As technologies continue to evolve at an increasingly rapid pace, companies must make choices that affect their operations in both the short and long term. In an effort to “future-proof” their networks, many companies are turning to multiprotocol label-switching (MPLS) IP VPNs.
Properly deployed, an MPLS IP VPN can provide an enterprise with anytime, anywhere, device-neutral connectivity, as well as substantial benefits in several categories, including:
In order to realize the full value and potential of an MPLS network, it must be fully secured against a wide variety of potential threats, including distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDOS).
The need to provide an appropriate security blanket over their network has led many companies to re-evaluate their security needs and the level of risk they are willing to tolerate. Once the acceptable level of risk is defined, a plan of action is then drafted. At this point, a company should evaluate the status and bandwidth of their internal resources to administer the network’s security needs. In order to complete their evaluation, the company must be able to answer questions regarding the network, including the desired level of availability. Some companies are able to limit availability to regular business hours while others need 24/7/365 availability. Greater availability needs translate into greater staffing needs.
For companies who determine that in-house network security administration is not an appropriate or cost-effective route for them, there are still two options to consider: they can outsource network security management completely or they can create a hybrid in-house/outsourced model.
The majority of companies considering outsourcing security management will realize the greatest savings by turning over security management to a service provider on a full-time basis. Those choosing to keep some security responsibilities in-house will likely realize savings as well, although they will be limited due to increased or ongoing staffing needs.
In either case, a company will need to vet a service provider’s qualifications. Let’s take a look at some of the issues to consider when evaluating an outsourced network security management model. For our purposes, we will highlight the three most significant: Service Level Agreements (SLA), escalation procedures, and certification and accreditation.
Service Level Agreements
Does the SLA guarantee a level of service and availability that is consistent with the company’s needs? For most companies, this includes a guarantee of > 99.99% availability as well as provisions that detail, as specifically as possible, the response time to network attacks or breaches.
Are procedures in place so that, in any given situation where the service provider must take action to resolve a network problem, the issue gets presented to the appropriate engineer as quickly as possible?
Certification and Accreditation
Does the staff have the appropriate training to back up the SLA? Do the engineers hold certification in CISSP, CISM, or GIAC?
Clearly, the decision on whether or not to handle network security and risk management in-house or to outsource it is one that must be approached from many sides. If you’re interested in learning more about the security options for MPLS IP VPN WANs register and join us for:
Covering all the Bases: Security and MPLS Networks
July 18, 2012
Time: 1:00 PM ET US / 10:00 AM PT US
Register now >