Your Network + Today’s Tech = Friends or Foes?

The Implications of Big Data, Cloud and BYOD on Network Security & Management

Innovation, competition and productivity are all increasing thanks to current technology. Yet the advent of Big Data analysis, Cloud storage and services, and the BYOD revolution also generate new security challenges and bandwidth concerns for existing networks and IT. With proper planning and by partnering with the right service provider, your business can successfully integrate these new technologies—and benefit from them, despite their inherent challenges.

Big Data’s Big Needs 

With Big Data, businesses are capturing and analyzing data like never before and driving business decisions with real-time insight from that data. Yet, IT must focus attention on how the influx of data will impact network security and management.

“Big Data environments change the way data flows in the network. It generates far more east-west or server-to-server traffic than north-south or server-to-client traffic. For every client interaction, there may be hundreds or thousands of server and data node interactions.” —    Michael Leonard , Jupiter Networks

Additionally, Big Data systems by necessity must pull data from a variety of sources. As these new data sets grow, so does the need to quickly add capacity. When planning your network requirements, it is critical to prioritize locality, high performance and horizontal scalability.

What to do next:

To ensure your network is equipped to leverage and analyze the increasing flow of big data, Leonard recommends asking these questions.

  • Are there multiple data sources, and are they static or streaming?
  • Is the analysis of data streams being done in real time?
  • How easily and quickly can more capacity be added?
  • Will big data applications require integration with other applications?

Cloud Challenges

All this push toward Big Data is causing more IT groups to look to the Cloud for secure and scalable network solutions. In fact, the number of organizations using the Cloud to manage Big Data was forecasted to increase by 70% in 2013 according to a CloudPassage study.

“Big data might very well be the catalyst that will push adoption of public cloud into overdrive. Real-time scalability will be key and a secure cloud will be the enabler.” —   Roman Stanek, CEO GoodData Corporation

Cloud computing’s flexible, hosted environments offer a scalable, on-demand infrastructure—perfect for managing the rapid growth and analysis of Big Data.According to Gartner, roughly 20% of Global 1000 organizations will have information networks equivalent to their application management programs by 2015—many including the Cloud because of its flexible scalability.

What to do next:    

If you want to leverage the Cloud to make more efficient use of Big Data:

  • Determine what burden Big Data will put on your current network infrastructure.
  • Inventory your various data sources—including mobile devices and social media.

BYOD Security Demands

It’s undeniable, the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) revolution is in full swing. According to Forrester, 60% of workers use their personal mobile devices at work – with some organizations reporting more than 75% of network-connected devices are employee-owned. There’s no doubt numbers are only going to grow; Juniper Research estimates employee-owned mobile devices in the workplace will more than double next year, reaching upwards of 350 million.

How are companies monitoring and managing BYOD? According to a ZK Research webinar survey, 73% of respondents feel they “can’t monitor the performance of the applications that drive their company’s business.” Another study by KnowBe4 and ITIC found that 71% of BYOD businesses have no specific policies or procedures in place to insure security.

While threats posed by mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are best dealt with using both device- and network-level security, Fortinet’s senior product manager Kevin Flynn, believes the foundation for any mobile strategy must begin with the network.

“Simply put, the network has always and will always be the final authority on what information goes to and from devices.” —   Kevin Flynn, Fortinet

Flynn continues, “Protection should always begin with a network security solution that incorporates variety of technologies necessary for a multi-layered approach, such as firewall, VPN, IPS and application control…consolidating multiple functions into a single device and enabling IT administrators to easily monitor the flow of data and behavior of the device and the user while connected to the corporate network.”

Lawrence Reusing, GM of Imaton’s Mobile Security Unit agrees, yet cautions that IT not rely solely on network-based security. “Layered security is obviously the best practice. But any organization that simply relies on network security to protect their organization’s data is ignoring significant vulnerabilities from the mobile devices and laptops that are the access points to the network.”

“Strong on-device security is a must, starting with strong authentication backed up by encryption.” —  Lawrence Reusing, Imaton

What to do next:    

In addition to creating formal policy to safeguard against BYOD risks:

  • Implement strong on-device security mobile security that addresses end point issues.
  • Protect data and access to systems through multi-factor authentication.
  • Utilize MDM software so IT can audit, control and disable devices that put your data in jeopardy.