Ensuring business application connectivity is a key challenge for many businesses, according to security policy management company, AlgoSec.
In its latest study, Australian 2013 State of Network Security Report , which polled 116 IT security and network operations professionals, it found that 65.4 per cent of respondents said poor visibility of security policies and time-consuming, manual processes are the greatest network security challenges.
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A quarter reported that more than 80 per cent of firewall changes were made to enable business applications.
AlgoSec Asia-Pacific vice-president and general manager, Guy Givoni, said the impact of these firewall changes on businesses is taxing, with 74 per cent of respondents stating that application-related rule changes resulted in an outage, security breach or decreased network performance.
The survey also found that a high number of network and application outages are due to out-of-process security policy changes.
"The results from our Australian survey reflect what we're hearing from our large customers here and overseas that when it comes to improving security and business agility, it's all about the applications," Givoni said.
The results also showed that Next-Generation firewall (NGFW) adoption is much higher in Australia than in other continents; 77.6 per cent of organisations deployed at least one NGFW in their environment as compared to 56.8 per cent in the US and 36 per cent in Europe.
But, Givoni mentioned that NGFWs add more work to their firewall management process due to the challenges around defining a NGFW policy, additional training, managing alongside traditional firewalls, the volume of changes and time required to process them.
"You have more organisations implementing NGFWs to gain visibility and control of Web applications. However, without the proper application visibility and security change automation, business disruptions or outages are all too common."
He suggested that in order to gain a competitive advantage in a dynamic business environment, organisations must be able to align security with the business by quickly and securely provisioning new applications, making necessary updates and safely decommissioning them.
Other key findings from the report include:
- About half of the respondents indicated that more than 50 per cent of firewall rule changes are implemented to enable business application connectivity.
- 56.5 per cent suffered a network outage due to an out-of-process change that was made while 31.3 per cent suffered an application outage.
- 52.8 per cent of them reported that accidental or malicious threats from within the business present the greatest security risk, rather than external hackers.