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Although firewalls and endpoint protection helps to reduce the risk of your network being invaded by malware, they can’t protect your organization from every threat. Sandboxing can work in combination with these standard security measures to protect your network from new, unknown attacks.

 

What is Sandboxing?

The concept of sandboxing is simple. Imagine you run a high-security military laboratory and a new scientist you don’t know requests access. They appear to have valid credentials and seem to be legitimate. Rather than letting the scientist into your lab right away, as he might be a spy, is to take him to a lab that looks just like your real one and observe his behavior.

If you see no suspicious behavior, you can then let the scientist into the real lab and let him begin working. However, if you spot the scientist trying to access files he shouldn’t or behaving in an unexpected way, you can identify him as a spy without risking him compromising the security of your actual lab.

Sandboxing works in a similar way. Applications that look legitimate but aren’t recognized by your security appliances can be placed into a virtual environment that mimics real user behavior.

The sandbox application can watch how the suspicious software behaves in this virtual environment to determine its safety; before passing it through to the end-user if it is deemed to be safe, or quarantining it if malicious behavior is detected.

How Does Sandboxing Protect Your Security?

If a document or application shows suspicious behavior in the sandbox environment such as attempting to access an external IP address, spawning additional services, or accessing other files it can be quarantined.

The sandboxing software can create a signature for the malware and send it out to the threat cloud to let all users know about the threat. In this way, it can alert your antivirus and firewall software to new types of attacks that would otherwise have slipped through their defenses.

 

On-Premise vs Cloud

There are two types of sandboxing, which are on-premise appliances and cloud deployments. On-premise sandboxing appliances investigate possible threats without any data leaving your network, whereas cloud deployments allow your network to send possible threats to a cloud-based service for investigation.

On-premise sandboxing is a good solution for organizations that are required to keep all sensitive data within their own networks.

On the other hand, cloud-based services are useful for organizations that are looking for a cost-effective sandboxing solution or prefer an OpEx model.

 

Benefits

Sandboxes do not guarantee network security, but neither does any other security measure. The key is to combine as many security measures as you can to create a complete security landscape. While firewalls aim to keep malicious software out of your network and antivirus applications detect known threats, sandboxing tackles the risk posed by unknown applications.

 

Conclusion

Sandboxing is a low-user-impact, cost-effective solution for companies of all sizes that provide an aggressive ROI; especially considering the cost of a data breach. When paired with a Next-Generation Firewall and modern endpoint protection, sandboxing can help reduce your organization’s risk.

 

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