How_to_Shore_Up_Your_Netw_72221_136202No new business today can operate without IT technology; the inconvenient truth is most new business owners are tyros when it comes to understanding how to integrate IT with their business’s operations. One area where knowledge is lacking and confusion reigns is that of protecting data from hackers.

Today’s hackers are not the same as the hackers who first woke up the IT world with their Trojans, worms and viruses. Today’s hackers are equipped with state-of-the art technology, and all too often they’re bankrolled by serious criminals or hostile governments. The problem IT security faces is how to stop a breach without overwhelming the security administrator with constant false positive alerts.

Intrusion Protection Systems

Currently, intrusion protection systems work off of signatures or pattern recognition. Once a threat is known, its pattern, or signature, can be loaded into a database and used to detect future attempts against the network and servers of the target. Preventing future attacks works well enough, but the flaw in the theory is somebody has to be attacked and the threat stopped and analyzed for the pattern to make it into the database. Makers of virus protection software and anti-spyware software attempt to be proactive, but the threats from cyberattackers are relentless and attacks do get through.

A New Concept

A new model has been developed for intrusion protection systems. The concept uses information about the network, its users and its applications to stop attempted data breaches. This concept, known as context-aware intrusion protection, allows the intrusion protection system to analyze a data breach attempt based on the devices in the network, the valid users and the applications they legitimately have access to. This technology stops a cyberattacker from breaching a user account and getting to data the user is not allowed to see. It also stops attacks coming from unknown devices and also from legitimate devices but unknown users.

Context-aware intrusion prevention systems shorten the time necessary to recognize an attack; they also reduce false-positive alerts. While signature detection is effective against known attacks, the patterns can appear in legitimate applications. This leads to false positives, and security administrators must spend time and resources determining if the hit is real.

Putting Context-Aware Intrusion Protection to Work at Your Business

Many a business have attempted to implement context-aware systems. They generally fail, as they take an all-or-nothing approach and wind up backing out the new intrusion protection because it’s too disruptive. A slow-and-steady approach will serve a business much better. Bringing up the system in a monitoring mode allows the security folks to fine-tune their information and weed out false positives before going live. This is not to say you’ll never have a false positive when the system is in production mode, but they will be the rare occurrence instead of flooding all over the network.

The better the information provided to the system, the better it will operate, so take the time to build your information database properly. The phrase “Garbage In – Garbage Out” was coined for a reason, so don’t handicap your intrusion protection with bad data.

Context-aware intrusion protection is the next generation of intrusion protection software. When properly implemented, it can save you from data loss and down-time. The bad guys are relentless – they never stop trying to break into your systems and steal your data, so protect yourself in the best way possible. Your business will thank you for the time and money you spend to keep it safe.

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