The disciplines of networking, security and regulatory compliance are challenges for all organizations, but especially so for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) for a variety of reasons.
A primary challenge is in implementing technology solutions, most of which are point solutions that operate in silos. This leads to “swivel chair” operations where networking and security professionals have to consult multiple separate consoles to keep tabs on how well everything is performing and whether cyber threats are bringing risk to the business. The lack of integration of the siloed solutions can leave gaps in coverage and cause extra work for those in charge of the network.
In smaller companies, these IT professionals often must be jacks of all trades (and perhaps masters of none) due to staffing limitations. Sometimes people must perform multiple roles, such as network operations and security analyst, which stretches their own personal bandwidth to the limit.
What’s more, cyber threats are no less intimidating and potentially damaging for small companies as for large enterprises. Small companies such as doctor’s offices, franchised quick service restaurants (QSRs), small retail shops, law firms, etc., all handle the same kinds of sensitive information as their larger counterparts. PCI data, PII data, PHI data—all are protected classes of data that require strict governance.
All-in-one networking and security solution
The networking and security company Netsurion sees these needs in the SMB market segment and tailors its solutions to provide integrated connectivity, threat management and compliance management solutions delivered from the cloud as managed services.
Netsurion starts with a simplified networking experience to optimize the edge. Netsurion Connect can be deployed with an SD-WAN architecture using Netsurion’s proprietary edge device, CXD, or as an on-premise next-generation firewall. Either implementation is an edge device that connects to the cloud where Netsurion delivers a Secure Services Gateway that provides dynamic multi-point VPN capabilities. The connectivity leverages the internet rather than MPLS, which lowers carrier costs for customers.
Netsurion claims to do several things to provide quality of service that is equivalent to MPLS even though their connectivity is based on broadband. One of the first measures is bandwidth reservation, allowing for the highest priority traffic to have preferred use of the available bandwidth.
They also do intelligent path tracking to focus on the most important traffic, sending low-priority traffic out to the internet at the edge. For example, many QSRs offer free in-store Wi-Fi, which can be best-effort quality of service and doesn’t have to be secured. The restaurant can put the guest Wi-Fi traffic on its own segment to keep it away from important application traffic.
Security a key component
Security is an integral component to the networking solution. With the edge device that connects to the cloud, Netsurion delivers a secure internet gateway that includes category-based URL/web content filtering, IPS and application control. Netsurion’s threat detection service includes endpoint threat detection and response, as well as a SIEM offering from EventTracker, which Netsurion acquired. Use of the SIEM is optional, but it includes 24x7 monitoring by Netsurion’s SOC. The SIEM collects data from the endpoint sensors and network logs, and Netsurion supplements that information with its own and other threat feeds such as STIX. The SIEM correlates all the data and looks for threats.
Netsurion says it provides advice to its customers on how to harden their environments to reduce vulnerabilities. The Netsurion SOC provides critical remediation advice to educate customers and tell them what happened in an incident the SOC observed and how they should approach fixing it. This advice is provided in a report and in consultations with a security analyst.
A third aspect of the overall networking and security solution is compliance monitoring. This element, too, is optional, but it is tightly integrated for those companies that choose to use the service. The compliance component helps companies satisfy NIST and other frameworks. Netsurion helps with compliance readiness for regulations such as PCI, HIPAA, FISMA, GLBA, and a host of others. For example, for PCI compliance, Netsurion provides guidance on the SAQ questionnaire to help customers understand their PCI DSS requirements. The guidance is delivered via a portal with self-help, with support reps available via phone, chat, and email if needed.
Netsurion also does internal and external vulnerability scanning. Logs provided by the SIEM as well as sensors in the customer network provide data that goes into assessing compliance readiness.
Easy to use and to scale up
It’s relatively simple to get started with the solution and scale up as needed. Netsurion’s SD-WAN for branch locations features a pre-configured plug-and-play edge device shipped with a quick-start guide. Once plugged in, the device calls home over the built-in LTE service and connects to the orchestrator. Then the customer can manage all locations or enlist Netsurion to help.
Netsurion’s SIEM-based threat protection likewise can be deployed quickly. When a company orders Netsurion’s advanced threat protection solution, the customer states how many units (i.e. endpoints) it wants to cover. Netsurion prepares the SIEM sensors, which can then be deployed to provide 24/7 monitoring and alerting.
Customers who implement the full Netsurion networking, security and compliance solution are often able to decommission other existing technology solutions. This could include routers, switches, firewalls, and an appliance-based SIEM. Premise-based security solutions can potentially be retired in favor of security delivered via the cloud and local sensors. This reduces the need for point solutions and simplifies network and security operations.
Netsurion claims to reduce single points of failure for networking by having LTE built into their edge device. Connectivity is normally done over broadband, but if that should fail, operations can continue over the LTE connection until the internet connection is restored.
For SMBs, Netsurion's solution places an emphasis on delivering both networking and security capabilities from the cloud so that companies can focus on their business and not on their IT operations.
Thanks to Linda Musthaler (see source)