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Inspect Everything, Protect Everything: Next Generation Firewalls for Network Segmentation Inspection

Most of us would reach into a cookie jar full of delicious, just-out-of-the-oven, chocolate chip cookies without a care in the world, or any doubt that we should simply enjoy the euphoric chocolaty goodness.

But what about germs? Did everyone wash their hands before reaching into the jar? What soap did they use? How do you know if your delicious cookie hasn’t been infected? It’s not like you can force someone to stand guard with a bottle of hand sanitizer to ensure that everyone is disinfected before they reach their hand into the jar. Or can you?

Your network data is a lot like that jar of cookies. You want to ensure it is available for those trusted to be able to enjoy and use, and you want to keep it safe from infection. You also want to be able to see who else is reaching into your cookie jar, and make sure they aren’t eating all the cookies. You want to make sure you are protected from cookie thieves and other crumb snatchers.

The practice of architecting a network with different zones and segments based on usage, function, or location (for instance, configuring different network zones or VLANs for different uses such as isolating DMZ from LAN traffic) is nothing new. It has been a long standing cornerstone in any enterprise network. Over the years this segmentation theme has grown drastically in some enterprises, such that different hallways or floors of buildings are isolated on specific VLANs, or printers and servers are on different VLANs than end-user workstations. In some cases, there could be further segmenting of various WIFI networks, VoIP networks, or public accessible kiosks. In the Internet of Things model, everything needs to be connected, but, for controlling the connectivity, network segmentation is still a vastly favored and effective method.

However, there is a flaw to this mindset that many network admins and architects have overlooked, and that is the evolving security threat landscape. Most networks using forms of VLAN segmentation have deployed these VLANs on high-performance-core network switches to support the vast demand of connectivity and throughput performance. As such, the most common example one might see of this configuration is several VLANs combined with Layer 3 IP Interfaces built on the core switch. Once this is configured, it enables users to route directly over the switch from user networks to the server networks. While this is traditionally a very effective and standard approach to network communications, it has become an effective way for malware to communicate as well. In this approach, as there is typically no access control between the end-users and server segments, exploits, trojans, and malware can pass freely from zone to zone.

Consider the data as the cookies, and the server zone in which they sit as the cookie jar. You need to make sure every user that reaches their hand into that jar has used hand sanitizer to make sure they are not passing off any infections. You need to make sure the users reaching into that jar are who they say they are, and that they aren’t stealing your favorite cookie. You cannot rely on simple network access control or stateful packet inspection via access list on a core switch to protect your cookies. The threat landscape has evolved, and stateful rules that would permit file share access would also permit communications for the latest ransomware exploits. Don’t let the bad guys hold your cookies hostage.

By deploying the SonicWall Next-Gen Firewall with advanced Gateway Antivirus, Access Control, Application Inspection, Intrusion Prevention, and Advanced Persistent Threat Protection, in combination with a network architecture crafted for segmenting different network zones, you can successfully ensure that everyone’s hands have been disinfected. Keep your cookie jar clean from the latest botnets, exploits, intrusions, and malware. Read more on this topic with our “Executive Brief: Why you need network security segmentation to stop advance threats.”

Top Reasons to Update to SonicWall SonicOS 6.2.5 for Better Network Protection

Like many people, I sometimes pass over or delay software updates, but this one was different. The new SonicOS6.2.5 adds so many critical new features and so much functionality that I updated my SonicWall TZ firewall the moment it was available.

The new SonicOS 6.2.5 also gave me a chance to make more sense out of my network. My wife works from home, so our network carries both business and personal traffic. SonicOS 6.2.5 adds support for SonicWall X-Series switches on the SonicWall TZ300, TZ400, TZ500 and TZ600 next-generation firewalls. So by replacing my old switch with a SonicWall X-Series switch, I now have a secure network that will allow me to expand as I add more technology. Plus, I am confident that both our home and business data is now protected with the same security engine that is used by governments, colleges, hospitals and banks.

Here are a few reasons this update makes sense for any small business:

  1. The TZ firewall does not slow my network down.
  2. I manage everything from the TZ firewall, including the switch and my SonicWall SonicPoint access points
  3. Protection, protection, protection. At the National Retail Federation show in January, I (accurately) predicted 2016 to be the year where businesses will be hit with ransomware attacks. One of the strengths of  SonicWall is how fast it protects me from all new malware (in this case, ransomware). I continue to make backups, but I feel confident that I will not get breached by this particularly insidious type of malware.

And here what is so exciting about this new release for the distributed enterprise:

  1. With GMS, you can centrally manage the entire network infrastructure of a single site (and all distributed remote sites) including firewalls, switches, wireless access points and WAN acceleration devices. Being able to see what is happening on your network and pushing consistent policies to all sites is a compelling reason to upgrade.
  2. Multiple enhancements for more efficient inspection of encrypted traffic (TLS/SSL) with easier troubleshooting, better scalability and enhanced ease of use. Encrypted traffic is on the rise (50% surge according to 2016 SonicWall Security Annual Threat Report). It’s time to up your game and avoid a costly compromise or denial of service.
  3. With SonicOS 6.2.5,  SonicWall firewalls have achieved the prestigious Department of Defense (DoD) certification based on stringent security requirements. If a product with a firmware version is qualified for use by DoD, then it’s a safe (pun-intended) reason to upgrade your products to 6.2.5 now.

There are also additional improvements that anticipate the dynamic malware business. In our recently published Threat Report, we noted a substantial rise in encrypted communication. This is great for your privacy, but it also gives criminals a very easy method to penetrate networks. Most firewalls either do not inspect encrypted sessions or have this feature turned off a big mistake! An easy way to bypass your network’s security is by sending encrypted malware. Encrypted malware is a reality, so be better prepared with this new OS release. With this new release, the improved user interface makes it easier to set up and manage, especially when it comes to excluding inspection on traffic (such as Google searches).

Building a secure network is something that everyone should insist on. With the new SonicOS features I am a little bit closer. The addition of X-Series switch support to the TZ line (and it is only the TZ300, TZ400, TZ500 and TZ600 products at this time), my network is easier to manage, less complex and more secure.

My friend, Sathya Thammanur, product manager for SonicWall TZs, talked in more detail about the new features of SonicOS 6.2.5 in his recent launch blog. If you are looking for more information his comments are a great place to start or you can download our whitepaper: The Distributed Enterprise and the SonicWall TZ – Building a Coordinated Security Perimeter. If you are ready to upgrade your network, give us a call to explain how security does not have to cost you a lot of money or give you a big headache. As the security officer of your small business, your home or your distributed enterprise, SonicWall has a solution to make your life easier.

Managing the Madness of Multiple Management Consoles with SonicWall TZ Firewall and X-Series Switches

With fast emerging technologies, challenges of network design in distributed retail store locations is becoming huge. As retail store and distributed enterprise environments evolve, the underlying network infrastructure must evolve with the transformational changes to embrace new technologies such as mobile and digital media which aim to improve customer experience. Embracing new technological changes in a retail network needs to be carefully thought through by raising the following questions:

  1. Is the network infrastructure scalable?
  2. With the increased scale, is the network still secure?
  3. Are the operating costs increasing with the network expansion?
  4. Above all, is there still sanity prevailing in the management of such an evolved network?

The ultimate goal of a network design for any distributed retail location is to create a smart, flexible and easy-to manage platform that can scale to the specific needs of each site, while helping the organization reduce costs and risks. Typical solution of solving any network design expansion is to throw more capacity at the problem. As support for new technology and devices arise, there is overinvestment with added complexity. A new paradigm shift is necessary that can provide a converged infrastructure, simple & easy-to-use management, lower operating costs and can scale to a retail store site’s specific business need.

Let us start by understanding a typical retail store network. A retail store has many components: Point of Sale (POS) devices that require network access to process orders, multiple PoE powered devices such as IP cameras, Network devices such as storage servers & printers, multiple internal backend networks that employees need access to and above all a Guest WiFi requirement that retail customers can benefit from. Taking these attributes into account, a typical retail store design gets broken up into:

  • Multiple internal networks for employee access (for example Sales, Engineering, Finance)
  • Point-of-Sale (POS) network
  • Network devices ““ PoE Cameras, PoE/PoE+ driven Access Points, Storage Servers & Printers
  • Wireless Networks ““ Corporate internal wireless, Guest wireless

The retail network design needs to be secure, fault tolerant and interconnected. Security is typically offered by next-generation firewalls, switches provide the interconnectivity and wireless is offered through multiple access points depending on the store location size. With a scattered management design, an IT administrator is faced with the challenge of managing the network through multiple management consoles. There is the added operating cost of licensing for the various management consoles. A certain madness starts to prevail with the varied management solution as we consider troubleshooting issues in such a network.

With the newly launched SonicOS 6.2.5, SonicWall Security launched a special feature, X-Series integration, that allows for a simplified management of secure converged infrastructure across a distributed retail network by integrating SonicWall X-Series switches into a single consolidated management view that already controls SonicWall firewalls, SonicWall SonicPoints (wireless access points), and SonicWall WAN acceleration devices. Using SonicWall Global Management System (GMS), SonicWall now offers a compelling single-vendor, consolidated secure management solution for distributed retail networks. If you are an existing customer and partner looking for the latest release notes, they are posted here: https://support.software.dell.com/sonicwall-tz-series/release-notes-guides

To learn more about the design of a scalable secure retail network, download our Tech brief: Scalable, consolidated security for retail networks.

Three Core Network Security Tips From a K-12 IT Expert

Every moment of every day, anyone or any organization, government or institution – including K-12 – can fall victim to the latest threats and cyber-attacks. If you’re accountable for the network security of an entire school district, you know your success rests largely on everyone understanding and staying current with today’s complex and dynamic risk environment and how to avoid it.

K-12 IT expert Larry Padgett bears this out: “The most important thing is to get everybody to agree that technology security is everyone’s game, everybody on campus, and every division, department and schools must be fully engaged. Otherwise, it is going to be very difficult to be successful.”

Larry is the Director of IT Infrastructure, System Support, Security, and Governance for the School District of Palm Beach County (SDPBC). A career technology leader for more than 29 years, Larry oversees an IT infrastructure that is considered larger than the Coca-Cola® Company in terms of the number of ports and how his networks are laid out. SDPBC is one of the largest school district in the United States, with 187 schools and 225,000 thousands user accounts under management, including students, faculty, and general staff.

I had the privilege of meeting Larry at the 2015 SonicWall World Conference in Austin, Texas, where I had the opportunity to ask him specifically about the things that he is doing differently that allowed SDPBC to be successful.

Larry explained how security vendors typically talk about security as a layered approach but it can’t end there. He then described SDPBC’s winning approach to security rests on three core pillars: people, process and technology.

You must identify those who are, and who aren’t, fully engaged in exercising cyber hygiene within your district. You are responsible for every PC, servers and applications on your network. You’ll need to know if you are getting support from the board and leadership level down to everyone in the district.

People

  • How do you know if they are knowledgeable about security?
  • Can they identify the risks?
  • Do they all understand the risks?
  • What trial and test do you have in place to measure how knowledgeable they are about security?

If they’re not all engaged, you’re simply not going to be as successful as you could be. If they’re not as knowledgeable as they need to be, you would want to start discussing security as an everyday topic in your staff meetings, in the classrooms and, more importantly, in your executive and board room discussions. If security isn’t one of the top topics on the board agenda, you have much important work to do to get their buy-in, because nowadays, security is a key risk metric. Your ultimate goal is to get everybody to agree that security is everyone’s game so they become proactively involved in helping your institution be successful.

Process

When there are people involved, you also need to have processes in place that would allow you to make sure that you are doing the right things, that they are doing them well and that what they do is actually effective for the state of business you’re currently operating in.

  • What processes are you using?
  • Have you written them down?
  • How do you know if they are being followed?
  • How are they monitored and measured?

These are questions that enable you to think through all of the risks that you’re going to mitigate, and follow-through with implementing robust security policies and practices that can help put you in a better position for success.

Technology

Begin embracing a layered security approach as part of your defense-in-depth framework, because it provides you an effective and proactive way to help fend off today’s advanced threats. At a minimum, the top five security services that you must have as part of your layered security defense are:

  1. A capable intrusion prevention system with threat detection services that can provide complete anti-evasion and inbound anti-spam, anti-phishing and anti-virus protection
  2. SSL inspection to detect and prevent today’s advance evasive tactics and compromised web sites from sneaking malware into your network though the use of encryption
  3. Around-the-clock threat counter-intelligence for your next-generation firewalls and intrusion prevention systems, so you can receive the latest countermeasures to combat new vulnerabilities as they are discovered
  4. Email filtering and encryption to secure both inbound and outbound communications
  5. Security for endpoints, since most network infections begin with a compromised user device

Avoid Making a Costly Network Security Shortlist Decision

Living the life of a chief security officer (CSO), chief information security officer (CISO) or any title with the word “security” in it nowadays is surely a heart-wrenching experience each day. Far too often, yet another data breach in the news reminds you of the obvious notion that it’s not a matter of if but when you’ll be called upon to manage and contain a security incident in your organization. Regardless of its depth and severity, this has to be very disturbing and there seems to be no end. As a result, you find yourself regularly worrying if you’ve done a thorough job at vetting your cyber-defense system, and determining if it is really doing its job to prevent avoidable attacks on your networks. You understand the stakes. If any part of your security strategy is not functioning at its optimal level, you know your organization is susceptible to countless security risks. The bottom line is you don’t ever want to stand in front of the executives explaining why the company is breached, and dealing with the after-math as a result of a failure in one or more of your security layers. There is a way, however, to help you avoid such a disaster.

Limited resources and shortage of security staff can constrain your ability to carry out a rigorous vendor vetting process. The fundamental question then is what alternatives are there to help you efficiently select potential technologies that can put you in a position of strength and success against evolving threats. As a security leader, you’ve been down this road many times. You‘re aware that choosing the right technology partner with capable solutions to support your security strategy for the long-term is one of the most nerve-wracking but crucial task you must undertake. The range of capabilities and factors impacting your choice are overwhelming. You understand very well that making a poor choice could end up costing your organization millions in breach remediation expenses, immeasurable brand damage, loss of public confidence and possibly even your career. To help avoid such a costly decision when shortlisting possible vendors and their solutions for proof of concept (PoC) consideration or making the purchase, there are highly specialized market research companies that are well-recognized by the security industry for their reputable and impartial validation of network security quality and effectiveness that you can confidently use when making your selections.

The difficulty here is that there are many market research companies available. Most have specialization in a variety of technologies including network security. And to make things a little more complicated, each has it its own definition, criteria and approach to how vendors are evaluated and graded for their security effectiveness, performance and cost of ownership. The results often vary among them especially those that are vendor-sponsored research. Subsidized research and testing are always skewed to make one vendor’s product more favorable than its rival. And as such, these kind of reports lack objectivity, are seldom reliable from a technical perspective, and should not be viewed as serious research. So who should I depend on? Who do I need to stay clear of? Should I trust its finding completely? Where do I start? These are some good questions to help set clear direction and decision points. From our point of view, a good place to start is to give greater attention to independent research companies that are self-funded, has zero connection to any one vendor and focus exclusively on cyber-security. More importantly, you would also want the research to be fully verified by extensive public testing using different permutation of actual real-world use cases that best match your unique security environment requirements.

One particular company has differentiated itself in the IT security category over the past few years: NSS Labs. It is now broadly recognized as the world’s trusted authority in providing unbiased, independent, security product test reports and security intelligence services. NSS Labs reporting can help you shortlist vendors and their products based on empirical laboratory test results as opposed to fuzzy marketing, product surveys, opinion based analysis and/or peer-to-peer recommendation. The NSS Labs Test report is the ultimate validation of network security performance, resiliency and efficacy under various network traffic mixes and loads that mimic real-world use cases.  Download a free copy of the NSS Labs Test Report to gain knowledge of key performance indicators essential to the success of your cyber-defense strategy.

Are Campus Defenses Keeping Up with Attacks from the Cyber Netherworld?

I took a computer science minor when I was in college. Back then, the school computers were in a heavily secured section of one building, and we accessed them from teletype terminals and punch card readers (no, we did not use charcoal on slates by the fireplace in the log cabin!). There was no reason to worry about the security of our computer work, other than needing to stay on the good side of the staff of the computer center so that they wouldn’t reshuffle our punch cards or “misplace” our printouts.

Fast forward more than a few years, when I was doing graduate work at a public university. I took 30 credits online, using recordings of on-campus classes, regular chat sessions with my instructors and fellow students, and accessing research information, including public and professionals-only data sources, through the school’s online library system and its global connections. I didn’t pay too much attention to the security of my online activities; internet connectivity made them possible, but there weren’t nearly the number of bad actors out on the net that there are today.

Today my son is in college, and it’s natural for him to select a mix of online and in-person classes, even though his school is a short drive away. He relies on his school’s IT infrastructure for classwork, exams, registration, and research, and can access these functions as well as find out anything about what is available on the internet–from his laptop or smartphone. And every one of those transactions takes place in a space that is just seething with cyber muggers, burglars, and every variety of malicious actor you can imagine.

Information is the stock in trade of colleges and universities. Information enables students to pursue their degrees, faculty to teach and research, and staff to keep these institutions running. Much of the information has real value in the cyber netherworld, whether it’s personally identifiable information of students, proprietary research conducted with other schools and industry partners, or financial transactions.

Keeping this information secure is a challenge. In a recent Center for Digital Education survey of higher education IT professionals, 72 percent listed data breaches among their greatest current network security concerns. Their top security concerns for the year ahead? Spam, phishing, and malware. What’s standing in the way of better network security? More than four out of five pointed to budget constraints.

Keeping campus networks secure in the face of ever-increasing growth of data, devices used to access that data, and cyber threats requires more effective and more cost-effective security. To learn more about what’s keeping campus IT leaders up at night, and what they’re doing about it, view our on-demand webcast, Network Security in Education: The changing landscape of campus data security.

Network Security Designs for Your Retail Business

The 2015 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) estimate of $400 million financial loss from security breaches show the importance of managing the breaches and ensuring appropriate security infrastructure is put in place. Retail industry saw high-profile retail breaches this year through RAM scraping malware aimed at point-of-sale (POS) systems. The security breaches affect both large and small organizations. According to Verizon 2015 DBIR, attackers gained access to POS devices of small organizations through brute-force while larger breaches were a multi-step attack with some secondary system being breached before attacking the POS system. This article highlights the key design considerations to build and deploy a secure, scalable and robust retail network.

Secure Network Design Considerations

Organizations need to ensure that their networks are resilient, secure and robust. Security solution put in place must not be a knee-jerk reaction to an attack but rather a comprehensive protection solution. A typical retail location requirement includes support for POS systems, Guest Wi-Fi access, Employee access to restricted resources, third party vendor access to limited resources and reliable Internet connection with no downtime. Given these requirements, following strategies are recommended in the retail network design –

1. Network Segmentation – It is important to segment the retail network into multiple networks. This ensures that an attack on a particular device in a network does not infest the entire network. A simple, flat network design is an easy access for an infested POS terminal to bring the entire network down. Create separate networks for – POS terminals, Guest Wi-Fi devices, Employee access to restricted information and 3rd party vendor access (limited & appropriate access).

2. Access Control – Install strict access controls on all network segments to ensure how devices communicate within and across network segment(s).

3. VPN Tunnels – Create site-to-site VPN tunnels between retail location and centralized data center location to ensure all traffic originating from a POS system is always encrypted. Typically customer sensitive credit card information is encrypted when validating over internet. However, simple management data such as login credentials may not be encrypted and could pose an entry point for a security breach.

4. Security – SonicWall 2015 Annual Threat Report findings show 109% increase in the encrypted connection traffic from last year. This potentially means that attackers could be using encryption as a way to hide their malware from firewalls. It is imperative to use a Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) that performs deep packet inspection on all traffic including encrypted ones. Deep packet inspection services such as Intrusion Prevention, Malware detection and Content Filtering are strongly recommended to reduce the risk of intrusions and malware attacks. Additionally, enable endpoint anti-virus on all POS terminals for increased security.

5. Reliability – Retail networks need to be secure, and fault tolerant with zero-downtime. For fault tolerance at smaller retail location, it is recommended to use 3G/4G backup failovers with a multi-ISP provider strategy. For heavier traffic retail location, NGFWs deployed in High-Availability mode provides for un-interrupted connectivity.

6. Guest Wi-Fi – Retail locations are increasingly using guest Wi-Fi access as a means to increase their business and stickiness with customers. For guest Wi-Fi, create a locked-down Internet-only network access for visitors or untrusted network nodes. Choose a solution that provides guest services with the latest wireless technology such as 802.11ac for increased bandwidth.

The SonicWall Next Generation Firewall based security solution provides an integrated approach to addressing all the requirements of a typical retail network. For more information on best practices for securing your retail network, download this white paper.

Increase Your Network Security and Control Through Segmentation

When you think about securing down a network using a next-generation firewall, in most cases the process immediately goes from the Internet to the local area network (LAN). This may be a good way of thinking if you only have hard wired desktop clients. However what if the network includes servers that need inbound access from the Internet or a wireless network? What steps can you take to protect a network that’s a little more sophisticated?

Let’s look at an example of a small network where the user has a few desktop clients connected to the physical LAN, wireless clients and a storage server. For this specific use case the network segmentation is set up in the following way. The LAN network has all of the desktop clients, a wireless LAN (WLAN) network for the wireless clients and a de-militarized zone (DMZ) where the storage server is connected.

From the LAN, clients are allowed to get to the Internet, but access to the other network segments is blocked. This includes the default policy to block all incoming access from the WAN or Internet.

For the wireless users, they can get to the internet but are blocked from accessing any of the other network segments. In order for the wireless users to access other network segments they must authenticate to the firewall. Once authenticated, each wireless user can gain access to the other network segments as needed. This was done to increase security from the WLAN and prevent unauthorized access to the other network segments.

Finally, on the storage server segment, the default policy is to block access to all other network segments. This is done to ensure that if the storage server was to become compromised by a vulnerability to its software it would not allow a hacker gain access or malware to spread to other network segments on the LAN or WLAN. For WAN access, all traffic is blocked, although a specific set of ports is allowed to provide the ability to automatically update the software on the storage server.

Now you may look at this and be thinking this is overkill for such a small network. However being in the security industry for the past 15 years and educating partners and customers on proper network designed I figured it would only benefit my own network security by implementing a security design that limits access between network segments.

While I’m not saying that all networks need to have this level of complexity, it is a good idea to think about network segmentation and not put all connected devices on a single segment just because it’s easy. The network segmentation will help to control traffic not only north and south, but also provide controls for traffic going east and west between network segments.

SonicWall NSA Next-Gen Firewall Series

With the SonicWall firewalls it’s possible to create a wide variety of segments using either physical or logical interfaces or the internal wireless radio if available. Once an interface is defined, you can then apply a zone classification such as LAN, DMZ, WLAN or custom, and from there apply policies to control access between the various segments and limit unauthorized access. For increased security you can also apply authentication requirements as well. To learn more about how SonicWall next-generation firewalls can help secure your network read the “Achieve Deeper Network Security and Control” white paper.

How to Transform Your Network Security Infrastructure To Be Future-Ready

As an IT leader, you understand how new disruptive technologies can improve your company’s competitive positioning and drive overall business value. Technology trends such as cloud, mobility, social and big data compel companies to move quickly to define and implement next-generation data center architectures and security defense strategies to take advantage of these new technologies. While these trends have proven to boost commerce and operational efficiencies for many businesses who are early adopters, they also introduce security loopholes that give cyber-criminals an easy path to inject malware into the network, evade detection, and steal data.

For example, when new software and network designs are implemented to enable BYOD initiatives, companies quickly find themselves at higher risk due to the increasing number of vulnerable web applications and unsafe systems and endpoint devices that are added to their network. They’re now forced to grapple with a significantly higher volume of connected devices accessing their networks which have the potential to slow performance as well as productivity. Not only can users consume an enormous amount of bandwidth with multiple connections per device and time-wasting, productivity-draining applications such as social media and video streaming, they also collectively create a much larger attack surface for cyber-criminals to exploit. To fully benefit from BYOD and other business enabling technologies, next-generation data centers must be agile, scalable, manageable, flexible, and most importantly, secure against the ever-changing global threat environment including network attacks that use encryption to bypass security controls. After all, a security system cannot stop what it cannot decipher.

To meet these challenges, the network security layer must be highly extensible to support the largest of data centers’ bandwidth consumption with absolutely near zero downtime. Such requirements have justified necessary networking security architectures that can be incrementally deployable and horizontally scalable. In other words, there might not be a single SonicWall Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) with the scale to meet the performance requirements of some compute- and bandwidth-intensive networks such as large institutions, government agencies, and global enterprises. A more practical way to scale the performance beyond capabilities of a single SonicWall NGFW device is to combine multiple SonicWall NGFW devices into a network cluster for full redundancy, failover and failback to ensure there is no single point of failure in the design. In this infinite scale-out model, adding additional security compute resources should ideally be a matter of easily adding more firewalls to the system in a very cost-effective way.

If you are currently tasked with implementing big-bet initiatives to improve growth and competitiveness and feel that security is your biggest barrier for implementing these programs, SonicWall invites you to download this exclusive “A Massively Scalable Approach to Network Security” white paper to help you implement your future-proofed, network-based scale-out security layer architecture. This is a highly resilient design that offers transparent security services to augment existing security solutions, separate security functions and provide added capacity via N+1 redundancy to solve your most complex and demanding data center requirements. The solution provides the following benefits:

  1. Scalable performance to support 10, 40 and/or 100+ Gbps data centers
  2. Assured availability of internet services and connectivity without compromising security
  3. Deep security through SSL inspection and prevention of intrusions, malware, botnets, etc.
  4. Visualization of all applications, users, groups traversing the firewalls
  5. Cost savings up to 82%* lower than Cisco and 65% lower than Palo Alto Networks and 57% lower than Fortinet

Are You Compromising Your Business Security

As advances in networking continue to provide tremendous benefits, businesses are increasingly challenged by sophisticated attacks designed to disrupt communication, degrade performance and compromise data. Striking the perfect balance between network security and performance is no easy task. Meeting these demands can be especially daunting for small businesses, which usually cannot afford the same degree of protections as their larger counterparts.

The good news is that, with technology, higher performance and superior security are possible. By minimizing the attack surface that a business presents to the world, security can emerge as a differentiator rather than an inhibitor.

The first line of defense for any business “” large or small “” is an updated and properly configured firewall. In fact, if your business is still using a traditional firewall to protect against malicious threats, you may not even realize that you are woefully unprotected. Though firewalls are an essential part of network security, many (especially traditional firewalls) offer limited protection. They can monitor and block traffic based on source and destination information. But they can’t look inside packets to detect malware, identify hacker activity or help you manage what end users are doing on the internet. Even if you have purchased a firewall just a few years ago, it might not be able to inspect encrypted traffic, leaving you exposed to encrypted malware.

Securing the small business

Just because your business is small doesn’t mean you are at any less risk for a security breach than a larger business. The reality is that cyber-criminals use automated scanning programs that don’t care whether your company is big or small; they are only looking for holes in your network security to exploit.

With tight budgets and fewer resources, small businesses need to make sure their firewalls are delivering maximum protection without sacrificing productivity. To achieve this goal, IT administrators should insist on solutions that provide:

  • Blazing-fast performance: Your firewall must not become a network bottleneck. If it holds up network traffic, then users complain about poor performance and slow response times. Administrators respond by easing security restrictions. The result? The business compromises its security to maintain acceptable performance. It’s a dangerous trade-off that should never happen.
  • Exceptional security: Insist on a firewall that includes deep packet inspection (DPI) technology to decrypt and inspect Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) traffic into and out of the network. Unfortunately, traditional firewalls lack this capability, which means hackers and cybercriminals can smuggle malware right through the firewall just by concealing it in SSL traffic. Many say their firewalls do inspect SSL traffic but fail to tell you how this impacts performance.
  • Low total cost of ownership (TCO): Security solutions that operate in silos can result in gaps and complexity that can kill efficiency and squander resources. Look for an integrated firewall that can be quickly set up and fine-tuned. Easy-to-use features, such as graphical interfaces and setup wizards, can save administration time and help reduce operation and maintenance costs.

As small business’ growing use of cloud applications, the security perimeter becomes blurred between your network and the internet so there is nothing as essential as a solution that draws the line to keep out unwanted intrusions. Your network provides access to critical applications and houses sensitive company and customer data. A single network breach can shut down your operations for days, or allow a hacker to steal vital business data. If you are not currently using or evaluating a next-generation firewall, you should be there’s too much at stake.

Thanks to advances in firewall protection technology, achieving robust network security without sacrificing performance is possible and affordable. To read more tips on how to keep your small business network more efficient and secure, read the e-book, “Securing your small business.”