Posted on Feb 11th, 2014 by Julie Shafiki

Following on from our blog on the changing landscape of network security operations in the financial services sector, we thought we'd highlight some of the key attitudes in the telecoms/ technology sector.

It's clear that in yet another key industry sector – we focused on the public sector, telecoms and financial – IT and security operations teams in large companies are battling with increasingly complex IT networks which is changing their approach to network security.

The findings below are based on research we conducted with 164 senior IT and business decision-makers in the UK and US industries to discuss how management of network operations is changing. The key points make interesting reading:

  • The growth of automated network management: 66% of telecoms companies think security policy management across the network will move from a manual process to become more automated over the next few years. A lot of this has to do with business agility. In a world where organizations are increasingly relying on enterprise applications like ERPs or financial transaction software that run on the network, DevOps teams can't wait weeks for network access approval to make enhancements.
  • Moving beyond firewalls to end-to-end network coordination: 92% of telecoms companies felt that coordination of security policy across the entire network is “essential”. In fact, many see the need for end-to-end policy management at a network device level. Telecoms networks may have up to thousands of devices – each with 100s of rules and each device needs to be managed to control network access. With the cost of one mistaken rule change having the potential to lead to downtime, it's easy to see why.
  • Burdened by system complexity: Similarly as the number of devices from multiple vendors gets bigger, 66% of telecoms/ tech respondents said that system complexity was the number one root cause which jeopardizes/ undermines IT security.
  • Firewall outages are a problem: Firewalls help to zone off key areas of your network, yet just under a third (28%) of telecoms/tech companies had suffered from 5 or more firewall outages in the last 12 months – the equivalent of one every other month. With firewall outages having the potential to disrupt vital areas like customer service - it's certainly a concern.
  • Human error happens: The technology and telecoms sectors are wasting a lot of time on redoing manual network changes. Around a quarter (24%) of respondents admitted to having to redo above 60% of their firewall changes because they were incorrect. Surely that's a drain on resources that could be used elsewhere?