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2 min read

No Need to Choose between Unified versus Layered Security

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There will also be a security client or server installed on the main fileserver, what’s more – there may be individual security clients for core applications and databases, such as Microsoft Exchange, SQL Server, Microsoft Lync and Microsoft SharePoint. Another layer of security is then placed at the endpoint, such as a desktop anti-malware client, or a hosted intrusion prevention and malware prevention software installed on a mobile endpoint.

The security reasoning is that all information has to pass through multiple security gatekeepers, reducing the chance that any malicious code can infect the data or compromise an endpoint. In theory, that sounds like a great way to protect data. However, in practice managing multiple heterogeneous security solutions has turned out to be a nightmare. The supposed benefit of using different technologies to secure a system is also the primary downfall of layered security.

As a result, many security professionals are now going with a more unified approach. In this approach a product suite from a single vendor is used to unify protection and security policies across the enterprise. The advantages of that approach include simplified management, improved performance, and simpler auditing.

Now, here comes the tricky part – while unified security sounds like it may fit the bill to keep everything secure, there is one problem with it. That problem stems from the singular ideology of protecting data using a common security suite.

Let me digress, with unified security if a piece of malware gets past the primary gateway, it may be unlikely that it will be prevented from compromising the system further down the network pipe. In other words, something that is able to infect your server may also be able to infect your workstations. Not an ideal approach to protecting systems.

Instead of being stuck between a rock and a hard place, as the layered or unified security argument places most administrators, there is another way to handle that security conundrum. That is using a product that can unify security management, while still offering a layered approach using varied technologies to protect systems.

An example of that type of hybrid protection comes from security vendor McAfee, which offers a broad set of solutions that fit into the company’s Security Connected Framework, an architecture that allows several products to work as standalone entities, yet still be integrated under a common management and reporting infrastructure. What’s more, the various security capabilities can all be controlled by McAfee’s ePolicy Orchestrator (ePO), which unifies and simplifies data security management for a wide range of McAfee enterprise security solutions. Confidently prevent data loss, stay ahead of threats, and manage data protection efficiently and effectively.

So when it comes to protecting corporate intellectual property, the best path to take is obviously both – unified and layered.