Today’s hybrid IT infrastructure is defined by the surge in remote work and cloud-native applications as well as a lack of a clearly defined network perimeter. This gives rise to several key trends in the enterprise network security landscape.
Let’s delve into today’s most notable enterprise networking security trends.
What is Enterprise Network Security?
Enterprise networks need protection from potentially harmful traffic for them to function correctly and efficiently. Attacks using Trojans, phishing and spyware as well as the exploitation of vendor-specific vulnerabilities can compromise information and applications transmitted and received over a network.
Enterprise network security refers to preventive real-time defense techniques implemented by enterprises to safeguard their networks against threats capable of paralyzing their systems. Through a combination of people, IT software, hardware and strategies, enterprise network security protects business-critical applications and information from threat actors.
Top Enterprise Network Security Trends
1) Zero Trust Architecture
The Cost of a Data Breach Report by IBM details that the average cost of data breaches rose to an all-time high of USD $4.24 million. This increase, coupled with greater sophistication of cyberattacks, is driving a trend where zero trust solutions replace conventional technologies to take the advantage away from threat actors and restore it to the organization.
As a network security philosophy, zero trust declares that no trust shall be granted to anyone inside or outside the network unless their identification has been exhaustively authenticated. Zero trust assumes that there are threats both inside and outside a network. It also handles every attempt at network or application access as a threat.
Today’s upsurge of remote work is a factor enabling the rise in implementation of zero trust architectures, as organizations are increasingly implementing Internet-only configurations for at least some segments of their networks. This lowers the attractiveness of endpoints to attackers since the traditional “castle and moat” security model is disrupted, and the potential weakness of internal network perimeter security is less so.
The increased network traffic visibility, greater ability for compliance auditing, and greater control inside a cloud environment offered by zero trust architectures also contribute to the increased adoption of zero-trust security models.
2) Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
AI/ML for network security is also influenced by how threat actors implement AI and ML. It is increasingly common to find cybercrime based on AI and ML. As a result, AI/ML-driven network security solutions become must-haves to level the playing field against constantly emerging and evolving AI-based threats. The need for AI-based network security is also highlighted by the need for the reliability it offers.
Enterprises need solutions that overcome the limitations of human analysts, particularly when humans carry out analyses of complex data structures. Machine learning reduces the chances of human error and unexpected failure. The threat detection and remediation capabilities of AI and ML-driven solutions offer organizations speedy real-time protection and the capacity to analyze complex datasets without human intervention.
Advanced analytics, AI and ML will continue phasing out generic threat feeds and use digital security agents to offload comprehensive security tasks from human analysts. AI and ML security tools also prove attractive to organizations today with their ability to lessen downtime for their clients’ digital infrastructure through their capacity to simplify log management.
3) Proliferation of Disparate Network Security Tools
In an attempt to respond to an ever-evolving threat landscape and a constantly widening attack surface, network security has become more complex through an increase in the number of unconnected network security tools. As much as these tools are meant to handle different use cases and threat vectors, they inadvertently end up making security operations more cumbersome.
Organizations have to keep track of the deployment, configuration and operation of an array of network security tools. The implementation of many tools introduces redundancy into the infrastructure. Organizations may also cause their security costs to rise by failing to decommission the tools they do not require.
Furthermore, this complexity is leading to a rise in the imbalance between IT and operational technology. When these solutions work in silos, they result in misaligned and restricted control and visibility needed to secure enterprise networks.
4) Third-party Security and Interoperability
Organizations rely on third-party vendors more and more. The third-party ecosystem for enterprises continues to increase as enterprises feel the need to work with a larger number of third parties. Clearly, the cost of breaches to organizations is going beyond data exposure to lost consumer confidence and loyalty, tarnished reputations, and legal penalties for data privacy violations.
As a result, there has been an increased focus on third-party risk management by organizations. Forrester forecasts that about 60% of security incidents will involve third parties. Large-scale attacks on vendors are set to continue, as threat actors focus more on targeting supply chains as opposed to – or in addition to – enterprises themselves.
The lines between vendor risk and internal risk will continue getting blurred until they vanish; these risks are essentially merging. Additionally, this sets the stage for highly integrated technology ecosystems that will enable integrated lower risk security management.
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5) Hybrid Network Infrastructure
The continued migration to the cloud has contributed to the increasing complexity of cybersecurity as organizations migrate portions of their data, IT resources and workloads to cloud infrastructure. Such hybrid environments are more difficult to secure as data is spread across multiple platforms. The network security stack has become far more complicated.
With hybrid working models proving to be today’s new normal, networks are required to adapt in real-time to applications, devices, resources and workforces working from anywhere. Where legacy systems fall short in terms of monitoring cloud data, technologies such as AI capitalize to improve cloud network security. Cloud network security solutions with monitoring and analysis capabilities across multiple environments are growing in importance.
Distributed security models that offer the same security solutions across different environments are also becoming critical functions for securing hybrid environments. Integrated security solutions will become must-haves for organizations. There is a need for security solutions that work together and offer visibility as a fully unified system to improve the effectiveness of their deployment across network security infrastructures.
6) Cybersecurity Awareness and Training
According to the Psychology of Human Error 2022 report, 88% of data breaches can be traced back to human error. The report also states that the shift to hybrid working models has altered the workforce’s work behaviors and decision-making abilities. Security mistakes often occur when employees are stressed, fatigued, burned out, and distracted. Remote working environments have more distractions and affect employee cognitive loads.
Security errors such as falling victim to phishing emails have gone up. This is not helped by the fact that these attacks have become more difficult to discern without proper training and awareness campaigns. As a result, organizations are placing greater importance on human approaches to cybersecurity. It is not uncommon to find organizations that have mandatory cybersecurity training and education programs for their employees.
Enterprises are making cybersecurity awareness training more frequent to keep up with the evolution of threats and threat actors to their networks. Free cybersecurity resources are widely available now.
Additionally, cybersecurity awareness is proving to be more interactive and engaging through gamified training. Enterprises are also getting everyone involved in these security programs to broaden cybersecurity responsibilities to include more than just their cybersecurity teams. For example, organizations can go beyond their employees to also offer these resources to their customers.
Future of Enterprise Network Security
As trends such as cloud computing, digital transformation and hybrid work continue to advance, the complexity of network security increases. Security teams should focus on addressing the friction that exists between them and network operations teams to reduce some of this complexity. This includes aligning issues such as different chains of command, communication gaps and the use of disparate tools.
Models in the Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) category will continue helping enterprises align issues such as the use of heterogeneous tools by network and security teams via converging networking and security. They will continue to prove attractive to enterprises by enhancing security, offering greater agility and assisting enterprises to address security and networking skills shortages.
We should also see more uniform and secure network policies to support the workforce, applications and devices to enable flexible working models and optimize the effectiveness of work-from-anywhere models. Enterprises will also need to offer increasingly uniform user experience and security across work environments.