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Thinking outside the product box

Brian Contos | Dec. 10, 2015
While defense-in-depth remains a popular approach, the seamless integration of security products is fast becoming the priority as customers look to adopt different devices from different vendors.

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The dynamic nature of the cyber threat landscape guarantees that the threats and the actors behind them are always evolving, increasing in sophistication in order to circumvent the most robust security devices. As such, our cyber security mindset must evolve as well both from an understanding of what new and emerging threats we will face and the types of security solutions available that will best support the cyber security posture of our organizations and protect our most sensitive information. 

According to the market research firm Gartner, global spending on IT security is set to increase 8.2 percent in 2015 to $77 billion, with the world investing approximately $101 billion on information security in 2018. Markets and Markets agree with this trajectory, estimating that the cyber security market will grow to $170 billion by 2020. What this means is that there is no shortage of security technologies for organizations to choose from and incorporate into their enterprises.

However, with so many newer technologies offered, organizations are faced with trying to decide which solutions – and how many – are best applied to their infrastructures. The security approach an organization takes must be unique to the organization and take into consideration its unique needs and requirements. “One size fits all” is no longer a valid strategy. Defense-in-Depth has been long recognized as a best practice solution for organizations, advocating the implementation of a series of devices to form a multi-layered defense, incorporating preventative and post-breach remediation and data loss prevention capabilities. Although defense-in-depth provides a redundant framework, it can be costly for organizations’ bottom lines.

The theory behind “defense-in-depth” is simple: the more obstacles an attacker has to fight through, the better chance it has to deterring him from trying to penetrate the network. However, there has been some recent pushback with regards to this strategy. In some instances, experts believe that a “more security more better” tactic can be more detrimental to an enterprise increasing costs associated with the purchase and maintenance of multiple security devices as well as requiring intimate working knowledge of the interoperability of such systems. One security engineer claimed that he had seen some enterprises having as many as 80 security technologies applied in layers.

While having a robust security defense that includes antivirus, multi-factor authentication, firewalls, endpoint solutions, and intrusion detection systems (IDS) may provide a certain level of peace of mind, the complexity of this type of security infrastructure runs the risk of creating large repositories of information silos that need to be correlated. Add to this security equation the diverse threat intelligence feed offering from vendors, and the information can quickly become unwieldy for most security teams. Depending on the resources available, this may prove too insurmountable an effort for any organization to process and operationalize efficiently or expeditiously.


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