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In today’s hyper-connected smart buildings, every network connection is a door into your network. Hackers aren’t picky: Give them an opening, and they’ll exploit it. The Ponemon Institute says that after hackers succeed, there is an almost 28 percent chance they’ll do it again in the following two years.
Would you believe that nearly half of all attacks on enterprise networks occur on-site by authorized employees or unauthorized visitors trying to gain access to sensitive data. To avoid unauthorized access, you need to lock down every layer and secure every point of entry—starting with your physical layer infrastructure.
Security has traditionally been implemented at the higher, logical layers of the network. As commercial building networks evolve—becoming more heavily integrated into all aspects of the enterprise—the physical layer becomes a more attractive target. There are several good ways you can harden it. One of the best ways is through active monitoring and detection.
There was a time, not long ago, when you could set up a firewall at the perimeter and move on to more pressing issues. That “set it and forget it” mentality won’t work anymore. The enterprise network is too expansive and complex. A truly secure network infrastructure must be constantly monitored and maintained to effectively protect against attack. One of the best ways to accomplish this in the physical layer is with an automated infrastructure management (AIM) system. An AIM solution uses intelligent cabling, connectors and patch panels to automatically monitor the connected environment in real time. Should it automatically detect an unauthorized device—or an authorized device attempting to access unauthorized information—the AIM system can automatically alert personnel.
Another consideration is the differences between Wi-Fi and cellular wireless. In public spaces, cellular networks have key security advantages versus public Wi-Fi; hacking a 4G data transmission, while possible, is far more difficult than hacking public Wi-Fi. In the private enterprise networks, the gap narrows, but there are still some unique advantages in favor of cellular. Many of these are due to the fact that security in enterprise cellular networks is the responsibility of the service provider whereas, with enterprise Wi-Fi, security is up to the network administrator who typically has fewer resources at their disposal.
Deploying PoE and powered-fiber technology using Category 6A cabling can also help increase the resiliency in critical security systems such as IP security cameras and AIM-based intelligence. The bottom line is vigilance. As the enterprise network becomes more connected, securing sensitive data becomes more challenging.
For more tips on improving and hardening your building’s network infrastructure, check out CommScope’s recommendations for a more secure infrastructure.