Network security is the act of protecting digital resources, applications, and data from malicious intrusions. While traditionally this has meant establishing a perimeter around endpoints and network resources with firewall solutions and related tools, recent evolution in hackers' methods has necessitated evolution.
Today's approaches to network security include controlling access to resources and employing advanced analytics to detect problems in real time. With these methods and more, businesses can defend their applications, data, and users, even as complexities build due to trends such as remote work and the internet of things (IoT).
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The old orthodoxy of network security has vanished in recent years. Methods that used to be considered standards are now only part of the picture. This means companies that have spent years without updating their cybersecurity strategies are now at elevated risk, and new businesses starting out must follow different priorities than the ones that came before.
A useful way to track new network security requirements is to consider the shifts that have occurred in the enterprise networking landscape over the past few years. Each of these major movements has brought with it new cybersecurity priorities and best practices.
These trends include:
Considering the complexity, varied nature and sprawl of modern networks, legacy methods of network security aren't able to cope with today's needs. Installing perimeter defenses around quickly expanding groups of endpoints would be a waste of employee time and effort, and would ultimately come up short anyway.
When moving on from legacy security, network administrators must remain vigilant to defend against the array of advanced threats that make up today's landscape.
Today, a cybercriminal can take advantage of vulnerabilities in large and varied network attack surfaces to find new ways to introduce malware and ransomware into a network and cause a data breach. With a foothold gained through stolen data, these bad actors will try to penetrate further layers in search of privileged data or other valuable content. Stopping hackers can require a modern approach to locking down the network.
Creating a system capable of dealing with these subtle and potentially costly cyber threats means implementing cutting-edge technologies. Standard approaches to access control such as firewall and VPN implementation are no longer enough on their own.
What happens when an individual's device or login credentials fall into malicious hands? This is a vital question for companies to answer, because there are more devices in circulation than ever and employees tend to reuse their passwords across accounts and services. Advanced information security approaches should be ready to deal with login attempts by bad actors by spotting unusual behavior and locking accounts down.
Perhaps even more threatening than an intruder pretending to be an authorized user is someone with legitimate credentials using them maliciously to exfiltrate sensitive data. Strict role-based access control and monitoring have become musts in modern security to ensure accounts are only used for appropriate purposes.
A plethora of different devices and networks are in play in a modern remote or hybrid work model. If users working with their own devices or on outside networks click on a malicious file or compromised URL, what will happen? Administrators need to think about this all-too-common occurrence and ensure their URL filtering, browser isolation and other anti-malware software extends to the whole network.
Accidentally clicking a bad file isn't the only way for a user to fall victim to a cyberattack. An employee could also fall victim to a spear phishing campaign that uses psychological manipulation—one consisting of convincing, well-crafted emails requesting private information such as login credentials. Comprehensive security solutions will lock down apps and other essential network resources to prevent use of any stolen credentials.
Learn how Zero Trust Network Access helps secure remote work
The difference between a powerful modern network security architecture and an outdated legacy system resides in advanced features. The resulting capabilities can provide user, data, and application security in ways that traditional methods cannot, applying technologies across varied networks incorporating a variety of devices and connections.
Modern network security solutions should combine close monitoring of user activity across devices and networks for threat detection with a secure application access solution. They should also be convenient and seamless for users to work with, so they don't impede productivity with excessive and time-consuming checks and manual processes.
It's possible to break down these modern security approaches into two distinct functional areas: Zero trust security solutions and secure access security edge (SASE) architecture.
These relatively new solutions have become necessities in a short period of time because the traditional approaches to networking and security were not able to meet today’s hybrid work model needs. The rise of remote and hybrid work has changed the way organizations operate, which means that unless security capabilities follow suit, companies will fall behind in their ability to protect users, data and applications from potential threats.
Companies that choose Citrix as their digital workspace, SASE or SD-WAN partner have access to the types of network security capabilities that can keep teams safe and efficient. With these cloud security controls in place, it's possible to oversee a remote or hybrid workforce with confidence that employees have industry-leading protection against the latest, most threatening security risks.
There are two primary secure access solutions available from Citrix. These security packages are fully integrated into network architecture and deliver the following advantages: