Network issues hamper security professionals: report

Poor visibility of security policies and manual processes pose challenges for workers

Australian IT security and network operations professionals have cited manual processes and poor visibility of security policies as their biggest challenges according to a new report.

The Australian 2013 State of Network Security Report, conducted by AlgoSec during the AusCERT security conference in May, interviewed 116 people.

It found that 33.6 per cent of respondents were having trouble managing network security devices while 31.8 per cent reported time-consuming, manual processes and poor change management as their greatest challenge.

Half of the respondents said that firewall rule changes were implemented to allow business application connections.

However, these changes resulted in network outages for 43.5 per cent of organisations and security breaches for 29.6 per cent of those surveyed.

Other respondents reported application outages and decreased network performance as a result of firewall changes.

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The survey also found that next-generation firewall (NGFW) adoption is much higher in Australia than in other continents with 77.6 per cent of organisations having deployed at least one NGFW in their environment. This compared to 56.8 per cent of companies in the United States and 36 per cent in Europe.

According to the survey results, respondents said that NGFWs added more to their firewall management workload. This was due to the challenges around defining a NGFW policy, additional training, the volume of changes and time required to process them.

“Without the proper application visibility and security change automation, business disruptions or outages are all too common,” Algo Asia Pacific vice president and general manager Guy Givoni said in a statement.

“In order to gain competitive advantage in a dynamic business environment, organisations must be able to align security with the business by quickly provisioning new applications, making necessary updates and safely decommissioning them.”

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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