How Network Security Has Evolved From Saying "No" to Saying "Yes!"

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In medieval times, people relied heavily on physical security to protect their critical assets. Originally they had castles with walls and as attackers figured out how to breach those walls they added moats and draw bridges and murder holes to keep the advanced attackers out. But all of these hardened physical security measures designed to keep people out had the unfortunate side effect of making it difficult for people to get in, which in turn interfered with business and commerce. Needless to say, this type of security did not survive.

Cyber security has evolved in a similar fashion. Fifteen years ago, stateful packet inspection (SPI) firewalls were considered to be best-in-class protection against external threats. These firewalls were typically configured to block peoples’ access to internal resources.  A user often had to submit a ticket to gain access to a server. Some types of communications required that specific rules were written to be allowed. This is the “castle wall” approach that many CISOs learned when they were being introduced to network security. But this approach to security is also outdated.

Organizations have to attract people rather than keep people out. Retail businesses post signs saying, “These doors must remain unlocked during business hours.” Security must take a similar approach, to become more dynamic: The question now is how do you keep an eye on who is coming in and out to provide necessary protection?

Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, where you keep doors open, electronic online presence never closes. Today, ecommerce is being done electronically 24 x7. Not only do you need to keep your electronic communication presence open, but also highly available and redundant. The question becomes: How do you keep an eye on what is constantly coming in and out of the network?

Two parallel goals in security are to keep the malicious traffic out while also keeping employees productive. If employees want to boost their productivity but IT is slow moving, they invent ways to work around the rules to enable the productivity measures they need to do their jobs more efficiently.

Fortunately, that paradigm is now shifting. Security is no longer about blocking or allowing necessary access. It is about enabling secure access on a permanent basis to enable the business. The perimeter is not only about blocking traffic, but also about easily enabling appropriate access for users. What should be allowed? Whatever enhances the environment and makes it better. For network security to detect malicious behavior, Dell SonicWALL next-generation firewalls analyze all of the network traffic, identify and eliminate what is bad, and let the good flow in and out freely.

In a similar way, application control becomes important as more people rely on their own applications. With the deluge of mobility, everyone is BYOD, bringing their own cloud (BYOC) and bringing their own applications. CISOs need to know what applications are running on their networks and analyze those applications.

And, with identity and access management, we need to make sure this is the right person, right level of privilege and the right level of access to critical company data. Also, for CISOs to effectively manage identities, it is important to have self-governance and self-provisioning to create, modify and revoke and renew identities without always having to call an information security administrator.

The Department of Yes is about empowering business initiatives while retaining security by governing every identity and inspecting every packet. It enables security professionals to allow remote workers to be more mobile, to go to the cloud, and to go back to the corporate network – securely and productively.

Visit Dell Security and open your own Department of Yes.

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