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The Current State of Network Security and Next-Generation Firewalls

By Albert Qian, Marketing Associate, HP Networking


Albert QianWith the release of the 2014 Cyberthreat Defense and the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, we’re getting a better picture of the evolving networking, cyber-security, and data intrusion landscape. With corporations facing numerous security breaches and dealing with adopting bring your own device (BYOD) policies, there’s definitely a lot to talk about, as well as a ripening for innovation.




Data breaches occurred regardless of geographic location. Conclusion -- no one is immune


Let’s take a look at the high-level data for 2013 as it concerns network security and data breaches. What stood out for me as I read the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report were the 1,367 confirmed data breaches and 63,437 security incidents – no doubt keeping many IT professionals extremely busy. From point of service breaches at grocery stores to hijackings of social media accounts as well as public/government sector, security breaches were across the board and industry agnostic. Culturally speaking, the breaches were also country agnostic, affecting everyone from China to the United States, suggesting that hackers are coming from all angles. Thus, no matter who you are, what software programs you are running, or whatever industry you’re in, there’s someone out there interested in hacking in.


Data breaches however are not something that companies can only blame hackers on. BYOD is a growing trend at corporations as well, where employees are clamoring to bring their own devices to get work done. Mobile devices are sought out as the weakest link, and with many of us also – I included – using social networking applications to keep in touch with friends on my phone, present another challenge, so much so that security professionals are more afraid of what the employee will do, rather than the hacker, even with the numbers presented above.


The two-front battle thankfully does have an answer. Growing in importance are network access control (NAC), next-generation firewall (NGFW), and intrusion prevention (IPS) platforms, designed to ensure that those who are on networks deserve to be there, and those who aren’t, are kept out. The growth of these platforms also mirrors the growing interest from IT departments who seek such fixes, and I believe that while pursuing NAC, NGFW, and IPS systems are key to a well-functioning department, it’s also important to consider their features as well.


Let’s first take a look at the industry as it currently stands. The CyberEdge Group compiled the 2014 Cyberthreat Defense Report by surveying 763 survey participants across North America and Europe. They asked questions about usage of NAC and NGFW as companies battled security breaches and handled increasing employee interest in BYOD.




How many companies expect to implement or have already implemented BYOD


They discovered:

  • BYOD policies are expected to increase to 77% implementation by 2016.
  • 30% of companies plan to purchase mobile device and application management software in the coming year.
  • 77% of those surveyed intend to use NAC as part of their mobile security strategy, with many also saying that NAC and NGFW were the most effective at threat mitigation. NGFW was also named the top network security investment for the coming year.
  • 54% of those surveyed reported they are looking to either replace or augment their current endpoint protection software.
  • Less than 50% of organizations conduct full-network active vulnerability scans more than once per quarter.

I’ll discuss the finer details of BYOD, Next-Generation Firewall and Network Access Controls in the next post. In the meantime, we’d like to hear your interpretations of this data. Share your thoughts on our social channels below on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.


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