Monday, December 19, 2011

Cyber Security Threat Protection In the Cloud

In days of yore, when castles were in vogue, the nobles found that massive stone fortifications were not enough to secure them from determined invaders. What they did was to ring the castle grounds with a deep water-filled ditch called a moat. This effectively prevented sieges from battering rams and tunneling under the castle walls. The lesson here is that your infrastructure is much easier to defend if you don’t let the bad guys anywhere near the main line of defense.

Get network security as robust as this castle and moat...Now let’s fast-forward to the 21st century and see how these medieval lessons-learned can protect our networks. Our massive stone castle wall is now a firewall. It’s effective in preventing most penetrations into the network. Like real stone fortifications and wooden gates, that firewall can only hold out so long against massive assaults at the network edge. What we need is a modern day moat. This is an electronic moat, of course, and it needs to surround our network but not be in it. Where can we get that layer of protection? How about in the cloud?

The cloud might just be the perfect first line of defense for local networks. It’s an idea that makes so much sense that MegaPath, a major networking service provider, is taking exactly that approach in a solution they call Unified Threat Management (UTM). This suite of managed security services can be implemented completely in the cloud, completely on-site or within a hybrid private/public configuration.

MegaPath’s UTM suite is offered in the form of Security as a Service (SaaS). It’s a multilayer approach that can easily fend off unsophisticated attempted break-ins and stand up to higher threat blended attacks. This suite also coordinates security alerting, logging, reporting, compliance and response.

What’s in the SaaS suite? It starts with an advanced firewall that features deep packet inspection with up to 500 firewall policies. Intrusion prevention features multi-layered and blended attack detection that handles both known and unknown threats. A powerful anomaly detector identifies and stops zero-day threats to all network types, including wireless.

No good network security system would be without anti-virus and anti-malware these days. This one has both signature and rules based blocking. Anti-spam deals with the onslaught of unwanted messages and deletes or simply tags them depending on your policy. There’s nothing like having to work your way through hundreds or thousands of spam messages each day to kill employee productivity.

Speaking of productivity, just what are all those employees browsing on the Internet anyway? Make sure their time is spent on company sanctioned activities with white and black lists and policy-based content filtering. Web application control goes a step further to give you precise control of apps like IM, chat, and voice or video on social media sites.

You’ll have data loss prevention with real time detection and prevention of your sensitive company data being transferred outside the company. That includes credit card, healthcare or financial data that is literally worth its weight in gold. Vulnerability scanning checks internal and external IP addresses to find and fix vulnerabilities in real time. Quarterly scans are implemented for PCI compliance. File integrity monitoring watches for unauthorized access or changes to critical system or configuration files.

Managed logging and security information management round out the MegaPath SaaS suite. These collect data and provide the alerting, reporting and archival you need for proper management. Portal based workflow management and tracking demonstrates due diligence in meeting organizational security policies and compliance reporting.

Are you feeling a bit vulnerable with the limited firewall and virus protection you have now? Sadly, the cost of one major breaking can far exceed the amount you’d spend preventing it with an effective cyber security solution. Now would be an excellent to investigate managed security services from MegaPath and other top tier network service providers.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

Note: Photo of medieval castle and moat courtesy of Christophe.Finot on Wikimedia Commons.

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