Trends in Technology

How to Enhance Cyber Defense Agility for the Next Lockdown

June 5, 2020 by Bobby J Davidson
Read similar articles in: Business Technology

Cyber DefenseThe current worldwide lockdown that all of us are currently enduring has taught us a lot of things, and chief among them is that we are not nearly agile enough. That’s all the more reason why we must be prepared better for future scenarios. Whether the next lockdown comes due to a second wave of COVID-19 or as a response to a similar catastrophic event, we must be prepared to handle it better than the current lockdown. Security teams are already learning a valuable lesson, which is that when you can’t get onsite physically to make upgrades or changes to security infrastructure, your ability to deal with security threats is greatly compromised, and cyber defense agility is reduced greatly. In the current COVID-19 environment, organizations are not only facing enhanced exposure to immediate cybersecurity risks but are also facing challenges in their ability to deploy upgrades or new applications and tools to keep up with new security threats. Employees are working remotely from their homes on unsecured networks and are surrounded by foreign IoT, and such new working patterns have greatly increased the attack surface in a manner that has never been seen before by IT teams. With every passing day during the current pandemic, the lack of cyber defense agility and lack of visibility into what goes on across a network is one of the greatest cybersecurity problems. What’s required now is a complete understanding of the infrastructural shortcomings that can show up in the middle of this crisis and a plan on how we can overcome these challenges in the future.

Network Architecture Is on Lockdown

Even before there were self-isolation requirements, most of these enterprises had found the process of selecting and deploying new security and performance monitoring solutions to be slow and cumbersome. New security and monitoring solutions tend to be deployed as hardware-based solutions that take months to select, evaluate, deploy, and purchase. When you add a pandemic that eliminates physical access to the equation, another issue becomes apparent immediately. Solutions based on proprietary hardware appliances require human beings to be physically present to deploy, maintain, and upgrade them. In that sense, those solutions are behind the curve, especially when you compare them with data centers where the server virtualization has delivered highly efficient resource utilization, significant cost savings, and agile deployment, and has made remote management common. That same thing can now be used for network security and network monitoring, where you can place a common platform to host a range of commercial and open-source network analytics solutions to be virtualized similarly. However, we’ve already seen that many organizations haven’t embraced this common platform approach and continue to struggle with the slow and cumbersome deployment of new capabilities. In the current environment, teams are being challenged to remotely defend against attack surfaces to ensure they can deploy new tools and capabilities on demand without any access to the data center is an extremely challenging task. The worst thing that could happen is that critical threats may slip through the net and expose the organization to malicious cyberattacks. It makes agile response difficult and increases the alert fatigue that network security and IT teams are already fighting against. It’s important to ensure that these teams, along with their external providers, are well prepared and equipped to monitor and deploy the best-in-class network security tools. That should be at the forefront of every business, and right underneath that should be working out how to make the infrastructure flexible enough so that changes can be made without needing people onsite.

How to Improve Cyber Defense Agility for the Next Lockdown?

Throughout the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, businesses are learning valuable ‘life lessons’ that are going to transform operational models forever. The current hardware-based approach towards security is proving to be a roadblock for enterprise cybersecurity agility. This places companies in the perfect position to address those gaps in the current approach so that they can have better network visibility, agility, and security in the future. To sum it all up, organizations must shift towards implementing a network architecture that allows them to deploy detection and analytics tools remotely. The best way to maintain both the visibility of the network and the agility to detect and deal with problems is to virtualize all security tools. That will mean encouraging security teams to deploy solutions that aren’t dependent on proprietary hardware appliances, but instead rely on software solutions that can be deployed on open platforms. Adopting a common, virtualized hardware platform is going to remove the hardware dependency that currently forces organizations to be physically present to deploy security solutions from different vendors. These security and analytics solutions can be easily deployed as and when they are needed remotely, as virtualized software applications. It’s not only remote, agile deployment, but it provides organizations with the freedom to choose the right security, application performance, and network performance solutions that are going to be best suited to their needs. That same virtualized hardware platform can host not only network security solutions but also network and application performance tools. When all the tools share access to a common source of data, correlating events, and integrating solutions to streamline investigations and resolution workflows becomes easier for everyone. The security, network, and IT teams can all reap the same visibility, agility, and cost-efficiency benefits, and the teams can also collaborate with one another without any problem.

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