Independent Study of IT Security Leaders Provides Clear Picture for the Future of Network Security and its Focus on Protecting a Rapidly Changing IT Ecosystem
Distinct priorities have emerged when it comes to responding to the needs of IT security's rapid transformation, independent research sponsored by FireMon has found. The survey of 239 cybersecurity leaders across the EMEA region uncovered the key investments organisations are making and the rationale behind their decisions.
"The study shows that the combination of multiplying threats, the proliferation of hybrid and cloud architectures, blended with a pandemic-fuelled explosion in distributed and remote work has created a perfect storm for network security teams," says Satin H. Mirchandani, President and CEO of FireMon. "It is no wonder that they are adding new technologies, architectures, and approaches to ensure their networks remain protected."
As such, respondents in EMEA have indicated that they will significantly be ramping up investments in security orchestration and automation. According to the survey, 96 percent of companies either have already implemented security orchestration and automation or plan to do so in the next 24 months.
According to the survey, the five major areas for network security investment in EMEA can be broken down as follows:
Automation – 21 percent of organisations are investing in automating policy management to safeguard against inefficient and risky functions. More than 70 percent say they will implement security orchestration and automation within two years to improve agility and responsiveness.
Zero Trust – 38 percent of organisations plan to implement a Zero Trust in the next 12 months, adding to the 23 percent of organisations that have already begun this process. The biggest drivers are a greater need for secure remote access (78 percent), reducing cybersecurity risk (70 percent), and supporting the transition to cloud architectures (51 percent).
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) – 82 percent of organisations have either already implemented a SASE platform or plan to do so within two years.
Security-Development Misalignment – 73 percent of IT leaders admit their application development (DevOps) and network security operations teams are not well aligned.
Heterogeneity and Integration – With growing complexity and heterogeneity, 93% of respondents are concerned about the lack of integration of network security platforms and their IT infrastructure and nearly half looking for open API integrations.
From an automation perspective, respondents cited the need to increase security agility and accelerate responsiveness and improve compliance as the primary drivers. This indicates that network security's growing complexity has rendered manual processes insufficient to keep up with accelerating rates of change. Automation is now an imperative.
Even so, only 21 percent of respondents have indicated that they have already automated their network security policies. But there are positive signs, as most of those (53 percent) plan to complete this process in the next two years.
Based on the survey findings, it is also clear that Zero Trust Architecture will achieve broad adoption to support the transition to cloud architectures and ensure security for an increasingly remote workforce. Both trends were accelerated by COVID-19 and are highly unlikely to be reversed.
As part of this transition to cloud-based architectures, many respondents plan to implement a secure access service edge (SASE) platform to reduce cost and complexity and improve security for their distributed and mobile workforce.
They cite replacing legacy virtual private networks (57 percent), reduced cost and complexity (54 percent), and an improved user experience (54 percent) as their three top reasons for doing so. However, there is a risk of lack of alignment in a rush to balance the transition to cloud-based environments while still managing legacy infrastructure. This is especially the case when it comes to network security operations and application development and delivery processes. This misalignment causes slower application deployment, increases the risk of downtime, and creates friction between security and development teams.
More than 8 out of 10 organisations look to integrate their systems via open APIs to gain greater alignment among security and development processes. This allows them to inject security capabilities into their preferred workflows, enabling greater flexibility and smoothing collaboration between groups.
It was found that 88% of IT security leaders believe investing in network security platforms is a strategic investment. Such platforms boost their network security agility and ensure centralised visibility and control of security policies across hybrid networks, risk analysis, and real-time compliance.
"Network security is experiencing a fundamental shift. The past year has accelerated so many aspects of this shift that we've been enduring for some time. Now we see new technologies and approaches rapidly becoming the norm, forcing security teams to rethink how they manage access policies and ensure compliance in a changing and highly heterogeneous world," concludes Mirchandani.
The full study can be found here.
The research is based on a survey completed in January 2021 by Pulse Media, a research firm with a 27,000-member knowledge community. The survey included 239 directors, vice presidents, and C-Suite executives involved in IT security for organisations with 1,000 employees or more within EMEA. Industries represented included Finance, Banking & Insurance, Retail, Health Care and Social Assistance, Utilities, and Government.
FireMon is the only agile network security policy platform for firewalls and cloud security groups providing the fastest way to streamline network security policy management, which is one of the biggest impediments to IT and enterprise agility. Since creating the first-ever network security policy management solution, FireMon has delivered command and control over complex network security infrastructures for more than 1,700 customers located in nearly 70 countries around the world. For more information, visit www.firemon.com.
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