The security benefits of software defined networking (SDN)

Cyber attacks hurt company performance, competitiveness, and innovation. Organizations adopting SDN can gain greater network security visibility.

by Jennia Hizver

Hackers are a constant threat to organizations, tirelessly searching to exploit weaknesses in computer systems in order to profit from the compromised data. Add to this the fact that network traffic is increasing in enterprise and cloud computing data centers. As a result, security operations teams are becoming overwhelmed by the need to sift through security alerts and tune security engines for the latest threats. And security needs will only grow as the Internet of things (IoT) continues to evolve.

One way to bridge this growing security gap is through intelligent incident detection and automated response.

Software Defined Networking and cyber-security

Software Defined Networking (SDN) and a diverse set of SDN-based security applications will rapidly gain traction in the fight against cybercrime. SDN can make it easier to collect network usage information, which could support improved algorithm design used to detect attacks. The new generation of applications will take advantage of better-informed SDN agents to improve policy enforcement and traffic anomaly detection and mitigation. These applications may be able to block malicious intruders before they enter the critical regions of the network.

A granular approach

The biggest benefit of SDN-enabled security is that it presents an opportunity for intelligent response on a granular basis by selectively blocking malicious traffic while still allowing normal traffic flows. Additionally, SDN security applications are capable of acting on any anomalies by diverting specific network flows to special enforcement points or security services, such as firewalls and intrusion detection/prevention systems. Once implemented, SDN has the potential for achieving greater network security visibility and accelerating the pace of implementing new security services.

In my next post, I will discuss potential security vulnerabilities in SDN implementations and how to address them.

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