Three Advantages of Integrated Safety

The perimeter of the LAN is a major target for cybercriminals. Many LAN solutions lack integrated security, making complementary products necessary. That means added cost and complexity in managing them. Even solutions that have security capabilities are often not directly integrated with the LAN edge.

Inadequate security of the LAN edge can lead to configurations deviating and cybercriminals being able to slip through the gaps this creates. IT organizations face a number of challenges in managing the LAN edge:

  • Ensure the synchronicity of different configurations
  • Establish visibility across the network
  • Handle different levels of access
  • Dealing with high total cost of ownership

Users place a high priority on fast Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections. IT staff, meanwhile, need secure solutions that keep complexity and workload low, so IT managers can spend their time on strategic initiatives instead of dealing with common network issues.

The volume of cyber attacks continues to rise. Increasingly, one of the most common threats is ransomware: July 2021, for example, saw over 1100 percent more ransomware attacks than June 2020. The lack of qualified personnel and the complexity of networks lead to security gaps and increased risks. A recent IBM survey shows that organizations use an average of 45 security tools, and each incident requires the coordination of 19 different tools. The dwell time, or “dwell time,” for security breaches is now measured in months. The cost is more than $8.6 million per incident.

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More and more organizations are considering using an integrated platform approach or Cybersecurity Mesh Architecture (CSMA). This helps them address these challenges and more easily manage a secure network. Organizations want to make their operations more efficient. As a result, they are increasingly deploying solutions that combine wired and wireless network management with security capabilities.

Merging network operations and security overcomes silos and centralizes user and network data. Enterprises can leverage this to improve security and increase performance. By placing a next-generation firewall (NGFW) at the center of their network, they make it secure from the ground up. This type of integrated platform, which unifies networking and security, offers three key benefits.

Three benefits of network and security convergence

Benefit 1: Simpler configuration

In large, widely distributed networks, even a small adjustment can have a big impact and cause disruptions in other sections. IT staff must therefore be able to track and manage additions, changes or updates at any time. This keeps all sections of the network synchronized and up and running. Configuration issues can also arise when deploying networks to remote sites. Installing and managing a common standard across many remote sites is very costly. This can quickly exhaust IT resources – especially when branch offices operate with different topologies. Integrated security-oriented network solutions can be scaled and expanded more easily. Without compromising security.

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Benefit 2: Better visibility for easier management

Today’s networks are constantly changing. Employees, service providers and guests are constantly logging on and off the network with their devices. Traditional LAN edge visibility capabilities can provide details on device connections. However, more detailed information about the device is always missing, such as the level of user authentication and the associated limits on resource access. The ever-increasing number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices present a particular challenge in terms of visibility. That’s because while they appear on the network, the applications they represent must be authorized without risking the security of the network. For branch offices that don’t have IT staff on site, the challenge is even greater. This is because the information in the access layer interface is the only information available. Good LAN edge solutions can handle all kinds of device types and users because they can connect without constantly requiring IT staff.

Benefit 3: Lower total cost of ownership.

Even when solutions provide the visibility and management an organization needs, the incremental costs of licenses and additional functionality can add up overall. Companies therefore need to track exactly how many systems and solutions they need to purchase to make everything work across the enterprise. They should determine how many licenses they need and whether subscriptions are required for various features. When calculating operational costs, it’s also important to consider the amount of time employees will spend. The time required to deploy and maintain operations can vary greatly depending on the solution. Therefore, it is important to know how complicated it is to manage a particular solution and whether it requires additional products to operate properly. Consolidating solutions with a powerful mesh platform approach can dramatically simplify licensing and reduce costs.

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Integrated security reduces complexity

Wired and wireless networks are the backbone of an enterprise and require significant investments of time and money. However, building, securing and managing local networks doesn’t have to be difficult, time-consuming and expensive. To ensure the best possible protection, security should be at the forefront of building and maintaining these networks – not an afterthought.

Integrated solutions allow the architecture to be set up more efficiently. As a result, they can reduce the configuration and management burden on IT staff. This is true not only for the LAN, but also for SD-WAN and ZTNA. By implementing a customizable integrated platform, enterprises can avoid a proliferation of devices, configurations and licenses. This type of platform approach saves both time and money. As a result, enterprises can achieve their business goals – while ensuring that day-to-day network management is a breeze.