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Why centralised connectivity is the most secure approach for businesses

Wed 6 Nov 2019 | Neil Briscoe

Centralised connectivity provides businesses with greater visibility and the facts needed to make better, more informed cyber security decisions

Cloud computing has offered a wealth of opportunity for businesses across the globe. From encouraging vast and continuous development of services, applications and platforms, to giving companies a myriad of choices when it comes to finding the right solution to drive business benefit. However, cloud computing does open the door to new risks that need to be acknowledged. These risk factors come in many different shapes and sizes, including unauthorised system access, mass data loss, or the complexity of network identity management.

Visibility is absolutely key for businesses to make informed and educated decisions. Without the full picture, correct decision making is nearly impossible and will ultimately lead to failure. With an understanding of where the risks and threats lie, companies can build a defence to mitigate these threats; this is where having centralised connectivity is essential.

Multiple egress points

The desire to increase the use of internet based services and take greater advantage of the benefits the cloud provides has seen company infrastructures grow exponentially. While there are great benefits to growing the network perimeters of a business, welcoming greater flexibility and increased efficiency both for internal processes and external clients, this also increases the security risks across the business.

As the estate grows, so do the entry points to the organisation. Instead of a data centre with one door for hackers to open and close, cloud and multicloud services create a vast number of doors to open and close across a company’s network; making companies far more vulnerable than before. These typical touch points now include internet based communications, private cloud communications and B2B communications. Additionally, it should be noted that each door now holds various different security policies that businesses must be aware of and adhere to, in order to mitigate all risk.

Shadow IT

Shadow IT is typically introduced with good intentions; to empower companies to keep innovating and stay ahead of the curve by quickly accessing tools that make them more productive.

However, with cloud services becoming increasingly available at the click of a button, the number of employees evading the IT department is rising. This, of course, also increases large security risks. IT teams are becoming less aware of what has been shared and adopted, and what may have been exposed in the process. As such, the business becomes unaware of the potentially large security risks that are glaring right in front of them. Recent research has shown that 80 per cent of workers admit to using SaaS applications at work without IT approval. This can also rack up the costs for the business as the costs don’t go through the IT budget but instead through alternative channels.

Incomplete SIEM logs

To combat these threats, many businesses are deploying Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solutions to protect networks from external and internal threats. The solutions carry out complex analysis on the network’s data to identify any security issues. The principle is to provide companies with a single view of all their data to identify any patterns that are out of the ordinary, which, in theory, should save time and money.

However, the analysis can only be as good as the data available. With missing data and incomplete logs, SIEM’s won’t be able to understand previous events and patterns, compare them to present patterns and then flag the right security issues, ultimately leaving enterprises in the dark.

No central visibility

Visibility is the most important part of any business. As a business grows, so does its network. As a result, the demand for transparency increases to avoid failure and security threats. For any service business, achieving the ‘five nines’ – the high availability of services when downtime is less than 5.25 mins per year – is what every business strives for, but it can’t be denied that this is an increasingly challenging task.

Within the business, a Chief Information and Security Officer will make the appropriate risk based decisions to protect the business. However, without central visibility all decisions made are based on either incomplete or legacy data; which do not provide an accurate and timely picture. Consequently, all decisions are somewhat flawed and could hold detrimental effects to the business.

The solution

By centralising connectivity, a single, timely and accurate source of truth is established. Securely bringing together all the individual entities on an estate will enable businesses to become truly agile by rapidly adding, changing and removing connectivity providers, cloud vendors and other third parties. But, most importantly, increasing visibility and drastically reducing security risks.

Creating visibility through a centralised network ensures that all exit points are monitored and creates singular egress points through that one centralised platform that’s monitoring the whole network. Shadow IT is subsequently reduced, as the IT teams are now completely aware of all the activity across the business and the cloud services that are being used. Together with consistent policy and logs, SIEM solutions can now work effectively to ensure that only true security risks are flagged.

Ultimately, it all boils down to greater visibility. As adoption cloud continues to increase at a rapid rate, the opportunity for companies to take advantage of its offerings also grows. However, it’s important that businesses can make informed decisions and aren’t exposed to any security risks. Centralised connectivity provides businesses with greater visibility, plus the facts they need to enable them to make better, more informed decisions to protect their business.

Experts featured:

Neil Briscoe

CTO & Co-founder
Cloud Gateway


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