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Network visibility survey shows enterprise vulnerability

ForeScout Technologies : 10 March, 2016  (Technical Article)
Security blindspots in Global 2000 Enterprises highlight the need for greater visibility across the network to prevent security breaches.
Network visibility survey shows enterprise vulnerability

A survey on network visibility has been conducted by research firm Frost & Sullivan on behalf of agentless cybersecurity pioneer, ForeScout Technologies.

The “Network Visibility Survey” assessed the views of 400 Information Technology (IT) and security professionals on network security visibility, tools, threat detection and incident response practices, revealing that the majority of Global 2000 companies have areas within their networks that are not properly analysed.

These “blind spots” can lead to costly breaches due to unknown applications, traffic, devices and users operating insecurely on a corporate network. At 72%, nearly three-quarters of those who responded had experienced at least five network-based security incidents during the past 12 months. Of those, most security incidents related to managed devices despite increased investment in managed security technologies.

Managed end user computers yielded the highest network-based security incidents, with nearly one-third of companies in the USA, 19% of companies in the UK and half of all German companies reporting at least five. Managed servers also served as gateways for attack in 27% of companies in the USA, 19% of companies in the UK and 36% of German companies. The survey suggests that this is leading to low customer confidence in security agents being deployed.

“In today’s distributed enterprise, creating a truly secure network, whether managed or unmanaged, requires instant visibility into the devices that are connecting to it, paired with an ability to automate threat responses,” said Rob Greer, CMO and SVP of Products at ForeScout. “Vulnerable entry points are widespread and the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) devices and mobile computing is only increasing the security attack surface. Automation can help security teams orchestrate their technologies to help eliminate network blind spots—giving them true visibility and actionability into their connected devices.”

Additional findings from the “Network Visibility Survey” include:

Low confidence about use of security agents

Many network security administrators use security and management agents to track and secure managed endpoints on their networks. However, the survey demonstrated that too much reliance on these agents brings a false sense of security. 37% of respondents reported they have low confidence in their patch management agents, followed closely by mobile device management (MDM) agents (35%), encryption agents (28%) and antivirus agents (27%).

Independent firewall, vulnerability assessment and advanced threat defence (ATD) products suffer the most from blind spots

Regardless of the region or technology, IT and security administrators revealed that their networks have significant blind spots. Firewall, vulnerability assessment and ATD products suffered the most from blind spots, followed closely by network intrusion prevention systems (IPS), security information and event management (SIEM), enterprise mobility management (EMM) and antivirus technologies—underscoring that too many organisations deploy network security technologies in silos, with little or no communication between products and teams.

Networks would benefit from automated security controls

Most organisations report that their security teams and technical talent are stretched thin. According to the survey, IT professionals would unanimously welcome a set of pre-determined security controls within each network security technology to facilitate automation and save critical resources. The leading technologies that respondents wanted to automatically invoke security controls for were firewalls (67%), IPS (65%) and antivirus (63%).

“We’ve confirmed what most people already expect – that no company is truly secure without its security technologies working together. A siloed security approach can create network blind spots that have costly, long-term impacts on business continuity and brand reputation,” said Chris Kissel, Industry Analyst, Network Security Research, at Frost & Sullivan. “Without full network visibility, these attack surfaces will only increase, given the fast-growing number of BYOD and IoT devices being connected to corporate networks.”

Click the link to download the full “Network Visibility Survey” report

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