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Your corporate networks are your organization’s nervous system. Trends like bring your own device (BYOD) and the use of public and hybrid clouds can extend your nervous system and effectively your presence throughout your marketplace. The prospect of the Internet of Things (IoT) promises to carry your network even further from the relative security of your data center. As your network expands, virtually nothing happens in your world that doesn’t touch your network at some point.

Your network as a sensor

Conventional networks were just conduits of data. They had limited awareness of the types of data they transported or the types of users who accessed them.

Network sensor technology available today can enable your networks to become aware of how they are being used and by whom. From a security perspective, this kind of intelligent visibility into your network traffic serves as a valuable tool to identify anomalous traffic from the furthest branch office down to the traffic in the data center.

Implementing network sensor technologies turns your network into an integrated web of ever-vigilant digital sentries that can detect malware, identify user access policy violations and obtain broad visibility into all network traffic so the appropriate action can be taken to protect the network against threats.

Your network as an enforcer

Once your network has been given the intelligence to recognize how it is being used, it can be used to dynamically enforce security policy through software-defined network segmentation to isolate critical systems. It can also be used to contain attacks by preventing the lateral movement of threats across the network, as well as minimize the time needed to isolate threats when detected. Armed with the authority of your security policies, your network can automatically act on your behalf to quarantine threats, segment network traffic and provide the policy engine for making changes to enforce new policy based on detected threats over time.

A daunting assortment of tools and technologies are available to outfit your network with sensory intelligence and the authority to enforce your security policy. Trying to pick the best of the breed—or cheaper technologies for specific components of your network runs the risk of creating a tower of Babel with technologies that don’t speak the same language. A better choice is to go with a set of tools that are designed to work together.

Next up in our Security Series: “Unblinking Vigilance 24/7 with Managed Security Services.”