New Study Reiterates the Dangers of Advanced Persistent Threats for Network Security

When we last spoke about advanced persistent threats (APTs), the New York Times had just fallen victim to an attack that used malware to create new network patterns that allowed it to remain undetected by traditional network security systems. Unfortunately, APTs have only grown in prominence, and malice, since then. Recently, Dark Reading published an article highlighting the findings of a new Ponemon Institute study, which revealed that organizations have suffered an average of nine APT attacks in the past 12 months. If that isn’t alarming enough, almost half of those organizations confessed that hackers successfully stole sensitive information from their corporate networks. The main reason these types of threats are so successful is because of how long cyber criminals can remain undetected in networks. Because these types of attacks are so stealthily coded and utilize multiple attack vectors, IT administrators usually don’t realize their corporate networks have been infiltrated until they notice anomalies in network behavior. Prior Ponemon Institute research suggested that APTs average 225 days in networks before they are detected. To put it bluntly: that’s far too long. Rather than relying on what are clearly inefficient ways to detect APTs, enterprises need to take a preventative approach, including using technologies such as centrally managed remote access control solutions, which can actually prevent network breaches from occurring. For example, centrally managed VPNs give IT administrators the ability to monitor and control all remote communications with the corporate network. They also ensure that all communications with a corporate network are encrypted, which prevents attackers from snooping on sensitive information. A lack of sufficient endpoint security tools and lean...

Network Security: IT Professionals’ Top Priority for 2014

Chances are if you’re reading this blog, you understand how vital it is for enterprises today to secure remote access to their corporate networks. It looks like that understanding is becoming more widespread – according to recent research by TechTarget and Computer Weekly, network security topped the list of IT professionals’ networking priorities in 2014. More than 600 IT professionals that specialize in networking across Europe participated in the publications’ annual purchase intentions survey. They work in IT departments across a wide range of industries, including education, manufacturing, finance and government. Across the board, 50 percent said security was the main business issue driving networking investments, followed by enabling worker productivity (34 percent) and reducing costs (32 percent). Further, the research revealed that the biggest driver of spending is the continued growth of BYOD. When BYOD first arrived on the scene, there were many debates about the risks and rewards of embracing it. Years later, it’s become less of a buzzword and more of a reality. There are certainly pros and cons to allowing employees to work from home or on their own devices, but the fact of the matter is that network access will be increasingly fluid for the foreseeable future, whether network professionals like it or not. One other finding that really stood out to us was that 44 percent of respondents think that keeping IT and corporate goals aligned will be the biggest challenge next year. While corporate and IT goals may differ in many ways, employee productivity can be the glue that holds them all together. In order to maximize productivity, companies should allow employees...

Remote Access Technology: Improving Quality of Life at Work and at Home

Recently, there’s been a lot of chatter surrounding an article on the “false dichotomy between work and luxury.” The author’s argument, that deferred living is negatively impacting happiness and quality of life for millions of people, and that embracing remote working policies could be the answer, is intriguing. What exactly is meant by “deferred living?” Well, think of all the things that you’d love to be able to do – everything that people put off until retirement when (hopefully) they have enough money saved up and free time to do as they please. The reality is, however, that we never end up doing a great many of those things. Physical ailments, financial setbacks, familial obligations and a laundry list of other issues often prevent us from getting to do everything we want. The author also points out that many people actually love to work and enjoy the sense of accomplishment they can achieve on a regular basis in their careers, but that there are things that dampen that positivity. Long and tedious commutes into and from work, whether by car or public transportation, are certainly no fun. Then, there is the non-stop parade of meetings and distractions that continuously pull you away from whatever momentum you’ve built on a particular project. By embracing remote working, we can actually reinvigorate the workforce, reignite the creativity that long commutes and endless interruptions snuff out, and reimagine the way entire industries operate. Eliminating time wasted on travel, being able to connect to company servers from home through a secure VPN and customizing your workspace to improve your own productivity will make your...

Encryption: The Key to Network Security

In the network security industry, we see firsthand how encryption prevents a wide range of security breaches, protects corporate networks and safeguards sensitive, personal information and communications. As hackers are constantly on the prowl for new methods and attack vectors, and even governments are now monitoring networks, encrypting data has never been more necessary. Despite this increasingly apparent fact, many organizations have been slow to adopt encryption in all of their network communication mediums. The newly released Encrypt the Web report by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) illustrates that even large, well-known enterprises are susceptible to lapses in properly securing network communications. Only four out of eighteen enterprises surveyed by the EFF received perfect scores in all five of its encryption best practices categories, which shows that there is still significant progress that needs to be made in securing network communications. A range of other organizations, including such prominent names as Yahoo!, Facebook and Twitter, recognize that securing their data is important, and they are currently planning to encrypt communications between their data centers over the next year, to make sure that sensitive information, such as personal and financial data, is safe at all times. Other businesses should follow their lead. “They understand their customers want privacy and security, and are willing to deploy additional measures to ensure crypto is in place against a wide variety of attack vectors,” according to Kurt Opsahl, a senior staff attorney with the EFF. “This helps their customers feel more secure about their data.” Beyond implementing protocols such as HTTPS and STARTTLS to secure communications over the web, as the EFF’s report recommends,...