The one-way security of a Data Diode: top 5 reasons you need one now
There are many reasons to use a data diode. Have a look at our top 5.
1. A data diode guarantees the only secure segregation of networks
Network segregation is one of the most effective ways to secure your network. It makes it much more difficult for hackers to get from exposed parts of your network to the more secure parts. This way, access to sensitive information or critical systems can effectively be limited. Methods to achieve network segregation include physical isolation, traffic flow filters, creating VLANs, using proxies, and most widely known, firewalls. All these methods can and should be part of a secure network architecture. But none can provide absolute certainty that the network can’t be hacked and that data will flow in only one direction.
A data diode is the only security solution that can guarantee a one-way data flow. The physical data diode device is simple and only consists of fiber ports and a power connection. The physical path for the fiber and electronic signals (which make up the data) only permits one direction. The diode doesn’t contain any software or other kind of logic which makes it impossible to misconfigure or hack.
2. A data diode lowers costs and reduces complexity
Compared to firewalls and other software solutions, a data diode is a simple solution that ensures low (maintenance) costs.
- The physical diode device does not have to be and cannot be updated.
- The configuration of a diode is relatively simple. No in-house expertise is needed.
- By using a diode you will reduce the complexity of your network. No matter what configuration errors are made, you can be absolutely certain that data can only flow in the correct direction.
3. A data diode allows you to transfer real-time data in highly secure environments
The solution for network segregation in highly secure environments (for instance nuclear power plants or secret service agencies and such) has long been that of physical network isolation. But this is no longer viable. Data volumes have been increasing steadily and nowadays you need to be able to process and respond to data much faster. Because of these trends it is no longer workable to bring data from one network to another on a CD or USB stick. These types of critical environments are now able to safely transfer big volumes of live data at high rates through a data diode.
4. A data diode is able to prevent physical damage or loss of life
In case of industrial networks, digital systems are connected to physical processes. These are so-called cyber-physical systems. When these systems are connected to insecure networks (i.e. networks connected to the internet), they open up a path for hackers to take over control. If this happens, data leakage or loss may be the best outcome… By using a data diode, you can share data from the industrial network to the office network, and have the peace of mind that no hacker will be able to get into your cyber-physical systems via this path.
5. Local regulation recommend or enforce you to implement data diodes
Some countries recommend or even obligate particular organizations (mainly organizations in the government or critical infrastructure sectors) to implement a data diode in their networks. Be sure to check with your local authority to find out what their recommendations are.
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