Effective security is more than an insurance policy – it’s a business enabler

Christian Curtis, sales director at Avnet Technology Solutions UK takes a look at how to sell the business benefits of IT security

Security is vital; the threat landscape has evolved beyond lone hackers or small groups breaching networks. Cyber crime is organised, it is big business and has spawned a huge underground economy. Attacks are often targeted, sophisticated and inherently malicious.

We understand and recognize that security is essential and that not everyone who wants to access a corporate network has good intentions, however, the doom mongering can be overwhelming. Security solution companies and channel partners could and should adopt a more positive approach to selling IT security. It is not an easy task and regular stories in the industry and by the media around high profile breaches tend to reinforce the fear and dread message in people’s minds. That said, selling security only on the merits of negativity seems counter-productive and unnecessary.

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Posted under IT infrastructure, Security

Organisations should be adopting a new proactive approach to security breaches

Dieter Lott Avnet Technology Solutions EMEA

Dieter Lott, Vice President Business Development EMEA, Avnet Technology Solutions

IT infrastructure is in a constant state of change, and nowhere is this more evident than in the Security and Networking marketplace. New dynamics such as ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) and hybrid computing trends are creating bigger security challenges for businesses as working cultures become more mobile. We’re seeing that the traditional methods of data protection are no longer enough as larger companies become increasingly subject to high profile data breaches, and cyber attacks become more calculated. Businesses of every size are slowly waking up to the principle that it’s no longer a case of ‘if’ you’re breached but ‘when’. Therefore, it is essential for any IT strategy to adopt a modern proactive approach to security breaches that takes into account business intelligence.

Traditionally, data breaches were seen to be the cause of external sources, and security efforts were designed to keep threats out by building walls around an organisation’s data. However, the requirements of an enterprise’s security solution are changing rapidly. The adoption of private, hybrid and public cloud solutions has allowed businesses to store their applications and information in a variety of places, all of which need addressing and securing. Therefore as businesses’ infrastructures become more complex to manage, insider threats become increasingly common.

These transformations are creating security gaps, and companies are facing the challenge of how to secure applications and devices in a way that’s not overly disruptive to the user but also provides the right level of corporate security. As companies adopt cloud solutions and broaden their network scope, they also begin to struggle with how to meet security compliance demands without sacrificing network availability. Users are also putting pressure on enterprise networks as they increasingly embrace mobile working practices. This level of flexibility increases the pressure on perimeter security, as users drive a greater volume of traffic onto the network by accessing services from multiple locations.

To move forward, organisations need to understand that breaches will very likely still happen, and it’s essential to have the right system and processes in place to manage an event once it’s happened. The modern approach to network security is all about the intelligence you have on your environment and the speed with which you can respond to a threat. The secret to which is using forensics and analytics to track a breach when it happens, and allow network managers to understand the damage that has been done  and find the person who has committed the offence.

In order to close the security gaps, businesses need network security solutions that give complete visibility and do more than just alert you to breaches. I believe the next generation of security software will evolve to operate in constant learning mode and be able to adapt to the strategies of potential threats in real time. There are a number of products and services already in existence in the market to help organisations manage such an event, and businesses should be looking to adopt a range of security solutions that can offer holistic support before, during and after a security breach.

There is much more focus now on the analytics of what’s happening in the network, how it’s happening and the forensics of ‘something’ has happened – what’s the damage that’s been done?’ These technologies can help businesses to plug the security intelligence gap which will enable them to move from a ‘defensive’ approach to one that’s ‘proactive’, to limit and prevent damage from security breaches – today and tomorrow.

Posted under BYOD; celebrating mobility, IT Software

2014 Tech Trends

Steve Phillips, our CIO, has provided his top trends for 2014. This should help provide you with best practice to address these trends.  

 

This year’s look at top tech trends from my perspective is more about evolution rather than revolution. While the list may seem somewhat static compared to previous years, the importance is in how these trends are being applied within Avnet’s business over the next 12 months.

 

Number #3

Mobile strategy/BYOD

As we continue to embrace BYOD and CYOD (choose your own device) across the company, our main question is this – how do we protect and back up company data and applications while also ensuring the integrity and privacy of the employee’s personal data on the same device? As tablets gain mainstream acceptance as daily business devices we need to have an answer to this question in 2014. “Containerization” is one approach we’re considering this coming year. The goal is to divide employee devices into two logical containers – a corporate container and a personal container. Data and apps on the corporate side can be secured, backed up and even wiped remotely like any Avnet-owned hardware. What makes containerization appealing is that all of this is that this can take place without disturbing an employee’s personal contacts, photos, apps and data.

 

Number #2

Predictive Analytics or “Big Data”

Today Avnet stores more than one and a half petabytes of data. This is tremendous value if we can present it in a way that helps drive better decision making. We’re currently in the process of implementing SAP’s HANA solution to help us do just that. HANA will give us the foundation we need to start rolling out the tools and technologies that can help us extract the full value of our data. But big data is much more than just a hardware and software roll out. In my last tech trends video I laid out Avnet’s framework of the critical elements I believe are needed to make the most out of any data analytics implementation. You can be sure our own big data journey is focused on addressing any of those elements in 2014 without them it’ll be difficult to deliver the accurate reports and business insights our leaders and partners are going to be relying on to make critical business decisions.

 

My number #1 technology trend for Avnet in 2014 is

IT Security

This year we’re going to be focusing on a few areas including data loss prevention. Data loss prevention is all about giving us visibility into what data is moving around Avnet and where it is going. That way we can better read and react to potential security breaches with the right plan of action. At the same time we’re going to be working on better protecting Avnet systems and data even when they’re off the Avnet network. As malicious hackers focus more of their efforts on targeting employees, rather than data centres, it’s imperative that we prevent our people from being exposed as much as possible when they’re on the go.” 

Posted under Big data, BYOD; celebrating mobility