Businesses at Risk Due to Unidentified Network Traffic

Sophos , a global leader in network and endpoint security, today announced the findings of its global survey, The Dirty Secrets of Network Firewalls, which revealed that IT managers cannot identify 45 percent of their organization’s network traffic. In fact, nearly one-in-four cannot identify 70 per cent of their network traffic. The lack of visibility creates significant security challenges for today’s businesses and impacts effective network management. The survey polled more than 2,700 IT decision makers from mid-sized businesses in 10 countries including the US, Canada, Mexico, France, Germany, UK, Australia, Japan, India, and South Africa. It was conducted by Vanson Bourne, an independent specialist in market research, in October and November 2017.

Considering the debilitating impact cyber-attacks can have on a business, it’s unsurprising that 84 percent of respondents agree that a lack of application visibility is a serious security concern. Without the ability to identify what’s running on their network, IT managers are blind to ransomware, unknown malware, data breaches and other advanced threats, as well as potentially malicious applications and rogue users. Network firewalls with signature-based detection are unable to provide adequate visibility into application traffic due to a variety of factors such as the increasing use of encryption, browser emulation, and advanced evasion techniques.

On average, organizations spend seven working days remediating 16 infected machines per month. Smaller organizations (100-1,000 users) spend on average five working days remediating 13 machines, while larger organizations (1,001-5,000 users) spend on average 10 working days remediating 20 machines per month, according to the survey.

Following security risks, lost productivity was cited as a concern for 52 per cent of respondents when it comes to a lack of network visibility. Business productivity can be negatively impacted if IT is unable to prioritize bandwidth for critical applications. 

50 percent of IT professionals who had invested in custom applications admitted that their firewall could not identify the traffic and therefore were unable to maximize their return on investment. Lack of visibility also creates a blind spot for the potential transfer of illegal or inappropriate content on corporate networks, making companies vulnerable to litigation and compliance issues.

“To protect investments made into business-critical and custom applications, organizations need a network firewall that allows employees to access applications they require,” said Bansal. “Network visibility has changed to adopt a very different approach. Now, organizations can directly receive information from the network firewall and are able to now positively identify employees and allow access,” shared by Sumit Bansal, Managing Director of ASEAN and Korea at Sophos.

The Dirty Secrets of Network Firewalls survey results are available in a PDF report.

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