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How AlgoSec delivers on the four principles of effective network security policy management

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Why AlgoSec’s Security Management Solution is the right NSPM solution for your organization

Enterprise IT must deliver more, faster. As cyberattacks increase in volume and sophistication, IT groups are finding themselves ill-equipped to secure their networks and maintain compliance while supporting business productivity. In this era of digital transformation, managing security across complex enterprise networks presents huge challenges. Automation will ease the pressure.

Yet harnessing the power of security automation – that is, via a network security policy management (NSPM) solution – requires a series of strategic decisions. Which solution is best for your needs, and what features are essential?

Intelligent automation: more than just defining policies

First, let’s consider what functionality your NSPM should incorporate. Security policy management is so much more than just looking at a device and adding some rules. It’s about enhancing and automating time-consuming security processes, so that personnel can focus on more strategic tasks. For example, AlgoSec FireFlow helps organizations process security policy changes in minutes or hours, not days or weeks. Using intelligent, highly customizable workflows, it automates the entire security policy change process – from design and submission to proactive risk analysis, implementation, validation and auditing.

Security policy management is so much more than just looking at a device and adding some rules. It’s about enhancing and automating time-consuming security processes, so that personnel can focus on more strategic tasks. For example, AlgoSec FireFlow helps organizations process security policy changes in minutes or hours, not days or weeks. Using intelligent, highly customizable workflows, it automates the entire security policy change process – from design and submission to proactive risk analysis, implementation, validation and auditing.

The right NSPM solution should incorporate a traffic workflow that is focused on traffic fulfilment (and therefore business enablement), rather than rule creation. Imagine a dashboard presenting the components of traffic that need to be enabled on your network. Your NSPM solution must be intelligent enough to identify from that traffic where changes need to be made to the network. There should be no need to manually tell that solution where changes need to be introduced. And where no changes are required to enable a traffic flow, the NSPM solution needs to be intelligent enough to identify this and automatically close the request. This avoids duplication and policy bloat from the beginning.

Intelligent automation of security policy must also proactively assess for risk. AlgoSec’s solution proactively assesses the impact of every proposed change to the security policy to minimize risk, prevent outages and ensure compliance. Our solution relies on the broadest risk knowledgebase in the industry and, through its integration with the leading vulnerability scanners, maps vulnerabilities to their associated business applications to assess and prioritize risk to your business.

Finally, it’s critical that post-implementation peer review – which we at AlgoSec call smart validation – be completely automated too, rather than via a secondary human review, which many organizations rely on. This further reduces the manual intervention required for policy management and ensures that the network analyst responsible for the change request can be confident that the request was implemented accurately. This prevents premature closing of tickets and avoiding defective policies being sent to the business, and it drives organizations towards a truly zero-touch approach to network security.

An application-centric approach: setting the stage for the future

The NSPM solution’s automation can also help organizations take an application-centric approach to security management, rather than a narrow network-based view. This ensures that the right security management activities are performed in the right order, through an automated, repeatable process, and dramatically improves business agility, without sacrificing security and compliance.

The right NSPM solution needs to be able to take all your business applications, arrange them in a table and identify which rules are required to make them work – dynamically and in real-time. AlgoSec drives digital transformation by accelerating application delivery while enhancing and extending security across the hybrid cloud: on-premise networks, SDN, and private and public clouds.

Using the best of existing processes: combine with new automation techniques

Another area to bear in mind when choosing an NPSM solution is how it integrates with existing network change processes, which involve manual steps and decision-making. Injecting these practices into a modern NSPM solution can often slow deployment. Instead, organizations should take the opportunity for a fresh look and an optimization of their processes, with automation ‘baked in’ from the outset.

For example, one common manual step at the beginning of the network change workflow is a triaging of different requests, so that more urgent or risky ones are dealt with first. This should be handled automatically by the risk analysis element of your solution. Ultimately, the goal should be to move towards zero-touch network change management.

Also, the information within the NSPM solution can be opened to other stakeholders with an automated chatbot, such as AlgoSec’s AlgoBot. AlgoBot is unique in enabling non-technical users the information they need about network security and connectivity. Staff can chat with AlgoBot to quickly get to the heart of problems, using the AlgoSec suite APIs to perform traffic simulation queries and connectivity checks quickly and securely, without the need to interrupt the network security team. This makes for faster decision-making and problem solving and speeds up processes.

Managing hybrid environments

While cloud and SDN technologies offer new opportunities to the business, the learning curve can be steep. An effective NSPM solution should, ultimately, offer capabilities to smooth this curve and speed up adoption and enable seamless management of these critical technologies. AlgoSec’s CloudFlow provides holistic visibility, seamless management and continuous compliance assurance of network security across hybrid, multi-cloud environments. With end-to-end network security change automation for all related elements in cloud and on-premise, AlgoSec delivers risk analysis and automated compliance reports to ensure enforcement of company and regulatory policies and provides proactive detection of misconfigurations in the cloud.

the learning curve can be steep. An effective NSPM solution should, ultimately, offer capabilities to smooth this curve and speed up adoption and enable seamless management of these critical technologies. AlgoSec’s CloudFlow provides holistic visibility, seamless management and continuous compliance assurance of network security across hybrid, multi-cloud environments. With end-to-end network security change automation for all related elements in cloud and on-premise, AlgoSec delivers risk analysis and automated compliance reports to ensure enforcement of company and regulatory policies and provides proactive detection of misconfigurations in the cloud.

Ultimately, your chosen NSPM solution needs to offer you a single pane of glass view across your entire hybrid environment – cloud, SDN and on-premise. That visibility is the foundation for a streamlined, automated and ultimately intelligent approach to network security policy management.

AlgoSec’s solution was recently named as the Best Buy in SC Magazine’s group test of network security policy management solutions. Find out more about how it could enhance your business agility, security and compliance here.

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