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Every business feels under siege these days, and it’s not just that IT groups tend to have fewer employees and more to get done. Network security assaults are becoming both more frequent and more sophisticated.

The annual Computer Security Institute survey in 2011 showed that malware infection continued to be the most common seen attack, with 76.1 percent of respondents reporting it.

The economic downturn has even added security risks in the form of laid-off employees and desperate businesses. Meanwhile, budgets to keep an organisation safe from security losses and downtime are ever more constrained.

The Key Strategy is End-to-End Thinking

The guiding principle as you approach your security issues is to tap security capabilities built into each component of your network.

In fact, look for synergies. Your switches and firewalls and other network components should work together to defeat threats both internal and external to the network. Look for automated security responses that shut down issues quickly with a motivation to the administrator of the action taken. And consider solutions that bring security management under the unified management umbrella of your wired and wireless networks. Together, labour reducing synergies can save more than cost of equipment over the life of the network.

Finally, it’s an old saw by a try one: a chain is only as strong as the weakest links, so don’t forget about your sometimes oblivious to risk end users. Train them to think about security, but try to verify with automation that they’re doing the right thing.

The other strategic consideration is to never forget how rapidly costs add up in the event of a security failure, both in IT administration time, your organisation’s productivity, and even the loss of a vital intellectual property. The most efficient dollar you spend may be on expert networking security services, whether it’s a fill audit to prevent problems or a clean-up engagement after an intrusion.

Paying for expert help after an intrusion can get your organisation back to normal operations quickly and ensure appropriate measures are taken to prevent recurrence.