Survey shows uncontrolled network access causing CTOs sleepless nights

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A survey of more than 200 CTOs has revealed that internal security protection within the Local Area Network (LAN) is currently UK organisations Achilles heel, leaving them open to dangers such as loss or theft of sensitive information, fraud and litigation.

Employees with unrestricted access to all LAN assets was the number one concern for CTOs. Rounding out the top concerns were controlling contractors, protecting against malware, and documenting user activity. Together, these issues represented almost 70% of near-term investment plans to improve internal security.

This focus isnt surprising, given that nearly half (47%) of respondents had either very basic or no network access restrictions in place. Meanwhile, almost half (44%) admitted to having little or no LAN auditing capability, leaving themselves with no formal records should litigation take place. In addition, they have no way to verify what suspect users, such as those announcing theyre leaving a company, have done on the LAN with regard to accessing inappropriate materials.

ConSentry Networks, the leader in secure switching, surveyed the CTOs in April to explore attitudes towards security threats and priorities for future investment. Many respondents oversee IT for large organisations - 48% had more than 500 staff, whilst 34% had more than 2,000 staff. A broad range of industries were also represented telecoms (44%), public sector (22%), financial (19%), manufacturing (12%), retail (12%) and pharmaceutical (10%).

Additional findings that illustrate many organisations current vulnerabilities include:

* License to Look when asked where respondents felt they had to invest more heavily, Controlling access to the network was the top priority. Restricting access for guests and contractors and Controlling what information employees can reach each generated 18% of responses this shows an awareness of the need to protect the LAN. However

* Enemy at the Gates when asked about their level of confidence in perimeter security that would protect against external threats, nearly one fifth (19%) said they had little or no confidence

* The Devil Inside there was even less confidence around internal security, as nearly a third of respondents (30%) had little or no confidence

* Communication Breakdown - nearly one fifth (17%) of respondents admitted to only meeting heads of strategic functions such as Sales, HR and Finance on either a six-monthly or annual basis, leaving them out of touch with the business evolving technology needs

CONSENTRY RESPONSE

This survey highlights the degree to which the concern has moved inside the LAN. Controlling not just who can come onto the LAN but also what users can do once theyre on it is crucial to protecting business assets. With all the hype around Network Admission Control (NAC), one key element is missing in the discussion: how do you control what resources users are allowed to access? Most NAC products today provide simple Network Admission Control knowing whether the user should be allowed on the LAN and scanning the machine for malware. These survey findings illustrate that NAC doesnt go far enough. To control employee access, organisations need a means for understanding the user, the users role, all activities the user is attempting, and applying policy to determine which of those activities should be allowed.

COMMENTARY

Tom Barsi, CEO, ConSentry Networks The need for identity-based control is pervasive companies of all kinds are struggling with how to limit what their employees can access. This data validates that the battleground has shifted toward internal control and that it applies to controlling employees not just what outsiders like guests and contractors can access.

 

About ConSentry Networks

ConSentry Networks delivers secure switching, enabling enterprises to control every user and secure every port on the LAN through its LANShield product familythe LANShield Switch, LANShield Controller, and InSight Command Center. More than 100 enterprises today rely on ConSentrys award-winning secure-switching platforms to protect their corporate assets, ensure continuity of operations, and dramatically reduce the risk of security breaches. ConSentry is backed by blue-chip venture capital firms Accel Partners, DAG Ventures, INVESCO Private Capital, and Sequoia Capital; and is headquartered in Milpitas, California.

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