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When networks become virtualized, security becomes even more critical. All that data is now flowing through the network from different endpoints and creating a lot more complexity.
But securing virtualized networks isn’t easy. One of the key characteristics of software-defined networking (SDN) is that it separates the control plane from the data plane. From an operational perspective, this offers a lot of advantages to the network. But from a security standpoint, this separation can have implications.
On one hand, it makes it possible for the network operator to implement a security feature across the network at once instead of doing it gradually and leaving some parts of the network at risk.
But at the same time, the structure of a distributed network means that there isn’t one single master controller to guard. Instead there are now numerous points in the network that need to be guarded.
And although SDN controllers are touted as being very secure, they aren’t immune to risk. In fact, controllers are a very enticing target for potential attackers because if an SDN controller is breached, the entire network is at risk.
Although there is no such thing as a perfect security protocol, experts recommend that network operators develop a rigorous policy framework for their networks to ensure that the SDN controller is behaving the way that the operator wants it to. And if it isn’t, that there are procedures in place to alert the network operator so precautions can be implemented.
In this SDxCentral eBook, we look at some of the key security strategies that are being used to protect networks in this new virtualized world.