When it comes to protecting ourselves we tend to look inward – focusing on things like installing fire alarms, locking our doors and windows, and peering through peepholes and surveillance systems at what’s just beyond our thresholds.
Meanwhile, policing the street, block, neighborhood, or city is someone else’s job. And unless or until there’s an obvious breach that affects us personally in one of these environments, we tend to leave well enough alone and expect others to shoulder those responsibilities.
But while this approach may work well in the physical world, it’s not an ideal way to approach cybersecurity, suggests Mervyn Kelly. Ciena’s EMEA marketing director says that new GDPR and other regulatory requirements, and business imperatives, call for organizations to address security in the wide area network as well as in LAN environments. Yet many businesses tend to focus on security for local area networks and overlook WAN cybersecurity concerns, he says.
That’s a big gap considering that corporate data runs on WAN fiber connections to branch offices, cloud providers, data centers, and other locations. Indeed, research from Ciena and Telindus calls WANs a potential data protection weak link.
“This is mainly because hackers can get to glass-fiber cables quite easily – in car parks, or even under manhole covers in the street,” Kelly writes. “Then, using simple wire-tap technology, they can steal vast quantities of data – and it could be days or even months before you know anything about it.”
To secure their data, and meet the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation requirements, Ciena says that organizations need end-to-end data protection solutions including packet-optical platforms with integrated encryption at the optical layer. Optical-layer encryption is a good approach because the encryption keys stay with business not the network manager, adds only microseconds of latency (as opposed to more delay with IP-layer encryption), and works on connections of various speeds, Ciena says.
Edited by Maurice Nagle