The cloud transforms the way we work, from providing access to critical services on the move to enabling businesses to better communicate and grow. The flexibility and cost savings associated with cloud computing can be revolutionary, however, in the face of increasing data breaches, protecting information has become a considerable challenge.
Connecting to the cloud via the internet can be a risky business, with malware, viruses, and the threat of cyber-crime creating a dangerous environment.
In order to take advantage of the benefits of the cloud, while mitigating any undue risk, it is critical to make sure you have connectivity security.
What is Connectivity Security?
Connectivity security refers to any activity designed to protect data and the integrity and usability of your network, and refers to both hardware and software measures. It ensures that when you transfer information between an enterprise environment and the cloud, the data is guarded against any kind of loss, theft, or attack.
Next Generation Firewall
A next generation firewall (NGFW) is often recognised as the first line of defence in securing sensitive information. This reputation was earned because of the flexibility of NGFWs and the fact they can be implemented using hardware, software, or a combination of the two.
At its most basic, a NGFW is a security system that prevents unauthorised access to, or from, a private network. NGFWs use a positive control model, which means that only traffic specified in the NGFW policy is allowed onto the network; all other traffic is denied.
Modern NGFWs can also protect a WAN by running anti-virus, anti-malware, and intrusion protection systems services, making them perfect as an all-around connectivity security solution.
Encryption scrambles your important data and information and renders it unreadable by those without the cipher to decode it. The most popular solution, used in most modern encryption algorithms and technologies, is 128-bit encryption, which is considered to be logically unbreakable. To give you an idea of the strength of encryption solutions, we use 256-bit AES encryption technology as standard, which has roughly as many possible combinations as there are atoms in the universe.
In the majority of cases, customers are satisfied with their P2P or VPN solutions, because the level of security delivered is high and can be viewed as 'security through isolation.’ The big advantage to this approach is that it prevents and isolates malware within the virtualisation layer, so users remain protected from attacks. The only challenge to this solution is deploying the isolation in a manner that does not interfere with end-user devices or behaviour.
At the moment, an additional layer of security can be implemented by leveraging VPNs to encrypt traffic across the internet or, in cases where security is of the utmost importance such as financial services, a VPN can be delivered over a dedicated P2P or MPLS connection for maximum security. The future of encryption lies in end-to-end Transport Layer Security (TLS) from client to server that will remove the requirement for tunnel or connection-based encryption and ensure full connectivity security.
Both NGFWs and high-bit level encryption should be provided as standard by any provider, but it pays to check that your solution meets the criteria of your specific needs.
The next blog in this series will look at how SD-WAN could revolutionise enterprise connectivity.
To find out more about how iomart can help protect your business click here or download our Connectivity ebook at the link below.