With the adoption of cloud services, are you struggling to keep security policies in place and maintain compliance? Is the complexity of your network bogging you down?
You are not alone. According to research from ESG and Tufin, nearly two-thirds of chief information security officers (CISOs) and senior network administrators reported that network security has become more difficult over the last two years. While these organizations are making massive changes to their IT infrastructure, they continue to depend on manual processes for their network security operations, which puts more stress on employees and creates a game of constant catch up.
The increasing difficulty around managing heterogeneous network environments has raised new challenges as companies make the transition from physical to virtual networking. Cloud and software defined networking (SDN), two things many enterprises are adopting to make IT infrastructure more flexible and cost effective, are making CISOs’ jobs harder.
The survey identified numerous factors that are complicating security operations. Here are the top three drivers of network complexity:
- Addition of more devices to the network (55 percent)
- Increases in the number of networking and security technologies in use (52 percent)
- The deployment of numerous new applications (50 percent)
To improve network security management, enterprise IT professionals should look to greater automation and converged management.
Breaking Things Down: SDN and Cloud
SDN adoption is only going to increase. Our survey confirms this: 79 percent of organizations are committed to SDN as a long-term strategy and are already implementing various technologies or conducting proofs of concept. And 51 percent reported that two or more SDN technologies are already in use in some capacity within their organizations today. CISOs need a strategy to manage security and compliance as they transition to SDN environments.
As for the cloud, 91 percent of organizations are actively using cloud-based infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and/or platform-as-a-service (PaaS) as part of their IT strategy, and 61 percent of organizations currently use multiple public cloud services. In addition, 23 percent of respondents admitted that their traditional physical security controls don’t align well with cloud computing, and another 23 percent indicated that their network security operations tools weren’t designed for cloud computing. With such a large percentage of organizations having already migrated at least some of their practices to the cloud, simplification, alignment, and better practices around managing heterogeneous networks and automation are desperately needed.
Skills are Lacking
Unfortunately, cloud, SDN, and security skills among employees are not where they should be. In fact, 49 percent of organizations currently operating a private cloud, using public cloud services, or both, don’t feel that their security team has the right level of cloud-computing skills to provide the same network security controls and oversight that it does for physical infrastructure. This is directly hindering the management of applications and information in the cloud, and making what should be a simple experience much more difficult.
As networks become more complex, security policy automation and orchestration – that is, the coordination of automated tasks – are becoming increasingly important. While 85 percent of survey respondents agree that automation is important, only 23 percent of those organizations feel confident in their current level of cloud orchestration. Looking at the data, it’s evident that while CISOs understand the benefits of automation and orchestration, they aren’t able to use them to their full potential.
The survey results reveal that there is a need for greater automation, centralized management, and security operations across physical, virtual, and hybrid cloud platforms.
To address these needs, many businesses benefit from automating the delivery of network security. Changes in network security can be monitored easily and flagged when change processes of firewalls and routers are automated. Automation also increases the efficiency of operations, as security and connectivity checks are “baked” into the automation process. As a result, businesses see a decrease in errors due to misconfiguration and a reduction in security risk.
Managing heterogeneous networks without the right tools is impossible, and moving from on-prem to the cloud is an ongoing struggle for many organizations. Are you seeing similar issues in your cloud environment? If so, implementing automation and orchestration can help address these challenges.
Ruvi Kitov is co-founder and CEO of Tufin, the leading provider of Security Policy Orchestration solutions. Since Tufin’s founding in 2005, Ruvi has led the company through successful growth and product development, quickly gaining more than 1,700 customers among the world’s largest enterprises; Tufin is recognized as a market leader with consistent revenue growth, resulting in top rankings in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 and other awards.
With more than 18 years of industry experience, Ruvi previously served in key project management and development roles at Check Point Software. He graduated Cum Laude with a degree in Computer Science from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Subscribe to Data Informed for the latest information and news on big data and analytics for the enterprise, plus get instant access to more than 20 eBooks.