December 19, 2016

The Top 5 Challenges when Deploying In-Line Security Appliances

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The Top 5 Challenges when Deploying In-Line Security Appliances


Year in and year out, cyber attackers prove that they are increasingly capable of evading enterprise security as some of the world’s largest companies suffer data breaches.


Mainstream coverage of major cyber attacks has led enterprise executives to take a closer look at their security architectures—which is why the cybersecurity market will grow from $122 billion today to over $200 billion by 2021.


However, buying more security appliances won’t necessarily solve your security problems—you have to implement them in a way that ensures total visibility.


As you build out your stacks of in-line security appliances, here are the top 5 challenges you have to overcome to ensure active blocking remains effective against skilled attackers.


  1. Daisy-Chaining for Connectivity Isn’t Effective


You’ve realized that active in-line security appliances are the best way to protect your enterprise network, but how many do you need? Although it would be nice, there are no silver-bullet security solutions that provide full-feature coverage for your entire network.


Connecting an intrusion prevention system (IPS) between a switch and a router may not seem like a problem, but it’s only a matter of time before you need SSL decryption, then DDoS protection, and then data leakage protection (DLP).


Daisy chaining these together on one link seems like the most obvious approach, but it’s a surefire way to cause troubleshooting and maintenance headaches. Modern cybersecurity calls for a new approach to connectivity.


  1. Silos Aren’t Possible as Traffic Moves the Network’s Edge


In many aspects of business, you want to avoid silos at all costs. But in cybersecurity, silos have helped IT admins and security architects to manage the complexity of added appliances and solutions.


However, cloud applications and in-house application platforms are pushing network traffic closer to the edge and forcing greater orchestration of security solutions.


If you aren’t orchestrating appliances at the edge correctly, it won’t matter how many new security appliances or applications you deploy—they won’t be as effective as you expect.


  1. Oversubscribing SPAN Ports Leads to Packet Loss


SPAN ports and port mirroring were once effective means of capturing data on security appliances. But data capture isn’t their primary function.


As you connect more in-line appliances and increase network speeds to accommodate greater demand, you’ll inevitably reach the limit of SPAN ports for data capture.


If you continue using oversubscribed SPAN ports, you risk packet loss. And if you’re dropping packets, your appliances might be missing malicious traffic that will cause a data breach despite greater investment in cybersecurity.


  1. Choosing Between Greater Risk or More Points of Failure


For years, security professionals resisted in-line security appliances because they could leverage out-of-band solutions that didn’t create network bottlenecks or potential points of failure. When considering in-line security appliances, IT leaders had to debate between the security risks of not implementing active blocking and the business risks of increased points of failure.


This debate is only a problem if your deployment strategy doesn’t adapt alongside increased in-line security appliance implementation. When you have the right architecture and deployment strategy in place, you can manage avoid points of failure while enjoying the benefits of active blocking.


  1. Managing Greater Volumes of Security Alerts


Delayed detection with out-of-band security solutions can be a blessing and a curse. A blessing in that you don’t have to manage large volumes of real-time security alerts. But the curse of not being able to monitor your network for attacks in real time is more than enterprises can bear today.


To avoid false positives, some security professionals tweak filtering tools to reduce monitoring capabilities—this is an issue. Rather than diminishing the effectiveness of your new in-line security appliances, you need to pay attention to false positive rates when purchasing solutions and set them up for success with the right deployment model.



Deploying in-line security appliances is all about realizing that strategies of old will not mitigate today’s cyber attacks. If you’re ready to adapt to today’s security demands, contact us today for a comprehensive overview of your security architecture.

Contact us to have a discussion around your security planning and deployment strategy.

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