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Cybersecurity evolution brings shifts for network security

Bloggers explore cybersecurity evolution and its impact on network security, new network fabrics from Extreme and take a deep dive on routing protocols, such as BFD.

Jon Oltsik, an analyst with Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. in Milford, Mass., said he sees a broader cybersecurity evolution driving changes affecting enterprise network security. Network security is shifting toward a software-defined, cloud-based model, with microsegmentation systems from Illumio, vArmour and Edgewise and software-defined perimeters from Cryptzone, Google and other vendors.

Oltsik said he views next-generation firewalls as a legacy technology, and he anticipates changes in endpoint security from signature-based antivirus to enhanced endpoint security systems as another key factor in cybersecurity evolution. Suppliers such as Carbon Black, Cybereason and CrowdStrike have begun offering threat detection with  endpoint protection software tools, while Cylance bases its threat prevention system on artificial intelligence.

Oltsik said he also sees cybersecurity evolution for networking driven by increased bundling of security information and event management systems from AlienVault or IBM with other security analytics products. He indicated that user behavioral analytics products from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Securonix and Exabeam are also seeing increased adoption, alongside threat intelligence platforms from Demisto, Phantom and Resilient.

"To add to the mayhem in this space, all of these technologies will morph from standalone products to a tightly integrated security operations and analytics platform architecture over the next few years," Oltsik wrote. "Rather than default to the status quo, CISOs [chief information security officers] need to be more strategic about security technology planning in all areas," he added.

Dig deeper into Oltsik's thoughts on cybersecurity evolution.

Extreme Networks focuses on network fabrics

Lee Badman, blogging in Wirednot, said Extreme Networks Inc. might be the company that finally makes it possible for enterprises to easily exploit the value of network fabrics. Many network engineers running production environments are hesitant when it comes to "abstract promises" from network vendors. Nonetheless, "Extreme Networks may just be the company to break down the wall of hype and deliver the industry to the actual realization of the promise of network fabric architectures," Badman wrote.

According to Badman, Extreme's Automated Campus initiative shows great promise due, in part, to 802.1aq shortest path bridging, which supplants routing protocols such as Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), MPLS and Open Shortest Path First (OSPF), thereby reducing complexity. The new network fabric also includes hypersegmentation to contain security breaches, APIs to increase interoperability, and user and device policies that drive automated network changes in conjunction with analytics and changes on the edge.

Badman said he views Avaya as one of the leaders of software-defined networking fabrics, adding that Extreme has succeeded in integrating Avaya fabrics since it acquired the vendor. "I'm of the opinion that some vendors are trying to figure out how to proceed with network-wide fabric methods, while painting beta-grade efforts up with glitz and catchy slogans (though lacking depth and a track-record). This just isn't the case for Extreme," he wrote.

Explore more of Badman's thoughts on Extreme's fabric initiative.

Understanding routing protocols

Ivan Pepelnjak, blogging in ipSpace, discussed routing protocols -- and why they don't always work. According to Pepelnjak, most routing protocols follow rule No. 5 of RFC 1925, also known as the fundamental truths of networking.

"It is always possible to agglutinate multiple separate problems into a single complex interdependent solution. In most cases, this is a bad idea."

Routing protocols attempt to handle too many things, Pepelnjak said, including neighbor discovery, failure detection, health checks, information dissemination, distributing topology information and endpoint reachability information.

"Is there anything wrong with that approach?," Pepelnjak asked. "Of course -- links usually fail more often than nodes or routing protocols. It's therefore crucial to detect link failure relatively quickly, but we don't have to be so aggressive with the node health check."

In spite of the emergence of Bidirectional Forwarding, a new lightweight protocol designed to spot path loss between neighboring IP addresses, protocols such as BGP are still relevant because most networks haven't altered the approach to disseminating information. Pepelnjak added that many engineers continue to overuse OSPF exclusively in enterprise networks instead of relying on reliable combinations such as OSPF and intermediate system to intermediate system for spotting shortest paths and network topologies or BGP for gathering endpoint information.

Read more of Pepelnjak's thoughts on routing protocols.

Next Steps

How network security systems have evolved

What SDN and network fabrics have in common

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