Cyber attacks are designed to exploit your systems, networks, and technologies. Cyber defense or security is the application of algorithms and technologies to protect applications, networks, devices, techniques, and, most importantly, data. As technology and data become increasingly intertwined in the modern world, organizations and corporations are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats. Cyber attackers have become much smarter at going after critical infrastructure by using a growing number of techniques. As a result, enterprises believe that an integrated network with a threat-focused architecture is the need of the hour.
How bad is the situation?
- Decentralized approach: Most enterprises address cyber threats with strategic point tools such as antiviruses, firewalls, network proxies, VPN gateways, e-mail gateways, malware sandboxes, etc. Monitoring all these, along with policy enforcement, is a challenging task. Also, cyber security defenses aren’t as good at stopping advanced, sophisticated, and targeted malware attacks as they used to be.
- Cyber defense is getting cumbersome: Professionals face network security challenges every day due to overlapping controls and manual processes, as well as insufficient security skills. In addition, today’s enterprise requirements have outgrown network security capabilities.
- Modern cyber security tools are insufficient: Many enterprises welcome new-age network tools like next-generation firewalls (NGFWs). However, while NGFWs are better at dealing with threats, they too focus on limited application points and fail to provide more holistic cyber protection. Moreover, standalone tools like malware analysis sandboxes remain strategic for particular control points. Because of this, they don’t do enough to improve security visibility and protect the larger network or the cloud.
- Large enterprises require backward-compatible cyber defense architectures: An integrated architectural approach to network security is the need of the hour. Organisations are looking for solutions that automate manual processes, are scalable and threat-centric, and are tactical tools with backward-compatible network security services. The robust cyber security architecture must include integrated actionable intelligence, distributed enforcement, and a centralised control system. Many enterprises have already faced a range of stalking security failures. Cyber security professionals have to watch for guidance from the government and be prepared to handle any such attacks.
Integrated threat-centric network security solutions:
Large enterprises must be dynamic, scalable, available, and open to accommodate today’s business and IT processes. But legacy cyber security controls cannot cope with this ever-changing threat landscape and dynamic IT environment. And as a result, cybersecurity risk is at its all-time high. So leadership across organisations are looking forward to a new network security architectural model that covers every critical point from the core to the cloud.
An integrated network security hardware and software system can apply any security service to any internal or extended network tactical point, either physically or virtually. In this architecture, all security services and components communicate to share information in real-time, monitor security controls, detect security events, and correct compromised processes.
Integrated network security architecture uses standard firewalls, IDSs, and other tools in use today. However, the significant difference is that the individual tools inter-communicate and share their telemetry capabilities across the network. They work as a whole by continually informing each other.
Integrated network security architecture should rest upon the three below-mentioned features for proper integration, interoperability, and comprehensive coverage.
1. Centralised control:
Operations and management are critical challenges faced by legacy systems. Each network device tool has its configuration, policy engine, and reporting that causes unwanted operational overhead and redundant activities. Comprehending the status of any application by going through a plethora of reports is not an easy task. You would need centralised control for:
- Service management: A central application with a seamless workflow engine and graphical user interface (GUI) support should centrally manage dynamic network security services, configuration, and provisioning. Network security engineers should be able to configure and provision VLANs, firewall rules, switch ACLs, and routers from a single intuitive GUI application.
- Backward compatibility with server virtualisation: Advanced level tools are required to configure virtual workloads for AWS, VMware, OpenStack, or Hyper-V. It can also include Cloud benefits like self-service and rapid provisioning by providing appropriate APIs.
- Monitoring and reporting: Integrated network security architecture must also offer centralised tracking and reporting. The services must also monitor virtual and cloud-based control points to avoid blind spots.
- Future visibility: Security analysts need in-depth visibility into their applications to spot multi-directional threats in advance. They should be able to assess what applications, users, and tools are on the network and what they are doing to detect threats and respond as required.
2. Distributed enforcement:
All the different security services throughout the network should adhere to global security policies. An integrated network security approach provides for this requirement with:
- Support across locations for any form factor: If cyber security services are available at any site and in any form factor, the security team can provide network security policies to applications, network segments, or specific groups of users.
- A group of network security services: Network security architecture should be capable of supporting packet filtering across all tactical network points. Packet filtering includes inspecting for threats like SPAM, phishing, content leakages, viruses, worms, DDoS, and application-layer attacks.
- Network and endpoint security integration: Different security processes and groups managed network and endpoint securities in the past, but this won’t work in the current scenario. Network and endpoint controls must work in close collaboration.
3. Integrated actionable intelligence:
Network security personnel are responsible for writing new rules or configuring network connections for most network security technologies except for a few technologies like IDSs, web threat devices, and antivirus gateways that get updated directly from the cloud. Integrated network security architecture promises an “intelligence-driven” process as it is:
- Taking input from multiple data sources: Network security architecture provides a plethora of data for analysis which includes network staples, full packet capture, profiling data, and cloud application auditing. This new data, when analyzed correctly, can significantly enhance risk management.
- Built for automation: Enterprises can automate their cyber defenses by leveraging integrated network architecture’s internal and external security intelligence. In addition, automated solutions can systematize security analyses for a swifter response.
|Network Security Architecture Property||Details||Functionality||Benefits|
|Centralized control||Central monitoring and reporting, cloud virtualization, backward compatibility, service management||Centralized configuration and change management, provisioning, event management, policy management, etc||Transparency across all strategic network security points independent of location or form-factor|
|Distributed Enforcement||Communication between network and endpoint security across any location and form factor||Integration across network services. Policy enforcement extended to Cloud||Focused layered security to protect users, tools, and applications.|
|Integrated Actionable Intelligence||Diversified data sources||Provides in-depth analysis of endpoint activities, network traffic, and application traffic||Enables network team to take actions based on real-time intelligence and offers automation|
1. What is an integrated cyber defense?
Integrated network defense provides network security, data security, identity security, and endpoint security both on location and over the Cloud to provide holistic and complete critical asset protection.
2. Is cyber defense the same as cyber security?
Cyber defense is the strategy used to protect information and systems, whereas cyber security focuses on how to implement the plan.
3. How does cyber defense work?
The cyber defense would include installing hardware and software applications to keep hackers away. Maintaining, monitoring, and patching system vulnerabilities are also part of daily operations.