Navigating the cyber battleground: The vital role of network security policy management

Author: Vikhram, Content Writer, ManageEngine

The landscape of cyberthreats is continuously evolving, and to keep pace organisations employ robust network security strategies. This involves creating, executing, and maintaining a set of guidelines, or network security policies, on how the organisation’s network should be protected from external threats. This process is termed network security policy management (NSPM) and it’s instrumental in maintaining the integrity of the network. In this blog, we’ll look at the current trends, challenges, and losses from not having a proper NSPM solution.

Current trends in NSPM solutions

  1. Increasing investment: Companies understand the importance of NSPM and started allocating substantial resources to increase their cybersecurity measures.  Global spending for cybersecurity investments are expected grow as high as 219 billion USD in 2023 and forecast to grow to 538.3 billion USD by 2030. A significant portion of that growth is expected to be investment on NSPM solutions.
  2. Automation and orchestration: Automation is revolutionising the industry by reducing the workload of security admins by automating routine tasks. This includes performing swift responses to security incidents, dramatically cutting down MTTR and human error. Survey findings from 2021, report around 35.9% companies have adopted a high level of automation.
  3. Zero Trust architecture (ZTA): This model revolves around trusting no one and employs continuous verification and validation of users and devices. This process is rapidly adopted in organsations that deal with assets falling outside the enterprise boundary. The global market for Zero Trust architecture is predicted to grow to almost 60 billion USD by 2027.
  4. Cloud-native security: The rapid adoption of cloud services have forced NSPM solutions to accommodate cloud-native security policies, in addition to traditional on-premise infrastructures. According to a study in 2023, it is estimated that at least 94% of companies use at least one cloud service.

The cost of inadequate NSPM

The consequences of not having a proper NSPM solution in place can be devastating:

Navigating the cyber battleground: The vital role of network security policy management 1

Common NSPM challenges

  1. Scalability and complexity: Managing large organisations with diverse network environments, such as hybrid cloud and distributed infrastructure, is a complicated process. The hurdles in monitoring all of the components of a network multiplies as organisations grow and scale.
  2. Poor visibility: Insufficient visibility into network traffic, bandwidth consumption, and traffic policies makes it difficult to identify infiltration attempts, vulnerabilities, and potential threats in a timely manner.
  3. Neglected policies: Network policies become bloated and accumulate redundant or outdated rules. These can create security gaps that can be exploited by skilled hackers.
  4. Compliance pitfalls: It can be a daunting task to make sure that the network security policy is in-line with regulatory mandates. Failing to meet compliance standards can result in hefty fines and legal repercussions.

Overcoming challenges with NSPM solutions

Organisations can leverage NSPM solutions like Firewall Analyzer to address these challenges. Here are some of the common NSPM challenges and how Firewall Analyzer helps overcome them:

  1. Centralised control: NSPM tools provide a centralised platform to gain a holistic overview of the security of their network and aids in manage policies, traffic, and more.
  2. Gain in-depth visibility: NSPM solutions offer enhanced visibility by offering drill-down information on security, traffic, and firewall events. This enables security admins to make informed decisions and proactively thwart any attack attempts.
  3. Analyse and optimise policies: NSPM solutions conduct thorough policy analysis to pin-point redundant, anomalous, outdated, and vulnerable policies. This will help security admins plug security gaps by quickly amending or removing problematic rules from firewalls.
  4. Facilitate compliance: NSPM tools offer predefined compliance reports. These greatly expedite routine regulatory mandate compliance.

Learn more about Firewall Analyzer and how it can bolster your NSPM today.

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