the URL of a website. Malicious websites may look identical to a legitimate site, but the URL may use a variation in spelling or a different domain (e.g., .com vs. .net).
  6. If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, try to verify it by contacting the company directly. Do not use the contact information provided on a website connected to the request; instead, check previous statements for contact information.
  7. Install and maintain anti-virus software, firewalls, and email filters to reduce some of this traffic.
  8. Take advantage of any anti-phishing features offered by your email client and web browser.