Key stages and facets of a lifecycle approach to security management

Dimension Data’s Network Barometer Report 2013 – which presents the aggregate data from 233 Technology Lifecycle Management (TLM) Assessments that the company conducted for its clients around the world in 2012 – highlighted the issue of organizations not adopting an architectural approach to preparing their networks for disruptive technology trends, particularly enterprise mobility, BYOD, virtualization and cloud computing.

First published in 2009, the report draws on data from Dimension Data’s proprietary TLM Assessments completed for more than 1,200 organizations of all sizes from all industry sectors, and across all geographies over the past five years.

A year earlier, Dimension Data reported that two-thirds of all corporate network devices analyzed in 2011 were carrying at least one known security vulnerability. Of the top 10 most prevalent known vulnerabilities, four were new and three had a high severity rating.

“These statistics should be a reminder to those in IT security to identify and apply security controls consistently across their organization, or run the risk of security breaches that can severely impact business and damage brand reputation if made public,” says Matthew Gyde, Dimension Data’s group general manager of Security Solutions.

3 stages

The TLM approach addresses key design, security and configuration issues. Unlike a piecemeal approach to security, it spans three key stages:

  • Discovery of the customer’s environment, such as the network’s vulnerabilities, lifecycle status information, IPv6 readiness and maintenance coverage;
  • Assessment and analysis of the network’s business-readiness;
  • Recommendations for architectural design changes; equipment upgrades; process changes; training; as well as disposal of e-waste

A comprehensive report outlines practical first steps on how to proceed, ensuring nothing falls between the cracks.

For instance, a company that plans to leverage on enterprise mobility to increase employee productivity and organizational effectiveness, must first ensure its underlying network infrastructure can support the dynamics introduced by 802.11n access points, power-over-Ethernet and Gigabit-Ethernet as well as deliver robust security architecture.

The TLM Assessment’s diagnostics service helps IT gain visibility of the existing infrastructure to establish a secure, available platform from which to operate and to harness the advantages of trends like cloud/ virtualization, collaboration/ video and enterprise mobility.

Dimension Data has also expanded the TLM Assessment to include an e-waste removal service, addressing the disposal of redundant equipment that carries the risk of sensitive data being accessed by external parties.

Dove-tailing with Dimension Data’s TLM Assessment is Check Point Software Technologies’ Lifecycle Management Services (LMS) that include security health check and gap analysis; project planning; hardware/ software performance testing and certification; and implementation of the latest security technologies. The objective of the LMS is to enable organizations to implement advanced protection technologies while reducing time and budget.

3 facets

The 2013 Check Point Security Report also highlighted the need for organizations to consider three key facets when deploying a security solution strategy:

  • Policies
  • People
  • Enforcement

A security policy must first be a widely understood and well defined. Such a policy must acknowledge situations where, for instance, secure use of certain applications necessary for business has to be enabled. Organizations should also ensure that users are involved inthe security process, informing and educating them on acceptable use policies such as for BYOD or for sensitive data handling.

To enforce security, a security gateway at all interconnects ensures that only relevant and authorized traffic enters and leaves the network. This validation occurs at all security layers – communications, protocols, methods, queries, responses and payloads – using firewall, application control, URL filtering, DLP, IPS, anti-virus and anti-bot security solutions.

In developing the 2013 report, Check Point analyzed security events at 888 companies gathered from four main resources: Check Point Security Gateway analysis reports; Check Point ThreatCloud security intelligence; Check Point SensorNet network reports; and Check Point Endpoint Security reports.

CheckPoint Security Gateways scanned the companies’ incoming and outgoing live network traffic, while Check Point’s multi-tier Software Blades technology inspected and detected security threats, including high-risk applications, intrusions attempts, viruses, bots and data loss.

“[The ability to aggregate] information – from the cloud, from on-premise, from the endpoints –into a big data analysis center gives administrators a realistic view of their risk levels over time,” says Itai Greenberg, product line manager at Check Point Software Technologies. “You have a holistic view and that is one of the key requirements for the organization to understand the security risks.”