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Benefits of Policy Enforcer

Most enterprise computer security revolves around creating a wall around the perimeter of an organization. See Figure 75.

Figure 75: Perimeter-Defined Security Model

Perimeter-Defined Security Model

With this perimeter oriented security, networks are built with an inherently trusted model where the applications or users connecting to a network (for example, VLAN) can fundamentally talk to each other and network security solutions like firewalls and Intrusion Prevention Systems (IPS) are deployed in the perimeter to provide security. Firewalls are often configured with all possible rules in an effort to prevent unknown malware, application and network attacks from penetrating the enterprise. This architecture is based on a model where it is assumed that “Everything already inside the network is fundamentally trusted” and “Everything outside the network is untrusted” so the perimeter is the location where all security controls are deployed.

This architecture is consistent across data centers, and campus and branch configurations. Unfortunately, there are flaws to this security architecture. They don’t help in protecting against internal threats. Despite the popularity of firewalls, the sophistication of applications and malware in recent years has found a way to circumvent perimeter defenses. Once inside the enterprise, these threats can easily spread; where someone’s infected laptop or desktop could make Enterprise networks a botnet army and become a source of internal and external attacks. Enterprises can protect against internal threats by deploying multiple layers of firewalls, but that requires careful planning since it is difficult to take all internal traffic through a separate layer of firewalls.

The security framework become a highly fragmented approach due to multiple administrators, management systems and reliance on a lot of manual coordination among different administrators and systems:

In contrast, Policy Enforcer and Software-Defined Secure Networks (SDSN), see Figure 76, simplifies network security by providing protection based on logical policies and not security devices. Policy Enforcer does provide perimeter security, but it’s no longer just protecting the inside from the outside. The fact that somebody is connected to the internal network does not mean that they can get unrestricted access to the network. This model is fundamentally more secure because even if one application on the network is compromised, companies can limit the spread of that infection/threat to other potentially more critical assets inside the network.

Figure 76: Policy Enforcer and Software-Defined Security Model

Policy Enforcer and Software-Defined
Security Model

Policy Enforcer is a model where the information security is controlled and managed by security software. New devices are automatically covered by security policies, instead of having to identify it’s IP address as with other models. Because it’s software-defined, environments can be moved without affecting security policies and controls already in place. Other advantages include:

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