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As the technologies in today’s digital age continue to develop and become more efficient, the capabilities of cyber-criminals to exploit new advancements grow with them. Enterprises are faced with the increasingly complex task of protecting their networks and endpoints from malicious activity through secure network infrastructure and safeguarding all endpoints. Trends in threats and their corresponding mitigation techniques come and go, and staffers in the information technologies departments are responsible for keeping systems up to date across the entire spectrum of an enterprise. This can be a daunting feat for any one team. However, when a number of separate IT divisions within the same company are working in isolation to achieve total security, it can lead to problems that accidentally expose the network to risks. If the branches of IT – and specifically the implementations within the security department – work in segregated silos, it presents an unnecessary problem for the business structure.

Processes Should Not Be Isolated

A silo is a part of a network where data is stored separately from the larger network of an enterprise’s information systems. These isolated storage locations can often contain things like customer information, product data, order histories and other sensitive information. Silos can also refer to a lack of unification amongst various systems related to achieving a single goal. The concept is often referred to in a negative light by IT professionals because of the inherent limitations it presents for staffers, and in regards to their ability to readily access or coordinate information and processes across silos. When data and systems are inaccessible by those who need them, they are rendered virtually useless. Successful enterprises cannot afford to trifle with these kinds of avoidable situations.

Unification of general IT structure

In many cases, a company’s entire IT infrastructure can silo itself inadvertently. Each division operates with its own protocols and establishes its own goals. They operate independently of one another and may only communicate when necessity calls for it. The server team works without guidance from the security unit, which does not share information with the connectivity team who fails to coordinate with the data storage department. IT branches set up in this manner generally only work to ensure their particular division is functioning properly, while giving little thought to the responsibilities of the other units. This self-reliant nature of management is inefficient in handling issues that affect the business structure. If a cyber-attack breaches a particular aspect of an IT framework, the lack of departmental integration can lead to finger pointing and a slower response in fighting the perceived threat. Enterprises with a more unified internal network can be more proactive in their problem solving abilities, especially when it comes to the topic of security.

Problems with a silo-based security structure

When zooming in to examine the security arm of a firm’s structural body, silos could be found here as well. An enterprise may have 20-30 different security products and solutions deployed at one time. Everything from anti-spyware, network and user analysis, web firewall, anti-malware, intrusion protection and any number of additional tools can be employed to protect a network. When endpoints of an IT security system exist in silos, the problems associated with their management and their risk of exploitation are compounded. The lack of integration prevents enterprises from getting a comprehensive analysis of their overall network protection, instead allowing only for piecemeal reports. Other issues like the duplication of security and risk-mitigation techniques, or holes in threat identification and defense mechanisms can also present themselves. This could create another organizational issue, wherein IT professionals are constantly working to maintain compliance and keep software up to date in endpoints. This can become a tedious and inefficient process when there are numerous security outfits at work managing these endpoints. Misconfigurations and outdated software versions in endpoints could become more commonplace within the network and create a false sense of security that the enterprise is working beneath. Businesses need to be capable of monitoring the details and continued compliance of software publishers and their individual deployments across the enterprise network, to avoid this problem.

A Disconnected Strategy Can Be Easily Exploited

Cybercriminals can easily take advantage of the problems associated with silo systems. While the endpoint security team updates a small handful of protections, hackers can attack another vulnerable area of the network without drawing much attention. Hackers typically use advanced attack campaigns to take advantage of isolated security processes within companies. These attacks are highly coordinated efforts that begin with a thorough examination of how a security infrastructure is layered. The criminals are well-versed in protective digital technologies and are able identify whether or not an efficient level of integration is being used. Based on their investigations, they can craft an ideal offensive that will give them the best chance of exploiting an infrastructure flaw. Integration is vital to the continued success of enterprises as cyber threats continue to develop. To avoid the trappings of silos and vulnerabilities to attack, contact Faronics to get more information about our integrated endpoint management solutions.

About The Author

Matt Williams

A self-proclaimed ‘tech geek’, Matt has worked in technology for a decade and divides his time between blogging and working in IT. A huge New York Giants fan, expert on Reboot Restore Technology when not watching football Matt gets his game on playing Call of Duty with his friends and other tech bloggers.

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