The survey reveals that C-level managers and IT professionals are tackling increasingly complex enterprise networks, with trends such as virtualization, IPv6 and the Cloud requiring more automation of network management. The research also demonstrates an ever-changing IT network with companies from financial services, telecom, technology and public sectors facing frequent network configuration changes, and suffering from human error and recurrent firewall outages.
The research was conducted by ResearchNOW, which surveyed more than 500 C-level managers and senior IT professionals from companies of 1,000 or more in the US and the UK.
Key findings of the research include:
- End-to-end, coordinated security policy is vital: almost 9 out of 10 IT and business decision-makers felt that coordination of security policy across the entire network is “essential”.
- Network management moving towards automation: 67% of senior IT and decision-makers think security policy management across the network will become more automated over the next few years. Network configuration and server configuration are the IT areas most likely to become automated.
- Changing job roles impact Policy Management: 71% had to adopt new processes, learn new technologies and interact with new people because of trends like Cloud, IPv6 and virtualization. 55% report these new business initiatives require security’s input, and almost 1/3 report they require data from new stakeholders in order to design proper security policies.
- The Cloud makes a big impact: 50% of all respondents said the Cloud will have the most impact on network security in the short term. Other key areas are network operations applications, outsourcing and virtualization.
- Virtualization: Nearly half of respondents reported more than 50% of their network was virtualized.
- IPv6 is considered a big priority: 44% believe IPv6 is either important or very important to their network.
- Increasing network complexity: 56% said that system complexity was the number one root cause undermining and jeopardizing IT security efforts.
- Firewall outages are frequent: 33% of UK and US IT and business decision-makers said that their company had suffered five or more firewall-related outages in the last year - the equivalent of nearly one every other month. 17% of financial services companies reported 11 or more outages in the last 12 months.
- Human error is common: A quarter of UK and US business have had to re-do more than 60 percent of all firewall changes because they weren’t implemented correctly the first time.
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