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Four Questions to Ask When Evaluating Network Security Solutions

The growth in IP networks and proliferation of new applications, devices, and web technologies in the workplace creates more potential vulnerabilities for IT networks. As we trend toward additional applications running in the cloud, even more network traffic will pass beyond the trusted LAN and outside your firewall solution. Assault vectors shift, and new threats spring up hourly from spyware, spam, viruses, Trojans, web exploits, and blended threats.

Organizations that are serious about network security solutions – protecting data, intellectual property (IP), and their reputation – are increasingly demanding best-in-class, multilayered solutions. These solutions centralize security controls in a single device, improving the IT organization’s control and simplifying management of network security.

With network growth showing no signs of abating, organizations need a network security device that has the capacity to drive security and inspection activities quickly and reliably. Many multilayer network security solutions share similar feature lists, but not all of them can be considered best-in-class.

The following are four key questions an organization should ask as it evaluates any multilayer network security solution:

  1. How robust is each layer? Ask questions about the size of the database, the richness of features, accuracy and detection rates, and speed of scanning. When we developed the WatchGuard XTM, we incorporated the top-performing specialized security services from proven industry leaders. These components dynamically detect, block, and report on malicious traffic while efficiently allowing benign traffic to pass through. In addition, the proxies in our WatchGuard XTM appliances protect organizations from new, previously unrecognized, zero-day threats.
  2. How much experience and independent recognition does the company have? Generally, the longer a security company has been in business and the more accolades it has received, the more robust and highly developed the security service. We worked with a collection of industry-best providers that are prime movers in their respective fields of specialty; continually receive multiple industry accolades and awards; and have been proven to be best-in-class through tests that WatchGuard and independent, third-party testers have conducted.
  3. How flexible is the solution? Does the network security solution require hardware replacement to add new security functionality? Some solutions require customers to periodically upgrade hardware or insert special cards to gain new capabilities. In contrast, if we release a new security service, customers can add it with just a license key upgrade and gain a whole new layer of security without having to replace the hardware. Time is something you don’t necessarily have when faced with network security threats.
  4. How easy is the solution to manage? Ask for a demonstration of the network security user interface. A few competitors use partners for one or more security services, but do not extend the UI to the network security services. The result is one interface for managing the appliance and a different interface for security services.

Today’s briskly evolving multi-faceted threat landscape means having a simple packet-filtering firewall isn’t enough. Organizations are increasingly demanding a multilayered approach to network security services—one in which various security layers and services work cooperatively to dynamically detect, block, and report on malicious traffic while passing benign traffic through as efficiently as possible.

Network security threats aren’t going to go away; in fact they’re only going to get more numerous and complicated, so be sure to ask the right questions before selecting a security solution.


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