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We’re in the middle of a business model revolution. Transformation, automation, and globalization are enabled by emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, IoT, mobile, and cloud-native apps. As a result, the typical enterprise network is a mish-mash of environments that are always changing as connections to devices and other networks are established and dropped. This is a whole new world for network operators, and figuring out what to focus on can be overwhelming.

That’s why last week, FireMon announced the industry’s first agile network security policy platform. And, in this series, we look at the five critical capabilities a network operator must build into their NSPM practices to be agile and keep their environments secure, compliant, and ready to grow. Here is the first: visibility.

Pillar #1 – See Everything

Network operators need visibility of what is happening inside their networks at all times, but achieving that across environments and technologies involves logging in and out of multiple dashboards that present critical data in different formats. Making sense of the vast volumes of information produced by network activity takes a great deal of time and the results are never truly reliable or timely. There are too many chances for human error and too many systems that may or may not conflict with each other. Everyone knows that security gaps exist – they just don’t know where to find them.

You Can’t Manage What You Can’t See: The 4 Risks of Poor Visibility

  • Blind spots limit ability to see potential leak paths
  • Policies and routing paths across cloud and on-prem networks cannot be visualized through a single interface
  • Uncertainty complicates policy changes, slows responsiveness, creates manual work
  • Lack of visibility across all devices leads to compliance risks

According to SANS, 59 percent of security directors believe that the lack of network visibility posts a “high or very high” risk to their operations. Yet it doesn’t have to be that way. Achieving end to end network visibility is possible – but networks are only getting more complex, so now is the time to take action. Solve your visibility puzzle before even more components – and risks – land on your shoulders.

Make Your Network Visible with These 5 Actions

  • Know your network: Misconfigured, redundant, and unauthorized devices are lurking on your network – and everybody else’s. As businesses grow, change direction, and make acquisitions, rules and policies become outdated or redundant. The first step toward achieving network visibility is to retroactively map everything that’s already there.
  • Use one unified interface to gain visibility: Trying to enforce network policies with multiple tools and manual processes is frustrating, costly, and time-consuming. You need a single interface that provides continuous visibility into critical factors and automatically surfaces network policy data into one easily-understood visualization.
  • Choose a network visibility tool that provides actionable views: Many network visibility solutions rely on historic data, which doesn’t help you prevent risks that are emerging right now. Views should show data gathered from everywhere on the network, from the datacenter to the firewalls and across all environments, in real-time, and should be presented in a manner that is easy to understand so better decisions can be made faster. When events occur, notifications should be automatic.
  •  Use the right search capabilities to isolate policies: You need an efficient way to isolate and examine detailed information about all your network security policies. A network visibility tool should include a search function that’s as simple as Google while also providing a more sophisticated search tool as well.
  • Deploy intelligent threat hunting: Effective visibility should not only prepare network operators to defend against known threats, it should also expose unknown threats. Unknown threats can be discovered by analyzing data patterns in real-time through a process known as data clustering, which automatically assembles and attributes data from large, disparate data sets. The ability to integrate external feeds from sources like VirusTotal and DeepSight is important, as is open-ended searches (as opposed to only base queries).

How FireMon delivers real-time network visibility capabilities

FireMon provides network and security teams with a single, trusted view into their environments. Configurations of devices from all major firewall vendors, including cloud firewall vendors, can be easily surfaced, analyzed, and acted upon through a central dashboard that provides customizable reports.

  • Real-time security analysis gauges the effectiveness of existing firewall policies
  • Policy search quickly searches all devices within the enterprise domain from a single place in the application
  • Traffic flow analysis traces the source and destination of every rule in each existing firewall policies (including NAT) to understand traffic flow

Manage your entire network – on-premise, private, and public clouds and any firewalls – through one interface. High-volume changes and even the most extreme complex environments can be managed without interfering with workflows. FireMon solutions easily integrate with DevOps and security infrastructures without the need to hire consultants or spend months making changes, and once in place, your FireMon implementation helps you secure your network by suggesting rule changes and automating processes, even after policies have been deployed.

Learn more about how FireMon can help your business gain the visibility you need to stay secure, compliant, and adaptable with agile NSPM.

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