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What are the security benefits of self-healing networks?

How do self-healing networks function? Expert Kevin Beaver looks at the benefits such a network has to offer, as well as the key concepts self-healing networks bring to an enterprise security strategy.

I've been reading about self-healing networks, and I'm curious if there are any security benefits to the technology beyond optimizing network operations. How do self-healing networks function, and what are the key concepts of a self-healing network that can be integrated into an enterprise security strategy?

The concept of self-healing networks is something that goes back to some of the earlier days of networking. When I was starting out in my IT career, I recall FDDI and SONET technologies having the ability to "failover" if network communication problems occurred. The same concepts -- and technologies -- are still around today in the form of self-healing networks.

In terms of security and business continuity, the name of the game for self-healing networks today is resiliency. This means being able to withstand and/or quickly recover from malware, denial-of-service and other related attacks. Some of this resiliency can be leveraged through back-end communications via traditional ISPs and colocation providers. However, much of the redundancy and resiliency is now handled by virtualization, the cloud and software-defined networking. You could even say that Gigabit Ethernet is a form of this resiliency (or an alternative to cloud, virtualization and SDN) given its cost and pervasiveness in business.

Self-healing network technologies can certainly be a part of any enterprise security strategy. It all depends on the specific nature of the business, additional redundancies built in, and overall level of risk tolerance. If anything, it pays to be thinking about these areas -- especially in terms of business continuity and incident response.

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This was last published in September 2015

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