Comment: Secure Everything, Everywhere

Businesses need to connect the dots, says Andrew Walker-Brown
Businesses need to connect the dots, says Andrew Walker-Brown

We love our devices. IDC estimated 686 million smartphones were sold in 2012 alone. According to the IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors shipped a total of 418.6 million mobile phones in Q1 2013 compared to 402.4 million units in the first quarter of 2012. Then there are the countless connected tablets, laptops and desktops; not to mention products – from cars to copiers – that are connected devices, too. From a network perspective, it all adds up to a staggering number of endpoints.

Our relationship with our devices is deep, and getting deeper. But without access to data, the value of our devices is limited, if not eliminated. Whether business-critical or frivolous fun, our mood quickly fades to frustration when we can’t access our data. The truth is, there’s a powerful three-way relationship that exists between our devices, our data, and us. Without access to data, however, the relationship just doesn’t work. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the business world.

Today, a business’s productivity is inextricably linked to the ability of its employees, partners, and customers to access and exchange data. There is a straight line between productivity and profitability. But hackers also smell opportunity in this evolution. Businesses, of all sizes, increasingly struggle to defend themselves from the explosive growth in security threats and cyber-attacks.

Without significant advances in security technology, management and deployment strategies, malware has the potential to inflict huge vulnerabilities on corporate networks, with catastrophic results. Today’s cyber threats have broadened in scope and reach, which demands businesses to refocus technology resources to drive connected security and protection.

The logical step is to secure everything, from endpoint to data center and everything in between, from everywhere – cloud, mobile, and remote. Every aspect of network technology has to be engineered for security, throughout the product lifecycle, supply chain, and manufacturing process.

One solution is to deploy a next-generation firewall with deep packet inspection technology. This scans every byte of every packet of network traffic across all ports, and it delivers full content inspection and eliminates threats.

Next-generation firewalls now also perform a critical inside-out function by being able to protect and unleash the productivity of the network using application intelligence and control.

The corporate network represents the central nervous system for many businesses. If it goes down, all business literally stops. Similarly, if the network slows down because its bandwidth is being sucked dry from video, live streaming, or social media use, the business slows down too. Many organizations cannot differentiate between legitimate business applications and those that are not business-critical and simply draining bandwidth. This is where innovations in the form of application intelligence and control connect and give the right people access to the right applications, at the right time and with the right bandwidth.

In today's enterprise, protection and performance go hand-in-hand. Businesses need to connect the dots between these two imperatives and craft connected security strategies that deliver outside-in and inside-out protection. This will result in organizations being well placed to do more and gain sustainable and competitive business advantages from their IT solutions and services.

Andrew Walker-Brown has over 18 years of experience in the IT industry, with over seven years of this time based at SonicWALL where he is the Systems Engineering Manager for Northern Europe, Middle East and Africa. He has maintained this role for the last four years and manages a team of five sales engineers across his region and has responsibility for their recruitment, team development and training.

Before working for SonicWALL he held various IT positions, including technical director and co-owner of Blue River Systems in Guildford, UK, for two years. Walker-Brown graduated from the University of Hertfordshire with a BSc (Hons) in computer science.

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