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Network security is rapidly evolving. The numerous technologies that fall within the network security domain—such as firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, vulnerability assessment systems, antivirus, and endpoint compliance solutions—are beginning to share data and reporting functions, and security management is being centralized and consolidated. This is an important development. Previously, single-function, vertical security tools and products were only able to do part of the job in a true layered-security environment. Today, integrated, cooperative security technologies that can leverage each other’s security information and enforcement capabilities are on the forefront of innovation in the security marketplace.

The move toward integration has evolved in response to a number of factors: the continually escalating threat environment; the enactment and enforcement of data security regulations; the calamitous costs associated with compromised data and network downtime, and shortage of security staffing resources in what is becoming an ever increasing manual security management process.

In an attempt to get an enterprise view of security information, many organizations have turned to Security Information Managers (SIMs) as a way to collect and correlate data from multiple security tools. While helpful, this approach requires even more staff resources to correlate information from disparate security systems. In the end, only limited value is achieved as staff are still required to manually act upon the correlated data.

Organizations are seeking proactive, correlated, comprehensive security management that provides a view into their security posture and automates appropriate responses to identified threats. This integrated approach goes beyond the event log correlation provided by SIMs because it automates the appropriate actions that mitigate the threats.

Integrated network security provides tangible tactical advantages:

  • Relevant information is correlated among multiple security systems.
  • Automated, protective actions are triggered in real time based on correlated data.
  • Threats are identified, isolated, and acted on quickly, minimizing exposure to risk.
  • Security is administered with maximum efficiency.

This paper examines the trend toward security integration and illustrates how a real-world threat could be isolated and defended against in an integrated environment.


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