Network Protection: It’s More Than a SecOps Imperative

Growing complexity in the cyberthreat landscape is driving the rush for collaborative security practices.

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NetScout

Mobile devices are already a vital connector to online work and play, and as the popularity of remote work continues to gain steam, expect even greater reliance on these networks and the internet. In response, organizations across the globe are implementing policies related to remote work and online learning on a huge scale.

For smooth organizational functioning and improved business outcomes, critical IT and network infrastructures must be available at all times, with easy access remotely to data, applications, and internal services. A poorly performing infrastructure will have adverse impacts, including loss of productivity, inferior customer service, and a significant reduction in revenues. It can also lead to new vulnerabilities to cyberthreats, especially due to the surge in internet and digital network use, which has caused increased data breaches and higher security risks.

Today’s enterprise networks are extremely complex, covering physical and virtual offices, public cloud environments, and more. The expanding threat surface is increasing the number of cyberattacks. To ensure a secure network, it is critical for organizations to capture data from various sources or touchpoints and apply threat intelligence and business analytics. Often, however, organizations lack comprehensive and consistent network visibility, posing a huge challenge for cybersecurity teams charged with putting together a strategy for threat detection and response.

Cybersecurity Is the New KPI for Enterprises

Today, along with the traditional KPIs for reliability, performance, and availability, security is considered a key performance indicator. In this interconnected world, it is an imperative to employ visibility and threat detection capabilities across multivendor, virtualized, or containerized network and service infrastructures.

Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered unprecedented cyberattacks, with cybercriminals succeeding in exploiting new vulnerabilities and causing disruption across VPNs, firewalls, and the cloud-based tools of employees working from home. Attackers are making malicious attempts to stop legitimate users from accessing organizations’ networks, freezing operations and causing financial losses and brand damage.

Cybercriminals are increasingly finding new ways to infiltrate networks by weaponizing new attack vectors, leveraging mobile hotspots, and targeting compromised Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The complexity, resilience, and frequency of cybercrime threats requires unparalleled visibility and insights into the growing threat landscape so organizations can address the attacks appropriately.

Collaboration Between Network and Security Teams Is Critical

It is critical to protect our cyber-connected world of networks and devices from the increasing number of attacks. Security teams should detect, validate, investigate, and respond to threats on an ongoing basis.

But security also is a strategic priority for network teams. In fact, a reduction in security risk is among the key measurements of success for network teams, even before service quality, network visibility, and end-user experience.

Moreover, today’s complex digital infrastructure demands collaboration between network and security teams to gain better clarity on whether an IT service event is a performance issue or a security incident. Cross-team collaboration will drive cost and operational efficiencies, reduce overall risks and quicken the pace for resolving security incidents.

IT leaders must encourage this collaboration by providing a transformational security view across operations and infrastructure that includes:

  • A data store built for use by both security and network teams
  • A toolset that enables collaborative workflows
  • Documented policies, controls, and best practices that formalize cross-team collaboration

This effort will provide the much-needed strong foundation for configuring and implementing a robust cybersecurity strategy to protect what is considered the new gold for any business: its data.

Calling on All Stakeholders

Cybercrime has become a multibillion-dollar business, and cybercriminals will continue to discover new techniques to formulate both crude and sophisticated attacks. Only a collaborative effort of all community stakeholders—manufacturers of connected devices, network equipment manufacturers, internet service providers, cloud providers, integrators, government agencies, enterprises, and the cybersecurity industry—will succeed in building a safer cyberspace for all.

Gaurav Mohan is a vice president of sales at NETSCOUT.

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