Your business depends on applications and data. In today’s digital age, both are vital assets, and protecting them against cyber attacks is essential. But as you know, staying ahead of cyber threats is a never-ending job, and one that seems to get more difficult every day.

When it comes to cybersecurity, here are some sobering findings: Data breaches caused from hacking incidents reached a nine-year high in 2015 (Identity Theft Resource Center); 431 million new malware variants were added in 2015, an increase of 36% over the previous year (Internet Security Threat Report 2016, Symantec); according to Cisco, trends are showing “adversaries expanding their focus to server-side attacks, evolving attack methods and increasing use of encryption to mask activity” (Cisco’s Technology News Site). With data like these, it’s no surprise information security is such a hot topic among senior executives.

At its core, information security is about lowering business risk. It’s about preventing your company’s sensitive data from being stolen, damaged, or crippled in some way—whether by an intentional act or by an honest mistake. It’s about complying with regulations and ensuring your business-critical systems and applications remain operational at all times with no disruption to your business operations. One way you can lower risk is by enhancing security defenses inside your network perimeter, closer to where your applications and data reside, using a data center firewall.

After all, cyber adversaries specialize in stealth and exploitation. Their goal is to skirt perimeter defenses and lurk inside corporate networks, exploiting vulnerabilities and disguising their activities among other network traffic. Placing an additional firewall inside your perimeter network and in front of your data center will provide another level of defense for your applications and data.

But port-based firewalls are not effective enough to act as a data center firewall. First, users need access to more data and applications today just to perform their jobs. Simply blocking ports and protocols is too restrictive to satisfy the needs of business users. Second, allowing unrestricted access without granular application control is far too risky because cyber thieves are adept at sophisticated tactics such as masking transmissions within encrypted data streams and using file transfer protocols to tunnel malware applications.

Next-generation firewalls deliver better protection for your data center.

To protect your data center, you need a firewall product that goes beyond port and protocol blocking. You need a firewall that understands applications, users, and advanced threat behaviors.

Application Identification and Classification

High-risk applications can lead to unwelcome business risks, either through misuse or wasted time. Having applications such as online downloads, proxy services, social media and other non-work related applications, and file transfer programs running on your network can result in compliance infractions, data loss, lost productivity, and inefficient use of corporate assets. A next-gen firewall looks at all network traffic, so each application and user can be identified, categorized, and subjected to policies. With a next-gen firewall, port specifications don’t matter because all ports are monitored at all times, providing you more visibility into the applications running, who is using them, and how they are behaving.

Application-based Security Policies

With in-depth knowledge about applications, users, and context, you can create fine-grained security policies by application and enforce them. You’re no longer forced to rely on port and protocol restrictions for protection. As a result, you can segment access to critical assets by user and application across your entire enterprise, which gives you greater security control and prevents rogue users or applications from gaining access to sensitive data.

Advanced Threat Detection and Prevention

Malware is commonly used by cyber villains and rogue states to implant malicious code (such as ransomware) into corporate networks. In fact, according to Cisco in a July 2016 news release, “ransomware has become the most profitable malware type in history” and “organizations are unprepared for future strains of more sophisticated ransomware.” Next-gen data center firewalls possess advanced threat detection and prevention technology capable of blocking known malware threats as well as isolating and analyzing unknown threats based on suspicious behaviors.

For more information on next-generation data center firewalls and how ePlus can help you select and implement the best solution for your business, click here to get in touch with us or contact your ePlus Account Executive.


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