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Untangle 2020 Predictions: The Year of Network Security and Network Optimization

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

By Heather Paunet, vice president of product management, Untangle

2020: The Year of Network Security and Network Optimization

As 2019 comes to a close and 2020 quickly approaches, businesses and organizations should prepare themselves for continued advancements in cybersecurity and threat detection, but also advancements in threat and data breach types. As businesses continue to expand, network security and network optimization will play key roles in reaching 2020 business goals.

We believe there are four key areas businesses and organizations can focus on as they enter 2020: 

Advanced Malware Detection through Encrypted Traffic

The internet is becoming more and more encrypted so that data transitioning across the internet can't be intercepted and read. This technology and preventative step also gives hackers the opportunity to hide their malicious activities in these types of encryption.

In 2019, SSL inspection was the most common way to apply web filtering technologies to encrypted internet traffic, but now new technologies are surfacing.  

As we move into 2020, new tactics have emerged to prevent and identify threats, even when traffic is encrypted, without the processing overhead and complexities that SSL inspection can bring. Major technological advances will continue to find and stop these once hidden threats by cyber criminals before they reach the network gateway. It is going to be important, moving into 2020, that security technologies can continue to spot malicious activities, even when they are hidden within encrypted traffic.

Continued Ransomware Attacks

In 2019, there were a record number of ransomware attacks on local governments and municipalities. These attacks, ranging across the United States, targeted big cities, like Baltimore, Maryland, and small cities, like Lake City, Florida, taking out critical social services while waiting for the city to pay their specified ransom amount in bitcoin. 

These attacks, as well as the increasing number of attacks on small-and-midsize businesses are expected to continue. However, with the international exposure of these attacks, also comes an increased determination to protect company and customer data. 

Next generation firewalls, with the ability to filter, protect, and manage malicious attacks in detail at the application layer, will continue to be key solutions for companies strengthening their network security in 2020. Along with these advancements in network security, small businesses should focus on creating Threat Management Plans as a strategic part of their business objectives and yearly budgets. 

With a wider awareness of the risks as we move into 2020, we see that companies will allocate more budget for security and management plans to mitigate business down-time and effectively communicate with those whose data may have been compromised. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

The use of AI for threat identification and trends in cyberattacks is becoming more common. As software and hardware continue to gather data from global deployments, the ability to identify harmful malware links or phishing emails becomes more refined, stopping these attacks before they reach the gateway.  More and more cyber security products are now storing information about threats in a cloud location so that as soon as a threat is identified, it can be blocked everywhere else immediately with this real-time, cloud based intelligence.

Using artificial intelligence to scan and analyze threats, malware types, and activities can transition IT operations from being reactive to proactive with network security. 

SD-WAN Deployments for Edge Connectivity

While IT trends are moving many IT services to the cloud, in many cases it certain components of IT will still give better network performance if they are done at the edge.  For any services that require a lot of computation, sending data up to the cloud for computation and then receiving it back is going to induce latency and affect performance of business critical applications and could also affect how quickly a malware attack, for example, could be blocked.  

SD-WAN deployments will allow businesses to transform their network efficiency and connectivity as they continue to expand to multiple branch office locations. SD-WAN logically separates business-critical traffic, such as the popular cloud-based applications like Salesforce, G-Suite, and Skype, from non-critical traffic, such as Facebook or Youtube, and increases bandwidth distribution based on these defined policies. 

In 2020, small businesses will continue the trend in SD-WAN deployment to meet their growing business needs and their networks more powerful. This will also increase the need for security solutions to protect the network at both the headquarters and branch locations. Hackers will turn their attention to the edge, and strategically creating security barriers and the gateway, cloud, and branch office will need to be a priority in 2020. 

Overall, small businesses are transforming and adopting new technologies to increase connectivity and productivity. Small businesses will remain a target for cybercriminals, but with increased awareness, network security can go a long way to prevent attacks before they happen.

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About the Author

Heather Paunet

Heather Paunet is the Vice President of Product Management at Untangle, responsible for building the right products for customers, taking into account customer needs and market trends. She has over 15 years' experience driving the development and go-to-market of software solutions. Prior to joining Untangle, she held product leadership roles at Cisco Systems, and was Vice President of Product at various high-tech security and networking companies in the Silicon Valley. She has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and spent the first few years of her career as a software engineer.  

Published Monday, January 06, 2020 7:21 AM by David Marshall
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