Digging in when under siege

Linda Hui/F5 Hong Kong and Taiwan
15 Jan 2014

The usual security tactics of responding to new threats are no longer working. More businesses are being successfully attacked despite the numerous point solutions available and, worse, many don’t even know they have been attacked until it’s too late.

Forget the old faceless image of a socially introverted hacker as the opponent. Today’s hackers are well-oiled enterprises and they wreak havoc for money, not just for sport. They are getting increasingly sophisticated, too.

The defense has also changed, especially in Hong Kong. With businesses asking employees to collaborate more and become mobile, many constantly share information and access key applications through a variety of constantly-connected devices. This has increased application and network security risks, and made the security walls porous.

The risk of non-compliance is another worry that keeps CIOs awake at night. With regulations becoming more stringent, businesses are hard-pressed to comply. Those who don’t not only face huge fines, but risk tarnishing their reputations irreversibly.

It’s better to view today’s security situation as a chess game. Reacting to the opponent’s moves is not enough -- it makes one defensive and vulnerable to multi-modal attacks. Every chess player knows that preparing for counter moves and protecting the king— the company information—offers a better approach.

So why doesn’t the old approach of using point solutions work? It comes from a simplistic assumption that a business is a castle and building strong walls can thwart attackers.

But today businesses are diverse, disparate and extremely mobile. Networks lie at the heart of many businesses, enabling them to adapt to a dynamic market, exploit new and fleeting opportunities and improve operational efficiency. Clouds have also changed internal infrastructures. In the name of better efficiency and cost savings, many are adopting cloud-driven application delivery models to be more agile.

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