NPC News
New Network Tools Drive Data Protection Changes

November 11th 2013

The business world is quickly transforming thanks to the proliferation of advanced technologies. The IT networking landscape in particular is undergoing major changes as cloud computing, virtualization and other innovative solutions gain momentum. If executives want data protection strategies to remain efficient during these changes, they will need to adapt and implement more effective policies.

Human error, firewall outages and the constantly changing state of IT networking is forcing executives to transform their tactics. A recent Tufin Technologies study of more than 500 C-level business managers and IT experts highlighted how most respondents are aware of these necessities. In fact, nearly 90 percent of business leaders said implementing a comprehensive end-to-end and coordinated security program is "essential" to keeping mission-critical assets safe.

In many cases, the advent of advanced networking technologies has forced organizations to design innovative job roles and allocate new responsibilities, as 71 percent of respondents said they had to adopt different processes and learn about unfamiliar services. The majority of these strategies require input from security teams if information protection initiatives are to be effective in the long run.

"This research shows that network security has become too complex to manually manage, especially with the introduction of new technologies such as cloud, virtualization and IPv6," said Reuven Harrison, co-founder and CTO at Tufin. "The key to meeting these challenges is automation and orchestration which will increase IT agility while maintaining security and compliance across the network."

While the cloud is commonly recognized as being the most disruptive technology to impact security in the near future, companies cannot neglect the risk brought on by employees.

Reducing the human risk factor

As IT services and solutions evolve, organizations need to take the time to ensure the workforce is ready and prepared to handle the changes brought on by technological transformations. Human error is and always will be a major concern for companies that house confidential information. In fact, roughly a quarter of business leaders said they had to reinstall firewalls and other security tools because employees did not deploy the solutions correctly on the first try, Tufin Technologies reported.

A separate study by Symantec and the Ponemon Institute echoed the challenges brought about by employees, noting that human errors and system problems were attributed to nearly two-thirds of all data breaches last year.

"While external attackers and their evolving methods pose a great threat to companies, the dangers associated with the insider threat can be equally destructive and insidious," said Larry Ponemon, chairman of the Ponemon Institute.

Fortunately, companies can combat these challenges through rigorous training programs. Executives that want to leverage sophisticated networking tools to improve efficiency without compromising data integrity or security need to speak with employees to raise awareness of the challenges associated with mishandling information or improperly procuring, launching or maintaining technology.

Additionally, organizations should build incident response plans that alert individuals of a security problem and guide them out of harm's way efficiently. Deploying these programs will also require some finesse by executives, as employees must be at least aware of how they can reduce risk in the wake of an emergency.

As the IT environment continues to mature and change in the coming years, progressive companies need to be proactive in their adoption and implementation of innovative solutions. If companies launch end-to-end security policies and educate the workforce on best practices, they will likely experience fewer complications in the long run, allowing their firms to prosper and gain competitive advantages over rival businesses without inviting unnecessary complications.

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