Raising the stakes in security


7 November 2014

Ubiquitous connectivity is raising the stakes in security. According to Fortinet, the growing use of wireless access, diversity in mobile platforms, rollout of the Internet of Things (IoT) and greater traction in cloud adoption are some of the factors that will shape the security landscape in 2015.

The Fortinet report on Enterprise Network Infrastructure & Security Trends for 2015 noted that wireless access is becoming ubiquitous across most organisations. “New enterprise buildings are less and less wired. Wireless systems are becoming the primary network access control mechanism,” it said. This means that tight integration with authentication systems will become even more essential.

At the same time, within the mobile space, the mobile device market will not be dominated by any one player the way Microsoft has been dominating the desktop market. With at least two or three mobile platforms across the globe, management systems will need to be more flexible and open, and this will have implications for security. 

Developing alongside mobility is the cloud According to Fortinet, cloud technologies are expected to play an important role in enterprise infrastructure as more organisations begin to trust their service providers’ security capabilities. With cloud bursting, hybrid clouds and personal clouds, there will also be more sharing of distributed services, management and security.

Another major development in 2015 will be the Internet of Things (IoT), which Gartner says will comprise some 26 billion connected devices by 2020. Industrial control systems are rolling out IP all the way to the control and measurement points. There is thus a growing need to deal with cyber threats which can cause huge damage across industrial complexes and public operational networks such as power grids.

In the face of these security threats, new technologies and approaches are being developed to protect the organisation.

According to Fortinet, as threats evolve, disparate security appliances, software agents and management systems have been developed to counter them. In many cases, these are unable to talk to one other. “When the bad guys tweak the threat life cycle, for example via the creation of advanced persistent threats or APTs, it becomes very difficult to stay ahead of the curve”. 

Next-generation security architectures will therefore need to integrate discrete security systems into a platform which can correlate threat-life elements and break the infection chain in different places.

Security is also being brought up to speed with developments in network performance. Fortinet noted that networking bandwidth requirements continue to expand at a rapid pace. “The transition from 1G data centres to 10G data centres took about 10 years. The transition from 10G to 100G will be much faster,” it said.

All parts of the infrastructure will need to perform within the high-speed infrastructure. With traditional CPU-based firewalls falling way behind the performance curve, new ASIC-based firewall appliances have come to the fore with 100G interfaces that deliver a quantum leap in performance. “Now high-speed networks can design security into the architecture without creating bottlenecks,” said Fortinet. 

Business intelligence will also play a bigger role in security. For example, monitoring where and when clients connect to the network can help determine security posture of the organisation. The amount of data being gathered is staggering but segmenting the data can lead to more actionable results,” said Fortinet.