Jon McGettigan, Senior Regional Director, Fortinet ANZ
Consistent security across your network provides three key benefits – ease-of-use, enhanced protection and reduced risk. Consistent security is easier because you only need to develop, maintain and enforce one comprehensive security policy. It’s more secure as you eliminate any gaps between security services. And, because it’s easier to manage and safer to operate, your overall risk profile is reduced.
Consistent security across network topology
A key challenge to consistent security is that network topology is anything but consistent. Closed networks are a thing of the past.
Today’s networks are moving away from traditional data centres towards micro data centres, edge computing and branch offices. Hybrid networks might include software-defined networking for the edge, cloud-based computing, mobile devices and, increasingly, Internet of Things and SCADA (system control and data acquisition) devices. Each node has to be secured.
But it’s not enough to simply secure each node in an ad hoc manner. Each node has to subscribe to a consistent security policy can be extended and enforced. Further, the security services need to be adaptable enough so that they can continue to act in concert no matter which direction your network goes.
Consistent security regardless of delivery model
Just as network topology isn’t consistent, security service delivery can be equally heterogenous. An enterprise might have a constellation of in-house firewalls and secure access points, a network of secure SD-WANs as a managed service and cloud-based applications for mission-critical business processes. If each security service is delivered by a different provider using a variety of security protocols, the risk of gaps between these services can quickly become troublesome You lose a critical component of security - complete visibility.
All of these security services should be able to interact with each other and extend the consistent security policy to all network transactions, regardless of service provider, physical location or network service.
Portfolio pruning – The first step towards consistent security
Just how consistent are your security posture across your extended network? Can your security policy be enforced for all users, applications and transmissions? If not, you’re not alone. Most enterprises are in ‘react’ mode when it comes to security. The best way to reduce risk is to move towards proactive security and that starts with consistency across the security services landscape.
A network security audit is essential for you to start pruning out older, not-fit-for-purpose or inappropriate security services, regardless of provider. And as you prune away, you can build a forward-looking security strategy into your security services with a unified, consistent and flexible Security Fabric that can adapt to your preferred method of security services consumption.
Consistent security – which realistically can only be provided by a single-security vendor delivery model – is the most efficient pathway towards reducing risk. Management becomes easier which in turn reduces human error and invites automated responses to routine tasks. Security is improved because a consistent approach reduces gaps and ensures policy enforcement.
If you have multiple security solutions, independently trying to defend your network, you’re only as strong as your weakest component. But if they’re collaborating in defending your network, their sum is greater than the individual parts. This is the true benefit of consistent security.
Fortinet (NASDAQ: FTNT) secures the largest enterprise, service provider, and government organisations around the world. Fortinet empowers its customers with intelligent, seamless protection across the expanding attack surface and the power to take on ever-increasing performance requirements of the borderless network - today and into the future. Only the Fortinet Security Fabric architecture can deliver security without compromise to address the most critical security challenges, whether in networked, application, cloud or mobile environments. Fortinet ranks #1 in the most security appliances shipped worldwide and more than 375,000 customers trust Fortinet to protect their businesses. Learn more at http://www.fortinet.com, the Fortinet Blog, or FortiGuard Labs.
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About the author
Jon McGettigan is Senior Regional Director, Fortinet ANZ. As such, he is responsible for driving Fortinet’s continued expansion in the Australasian region through building and maintaining relationships with enterprises, partners and staff. As a senior executive, he understands the risks, motivations and opportunities that face executives as they transform their networks into 21st century revenue centres.