Combining Network and Endpoint Security in a Defense-in-Depth Strategy
Hybrid and remote workforces, accelerated cloud usage and interconnected supply chains all help modern organizations become more agile and responsive, but there’s a price to be paid.
Those technical advances also contribute to greatly expanded attack surfaces, leaving companies with a much broader set of cybersecurity exposures. About two-thirds of all North American companies report their external attack surface has expanded in the past 12 months, according to an Enterprise Strategy Group study.
Extending cybersecurity across the distributed network is a top priority in most organizations. A defense-in-depth (DiD) strategy that enables multiple security products to work together remains the most effective way to provide extended protection. Many of the essential security controls in a DiD environment have overlapping capabilities, which help ensure that an attack that defeats one security mechanism can still be thwarted by other measures.
It's not a new concept — in fact, it’s several centuries old, dating to the era when castles were protected by layers of defenses such as moats, walls, ramparts, towers and battlements. What is new is the need for organizations to extend their defenses well beyond the network perimeter.
For years, a DiD strategy focused almost entirely on protecting local IT assets against threats traversing the corporate network. In an age of anytime/anywhere/any device network access, organizations now need to extend protections to widely dispersed individual users and their endpoints such as desktops, servers and mobile devices. That requires closer integration of many traditional network and endpoint security tools.
With the shift to remote and hybrid work models, there’s been a marked increase in threats.
Network security products are meant to find, block and alert on threats before they reach any network-connected endpoints. Some key network security tools include firewalls, secure web gateways, network access control solutions and intrusion prevention systems.
With the shift to remote and hybrid work models, there’s been a marked increase in threats targeting devices used by work-from-home employees. Key endpoint security measures include endpoint detection and response solutions, endpoint protection platforms, unified endpoint security solutions and endpoint encryption.
Integrate and Automate
When integrated, network and endpoint tools can collect and share information from global threat intelligence feeds to enhance their ability to identify and respond to threats. In some applications, artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms enable increased automation to speed threat detection. Here are three platforms that integrate and automate multiple network and endpoint security functions:
- Security Orchestration, Automation and Response. SOAR platforms ingest threat intelligence from all security tools to “learn” the difference between normal and suspicious activity. They provide real-time visibility into all network devices and connected endpoints, and automate many manual processes such as monitoring, alerting, investigation, remediation, reporting and compliance.
- Extended Detection and Response. XDR solutions combine threat analysis, detection and response to automatically hunt for stealthy attacks. They continuously collect and correlate real-time security data streams from servers, firewalls, endpoints, cloud instances and many other sources.
- Security Information and Event Management. SIEM systems correlate security alerts with multiple risk intelligence feeds to identify new and evolving threats. Alerts are prioritized automatically based upon key characteristics, eliminating much of the time, resources and cost related to manually combing through large volumes of log data for investigation and response.
A layered defense offers the best protection from evolving threats, but many organizations lack the in-house IT skills to implement and manage such an environment. The cybersecurity professionals at GDS can help. Through our suite of managed security services, we provide a cost-effective way for organizations to access the expertise and tools necessary to implement a defense-in-depth strategy. Contact us today to learn more.
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