When we commissioned the Ponemon Institute to examine the efficacy of emerging security technologies, it was on more than just a hunch that reality falls short of promised protections. As a long time security vendor and purveyor of these next generation firewalls and intrusion prevention systems that make up the emerging security technology sector, we at Juniper wanted to understand how efficient these defenses have been against the threats of this past year.
In honesty, it came as no surprise to us that over 4700 participating IT professionals and security practitioners, spanning practically every vertical of business and government worldwide, told the Ponemon Institute that despite current security investments, they put their cybersecurity posture at a 4.7 on a scale where 10 is most secure. In fact, 60 percent of organizations had one or more breaches in the last year according to the report.
Perhaps these findings came as no surprise to you as well. After all, cyberattack prevention has become the stuff of Presidential State of the Union Addresses and World Economic Forum charters. The fact is that today’s hackers are highly organized, motivated and thanks to cloud and SDN, now have virtually unlimited compute and attack surfaces with which to work. This puts most firms at a disadvantage relative to their attackers, and so continued exposure is just the new norm right?
Well not exactly. The detailed responses of the study actually bring to light some very interesting explanations as to security efficacy or inefficiency as is the case.
Firms reported for instance high awareness of the evolving threat landscape (67percent) and investment in emerging security technology for application control, firewalling and intrusion prevention. The majority (53 percent) also reported that the deployment of NGFWs is to deal predominantly with the inside-out threat, that is the prevention of data exfiltration from infected user devices. When asked however about use of this technology to stop threats, the majority (53 percent) of firms said that their next generation firewalls (NGFW) are deployed in monitor only (non-blocking mode) because of concerns with blocking legitimate traffic and reducing application performance.
At the same time when asked about their biggest security concern, 56% of firms identified the need to secure web traffic as top of list. Further, when asked about the top three most serious attacks faced by organizations, respondents reiterated their concerns with outside-in attacks on web applications and data centers:
To deal with this outside-in threat to web servers and applications, organizations may turn to web application firewalls. But most firms told Ponemon that WAFs too are typically deployed in non-blocking mode because of high false positive rates.
Looking at this data the picture that emerges is one of great vulnerability. Emerging security technologies are inefficient at blocking organizations’ biggest threats – attacks on web assets. At Juniper, we’re architecting the way forward for web application security. Our experience securing the world’s most complex networks has given us unique insight on what’s needed to raise the security efficacy bar. I urge you to read this Ponemon study and if you find yourself among the majority of respondents, tune in to our RSA announcements to see what how Juniper is tackling the challenge.
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