Enterprise network security: prime need for businesses

Bhavin BarbhayaIn the today’s era of unified communications involving a vast amount of real time data exchange, wire based communication is not a big wonder to the world anymore. During the latter half of the twentieth century, with the introduction of simple and reliable TCP/IP protocol, the internet started expanding across countries and continents. By the end of twentieth century, internet connected literally every country in the world. Today, as organizations across the globe connect with each other enterprise networks have made geographical limitations merely a distance on paper.

Apart from the development of Internet, usage of Local Area Network (LAN) for intra-enterprise communication using Ethernet became de-facto standard for networking. Today, LAN has matured from 10 Mbps shared network to a dedicated 10 Gbps network. Such a huge increase in bandwidth has also changed the kind of applications being used. In the past, the applications were primarily of text format while today the norm is real time voice and video based communication. The newer applications demand higher bandwidth and intelligence from the enterprise networks to identify & prioritize applications based on their importance.

In addition to these applications, the proliferation of smart devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs hooked onto internet drives the need for connectivity and puts more demand on bandwidth. Today, no organization can ignore the business value of these devices anymore as they increase productivity and keep businesses operating around the clock. The complex business applications coupled with the emergence of multiple smart devices demand the organizations to find a way to accommodate these applications and devices and enable secure access to network resources while protecting corporate assets.

Network security has come into prominence especially in the last decade as internet became integral part of everyone’s life. Many network security threats over the internet like viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, hacker attacks, Denial of service attacks, identity and data theft continue to exist and evolve over time with increasingly complex attacks directed at the corporate network to achieve malicious goals. Today, these threats have greater points of entry into a network because of significant increase in user mobility, the number of remote locations, and the number of devices accessing the network.

Building a foolproof enterprise network is a huge challenge for any corporate today. To address this challenge, the first step for the enterprise IT team is to look at network security as an integrated solution and to realize that no single product can protect the organization from a variety of threats. One needs multiple layers of security which can be accomplished through a combination of hardware and software. Having clear visibility into who is using what specific applications and assets on the network is essential as the organization can tailor its security policies to ensure the network safety. Without visibility, organization can be victimized by attacks that it never realized it was vulnerable to and can waste resources researching, containing, and responding to these attacks.

The solution also changes based on the type and scale of the business. As an instance, for SMB, the need is to build a highly secure network foundation that combines network and data security into an easy-to-manage solution. While for large enterprises, layered security solution would help protect information from hackers, spam, malicious websites, identity theft, and more.

As network infrastructure is going from 100 Mbps to 10 Gbps there is huge demand not just for next generation network security platform to address the evolving threats but additionally organizations need a trusted technology partner who has the capability to support the enterprise with a holistic and flexible solution. The role of a Solutions Integrator (SI) is critical in this case who has domain expertise on security to mitigate the risk and assist organizations in maintaining best security practices based on their exposure across diverse industry.

Apart from securing the business critical enterprise data, there are many other business benefits that enterprises can experience. Organizations are protected against business disruption, which helps keep employees productive. Network security also helps enterprises to meet mandatory regulatory compliance. Because network security helps protect customers’ data, it reduces the risk of legal action from data theft. Ultimately, network security helps protect a business’s reputation, which is one of its most important assets.

Information is vital and constitutes an important asset for any company. Information security has always been a major challenge to most organizations. Information security is more than a simple matter of technology. In reality, it is a part of an ongoing risk-management process, covering all of the information that needs which need to be protected. Without security measures and controls in place, business critical data might be subjected to attacks. Finally, the role of the SI in developing and implementing an effective, holistic and flexible network security solution strategy through the use of appropriate technologies is extremely critical.

(The author is Vice President - Sales ( Network Infrastructure ), AGC Networks Limited)