Posted on Jan 7th, 2014 by Julie Shafiki

We recently conducted a research study in which we asked 106 senior IT and business decision-makers in the UK and US financial services industries about the changing face of network security operations.

The results show in companies of 1000 employees or more, IT and security teams are facing increasingly complex IT networks and are changing their approach to network orchestration. The key points make interesting reading:

  • Coordination of security policy across entire network is 'essential': 84% of financial service respondents feel that coordination of security policy across the entire network is now “essential”. Today, they see the need to handle end-to-end policy management across the entire network for areas including switches, routers, application delivery controllers, servers and applications, not just centered on configuration of firewalls and risk assessment.
  • Network management moving towards automation: A move towards automation is keenly felt in the financial services sector with 70% of companies believing that security policy management across the network will become more automated over the next few years.
  • Frequent firewall outages: Firewall outages are worryingly common in this sector.  Over one third (36%) of financial services companies have experienced more than five outages in the last 12 months – the equivalent of nearly one every other month. 17% said they'd experienced 11 or more outages last year.
  • Human error common: A quarter of respondents confess to having to redo more than 60% of their firewall changes because of improper implementation. This would negatively affect business agility and significantly slow network access.
  • Application related changes increase burden: Nearly half of financial services companies say that over 60% of their network changes are application related. As networks become increasingly complex, we expect this figure to rise steadily. However, the deployment of effective security policy orchestration will enable the management of these changes to be more agile and effective.

SIX Swiss Exchange Case Study