Network security basics: A Buyer's Guide

Last updated:December 2015

Editor's note

For any enterprise, getting the network security basics right is critical, and next-generation threats require a next-generation approach. The challenge for network security architects today is to ensure network security tools work with each other rather than alongside each other, and not just at the network edge, but within the network itself.

Many network security systems are difficult to implement and require a trained staff to oversee updates and maintenance. The high overhead costs associated with this oversight means many network security tools are not implemented fully in the enterprise, leaving those organizations vulnerable to emerging threats and determined hackers.

Next-generation network security tools aim to correct this by providing overlapping protection to implement a defense-in-depth strategy. Firewalls, secure Web gateways, and intrusion prevention systems thwart attacks at the network's edge, while malware sandboxes provide strategic depth, and network access control tools protect the network from within.

1The business case for network security tools

Next-generation security tools can help prevent data breaches that put the enterprise at risk from both a regulatory and customer trust perspective. A robust network security posture can also lower overhead costs and allow businesses to expand into BYOD, cloud services, IoT and other undertakings.

2Criteria to consider when buying network security products

Before making your purchasing decision, consider where your mission-critical data resides, how devices access your network, and how your network security tools will be deployed.

3Which network security products should I buy?

Network security basics call for a comprehensive examination of the wide range of network security products now available in the marketplace. But narrowing these down to the select few you will deploy in your network requires patience and a focused approach. Before you take the steps to buy, check out our comparison of the market's leading network security products.

4A glance at the top network security products

Take a look at our product overviews of the leading network security vendors. These overviews cover products from the four essential categories -- malware sandboxes, secure Web gateways, NGFWs and network access control -- discussed earlier in the guide.