Connect the dots: Secure everything, everywhere... and that includes performance and productivity

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We love our devices. IDC is predicting 686 million smartphones will be sold in 2012 alone. Then there are the countless connected tablets, laptops and desktops; not to mention that products—from cars to copiers—that are connected devices, too. From a network perspective, it all adds up to a staggering number of endpoints.

Our relationship with our devices is deep, and getting deeper. But without access to data, the value of our devices is limited, if not eliminated. Whether business critical or frivolous fun, our mood quickly turns to frustration when we can't access our data (as we punch “submit” one more time when the screen doesn't instantly change). The truth is, there's a powerful three-way relationship that exists between our devices, our data and ourselves. Yet without access to data, the relationship just doesn't work. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the business world.

Today, a business' productivity is inextricably linked to the ability of its employees, partners, and customers to access and exchange data. And there is a straight line between productivity and profitability. Hackers also smell opportunity in this evolution. Businesses of all sizes increasingly struggle to defend themselves from the explosive growth in security threats and cyber attacks. 

Without significant advances in security technology, management and deployment strategies, the volume, form and sophistication of malware has the potential to inflict enormous vulnerability on corporate network with catastrophic results. Scare mongering? Absolutely not. Last year alone, Dell SonicWALL identified nearly 16 million unique malware samples through its GRID (Global Response Intelligent Defense system) and is reporting around 44,000 new malware samples every day. So what are we to do?

The logical step is to secure everything, from endpoint to data center and everything in between, from everywhere—cloud, mobile, and remote. Every aspect of network technology has to be engineered for security, throughout the product lifecycle, supply chain, and manufacturing process.

As John McClurg, Chief Security Officer at Dell, recently wrote in his blog, today's threats have broadened in scope and reach, and it's now time for enterprises to refocus technology resources to drive connected security, ensuring both outside-in and inside-out protection.

It used to be that firewalls were installed to protect the corporate network from outside viruses and malware and to keep it safe and secure – an outside-in focus. This priority has not changed. In fact, it has never been more important or challenging.

Next-generation firewalls now perform a critical inside-out function, protecting and unleashing the productivity of the network through advanced features such as application intelligence and control. The corporate network represents the central nervous system for many businesses. If it goes down, all business literally stops. Similarly, if the network slows down because its bandwidth is being sucked dry from video, live streaming of TV, or Facebook and Twitter usage, so too business slows down.  Many organizations cannot differentiate applications on their networks with legitimate business purposes from those that are not business-critical and simply draining bandwidth or plain dangerous. This is where innovations in the form of application intelligence and control connect and give the right people access to the right applications at the right time and with the right bandwidth. 

In today's enterprise, protection and performance go hand-in-hand. By connecting the dots between these two imperatives and crafting connected security strategies that deliver outside-in and inside-out protection, organizations will be well-placed to do more and gain sustainable and competitive business advantage from their IT solutions and services.
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