What Can Lean IT Teams Do to Strengthen Network Security?

lean it network security

Even a decade ago, the operations, systems and digital footprints of most medium to large companies had become overwhelmingly complex. Over the last ten years, these digital corporate footprints have expanded to reach and capture growth from previously untapped corners of the world. More recently, the business imperatives of the COVID-19 pandemic spurred faster adoption of enterprise software solutions – particularly Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – that pushed data beyond the organization’s physical perimeter. This has all added significant pressure to already lean IT teams.

The truth is that lean IT teams have to reassess and realign their priorities. This means leveraging technical security essentials in a way that eases the burden on them. In practice, the first step is to begin adopting network security solutions that accommodate today’s most common networking hardware; provide out-of-the-box integrations with critical security tools such as InTune, MFA, and popular SIEM solutions; and work in conjunction with firewalls and endpoint security solutions.

Securing Networks is Only Getting Harder

Events like the recently exploited Log4j vulnerability continue to keep IT security teams on their toes. Little can be done to plan for, let alone prevent, such wide-reaching software flaws – hundreds of Cisco, VMWare, IBM and Oracle products were affected in this instance, including more than 120 different configurations of Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE). The unfortunate reality is that these events ultimately mean lost weekends patching systems, as well as assessing the damage done to the network and the devices. In many cases, it means bringing in more skilled professionals to investigate, diagnose, and implement – a costly endeavour you likely would not have budgeted for. Other on-going IT priorities are also inevitably pushed to the side with mitigation underway.

Such exploits and subsequent critical system fixes are particularly hard felt by the mid-market. This segment is often considered the backbone of the economy, yet they’re underserved when it comes to having purpose-built network security essentials, including network access control technologies. 

Lean IT Should Maximize Value

For resource-strapped IT teams, these unpredictable security incidents can seem insurmountable, especially when the onus is on the customer to patch their own software. Constant fire drills lead to stress, burnout and turnover – something many organizations simply can’t afford. Instead of helping alleviate stress on lean IT teams, traditional on-premise network security vendors make the problem worse. Their solutions require extensive, ongoing integration and maintenance. Complicating matters further, specialized point solutions don’t mesh easily to provide a holistic view of the network. 

This then brings us to the question of value. Wouldn’t it be more valuable to bring in IT security essentials that can reduce this stress and anxiety by eliminating the need for heavy systems maintenance? Wouldn’t it be valuable to free up that time spent putting out fires and use it to modernize your IT security stack? In practice, this means adopting and deploying network security solutions that deliver the essential functionality and capabilities we laid out earlier. It also means turning to SaaS for security. And for network security, it means choosing the right cloud-native NAC.

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