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Mobile network security remains an enterprise challenge

Workers demand access to their company's network anytime, anywhere -- making mobile network security a constant challenge for IT. Admins can turn to SDN and NFV technology.

Network security is a huge challenge for organizations that have yet to determine how to efficiently manage mobile and cloud technologies.

Users won't relent until they have access to business applications and content available on their own devices from any location. That requires IT to put preventive measures in place for corporate content that users access from any network. All organizations have vulnerabilities of one form or another, making mobile network security an economic imperative.

Attacks take many forms and can be difficult to detect. Sophisticated malware thwarts detection by using zero-day exploits and stealthy survival mechanisms. As a result, modern web, firewall and advanced threat protection (ATP) tools are compelling options for mobile network security. These technologies redefine on-demand network functionality while enabling security controls that don't degrade network performance. At the same time, IT still needs to use traditional network security methods -- such as URL filtering, antivirus and antimalware detection and web application controls -- to fortify the perimeter.

Granular app-level security policies aren't new, but next-generation firewall and ATP can add contextual elements. For instance, admins can take advantage of user and device location data to enforce fine-grained security policies through enterprise mobility management. This integration can also help IT enhance Wi-Fi security by allowing admins to set policies around users' connectivity to the company wireless network.

All organizations have vulnerabilities of one form or another, making security an economic imperative.

Another big advancement in networking that mobile admins should take advantage of is software-defined networking (SDN), which essentially decouples traditional networking hardware and software. Software-defined networks measure throughput in real time, bringing on-demand bandwidth to support the expanding data usage patterns of the cloud and mobile age. Network function virtualization (NFV) technology can complement SDN by boosting operational speeds, enabling fast provisioning and improving the scalability of virtual firewalls, load balancers and intrusion detection systems.

The value of the worldwide SDN market will be $12.5 billion by 2020.

Source: "SDN Market to Gain Enterprise Headway, Driven by Third Platform and Cloud," IDC

SDN and NFV technologies can help automate security and policy enforcement through responsive protection across the entire attack continuum. Organizations should evaluate these technologies as part of any modernization initiative. These technologies are new, however, and vendors are still developing the global multi-tenant infrastructures needed to effectively deliver them with the quality of services and scalability businesses will require.

This article originally appeared in the October issue of the Modern Mobility e-zine.

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