Research by Infrastructure specialist, Teneo, shows UK businesses hold on to dated firewalls despite radical changes to threat landscape and employee network usage
Majority of UK organisations are retaining first generation ‘stateful inspection’ firewalls even though they struggle to cope with present day threats
February 3rd 2012 – Leading infrastructure optimisation specialist Teneo found that the majority of UK organisations are retaining first generation ‘stateful inspection’ firewalls even though they struggle to cope with managing threats from online applications and changes in employee network usage such as accessing social media in the workplace.
Over one in three (35%) of businesses questioned in the recent online survey of IT Directors reported that their organisation was using first generation firewalls which struggle to effectively manage threats from Internet applications. As a result of this inability to control web usage, a quarter (24%) of organisations could not measure the length of time employees spent on the Internet.
This lack of visibility is also leading to blanket bans on employee use of social media (for 24%) and web-based business applications (for 24% of firms). The survey also finds that one in six (16%) firms are now using next generation firewalls which provide network security and control to application and individual user level.
Other firewalls in use included Unified Threat Management (UTM) appliances used within 24% of organisations while nearly a quarter (24%) relies on their network/email service provider to also provide managed security services. To beef up network security 68% of organisations also use an additional separate network security appliance to provide URL filtering; while 43% use separate Intrusion Prevention/Intrusion Detection appliances.
Firewalls are being retained for longer periods – the majority of organisations (43%) keep their firewalls for between 4-6 years; nearly one in five (19%) keep firewalls for more than 6 years and 16% of organisations reported extensions to their firewall renewal periods. Nearly two thirds of respondents (65%) were responsible for managing between 1-5 firewalls across their organisation. Typical issues reported with existing firewalls included a lack of firewall cover for remote/mobile users (59%), poor visibility of application and desktop usage (33%). More than one in five found their firewalls hard to configure and require a great deal of manual intervention.
Continuing issues and limitations with existing firewalls come at a time where IT budgets remain under pressure as 27% of organisations reported cuts of between 10-25% over the last two years with a sixth (16%) seeing cuts of more than 25%. More than a third (38%) face IT budget cuts in their next financial year.
Two key priorities for network security remain steadfast: 51% of organisations rate protection against data loss as the key priority for their organisation’s network security while 27% see malware protection as their leading concern. More current threats, such as the use of cloud computing without compromising the network was ranked as the lowest priority for 32%. Managing web and social applications was also ranked lowest by 30% of organisations.
When selecting a new firewall, 68% of organisations rate blocking dangerous applications as the most essential attribute, followed by Active Directory integration (54%), protection against port hopping and tunnelling (46%) and the ability to enforce application usage policies (46%).
Awareness of next generation firewalls continues to grow as 24% of organisations rank high network availability to keep networks ‘always-on’ as a key attribute of next generation firewalls. One fifth (19%) most value the ‘all-in-one’ security and network management functionality. A substantial minority are now actively making the switch to next generation firewalls – 24% said that they were currently investigating next generation appliances and solutions and looking to buy them in the next 12 months.
Lauren Fortune, Head of Marketing, Teneo commented:
“The survey makes it clear that the majority of organisations are struggling on with older first generation firewalls that do not provide any visibility or control in terms of employee desktop usage or specific applications. Many organisations then add on extra appliances to fill in the gaps in their network security. Interest in next generation firewalls from vendors such as Palo Alto Networks are growing as they solve the issues of controlling threats from web and social media applications, give granularity to network control and tackle the fundamental problems of first generation firewalls such as port hopping and blocking.”
“With IT budgets still restricted, it is clear that next generation firewalls will see continued growth as they offer good value compared to buying and/or maintaining multiple security and network management devices.”
Associated with the unveiling of these survey results, Teneo has also published its Firewall Trends Survey Executive Summary which is available now at: http://tinyurl.com/6sdubgc
The company has also created a series of mini guides to support firms’ infosecurity management planning activity including Teneo Mini-Guide: IT Security Infrastructure Consolidation & Cost Control, which is also available at http://tinyurl.com/76q4rzs
Teneo commissioned Agility PR to conduct this online survey through Zoomerang. The 21 question survey was distributed to 5592 Senior IT Managers and Directors of businesses with turnover in excess of £20m. We received 83 visits and 37 completed questionnaires, a completed response rate of 0.66% between 7th October and 3rd November 2011.
About Teneo Ltd (www.teneo.net)
Teneo is an Infrastructure Optimisation specialist with worldwide reach, focused on helping businesses to meet corporate and IT objectives through accelerating the performance of global network infrastructures, improving user productivity, automating management within the Data Centre, lowering overall IT costs and minimising risk.
With over 1500 customers on an international scale, Teneo understands the challenges of supplying, deploying and managing technology over widely distributed locations and offers a range of innovative solutions and services to help businesses not only achieve this but also realise the full cost saving potential of their technology investments. Visit uk.teneo.net for more information.