Application security is top priority for organizations, F5 report says

Application security remains number one on the list of priorities among different organizations, according to the 2017 State of Application Delivery (SOAD) report released by F5 Networks in early February.

F5 Networks surveyed more than 2,000 respondents consisting of IT, networking, application, and security professionals spanning a wide range of industries from government to financial services.

According to the survey, more and more businesses and institutions are looking into more advanced security solutions for their applications, going beyond traditional firewalls and enterprise solutions.

A quarter of the respondents are looking into the deployment of DNSSEC. Domain Name System Security Extensions, or DNSSEC, provide origin authority, data integrity and authenticated denial of existence.

With DNSSEC, the DNS protocol is much less susceptible to attacks such as DNS spoofing by providing digital signatures on websites and hosted applications that can be verified. Traffic that does not have the required digital signatures is automatically blocked from access.

More than 21 percent of the respondents opted for DDoS mitigation solutions. These are tools for resisting Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks which hinder application performance or shutting it down completely.

DDoS mitigation tools first define traffic patterns to discern normal from questionable activity, and then placing the proper action for dealing with potential attacks.

Another 20 percent of those surveyed are looking into web application firewall (WAF) deployments.

A web application firewall filters through traffic and block questionable traffic through and from the application. The WAF is able to filter specific web apps and are able to prevent attacks borne out of security flaws and misconfigurations.

In the Philippines, mobile penetration is at 117 percent, with ICT spending growing by eight to 10 percent in 2016 while IoT spending is projected to grow 14 times to USD 766 million by 2020. This increased connectivity among businesses and institutions come with an increased level of threat to security.

According to F5 Networks Country Manager Oscar Visaya, the Philippine government and local businesses are keen on bolstering security efforts.

F5 Networks Country Manager Oscar Visaya

The company was part of the first Privacy Summit in the Philippines, an initiative which aims to educate the government and the private sector regarding privacy and data security. The government also expressed that it is currently drafting cyber security plans which will be implemented by 2022.

Visaya notes that the country has a very liberal approach when it comes to embracing technology which is both positive and negative in terms of being literate on data privacy and cyber security. He adds that there should be a paradigm-shift when it comes to handling such issues.

This pattern is consistent to world averages with organizations reporting of having 14 app services deployed at a time, up from an average of 11 app services in the same period the year before. Said organizations also expressed their plans to deploy an average of 17 app services within the next 12 months.

According to the SOAD report, this increased reliance on cloud systems whether solely public, private, or hybrid, will “usher in an era of cloud expertise” for 2017. Four out of five respondents have adopted a hybrid cloud which connects private cloud systems to third party public cloud infrastructure which is orchestrated through different solutions and tools.

Nearly 32 percent of respondents state that they will purchase public cloud IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) solutions within this year which is up by 25 percent from last year.

F5 Network’s official statement says that “the more apps a company has deployed, the greater motivation to reap the operational benefits of the cloud, with respondents running the largest number of applications (3,000+) [sic] reporting the highest percentage of apps in the cloud.”

With businesses and institutions gaining interest in offloading some of their processes to the cloud, there is a drive to increase operational scalability and programmability.

Private and public sector applications are now seeing application scalability, agility, lower OpEx and shorter development and time to market times as very important in both DevOps (software development and information technology operations) and SDN (software-defined networking) frameworks with organizations turning to automation and orchestration to scale their operations faster and more efficiently.

Over half of the respondents view both API-enabled infrastructures and templates as important, up from 31 percent for infrastructures and 22 percent for templates last year.

To make application development and deployment more streamlined, companies have an increased tendency towards standardization, with 39 percent of respondents relying on only one framework this year compared to last year’s results.

With a larger demand for application delivery networking services in the Philippines and the Asia Pacific region, F5 Networks is looking to increase their foothold in the market.

“Applications are becoming central to Asia Pacific’s business strategies as the on-demand economy increasingly calls for speed and efficiency. (…) More than ever, the 2017 State of Application Delivery study shows that a new dynamic has emerged as this shift towards faster, smarter and safer customer experiences means that businesses are increasingly relying on a mobile and application-centric IT for a tech-savvy workforce,” said Emmanuel Bonnassie, Senior Vice President for F5 Networks Asia Pacific.

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