Firewalls remain the heart of the cybersecurity toolset, and are central to most network defense strategies, according to the recently released State of the Firewall Report. Based on a survey of over 600 IT security practitioners, the study shows the firewall is as embedded as ever in modern network security strategies.
A robust 91 percent of the security experts said firewalls are as critical as ever, and the same percentage believe this trend will continue for the next half decade. As for Next Generation Firewalls (NGFWs), they represent at least 50 percent of all firewalls deployed in almost half of the companies surveyed.
This represents a significant increase from last year’s 34 percent. On the other hand, next-gen devices make up all the firewalls in only 12% of surveyed companies. This rate of market penetration is dramatically slower than manufacturers projected.
Only 6.7 percent of companies with still operate without NGFWs.
The study’s results also show a growing perception of value in firewalls with two-thirds of respondents stating that firewalls are somewhat (38.9%) or highly valuable (28.8%) to the cloud services they manage—a 10% increase over 2015.
The study’s conclusions are in line with other industry reports that show how central firewalls still remain to network defense and management. The InformationWeek 2015 Strategic Security Survey saw 61 percent of security professionals reporting firewalls among their top three products on their security tool belt, and the number one tool by about 25 percentage points.
There has also been increased adoption of the advanced firewall features available with NGFWs, including intrusion prevention, threat data integration and malware control.
Almost half of respondents admit that the firewall challenges they most frequently face are optimizing rule-sets, managing firewall changes and meeting best practice configuration. These results show that firewalls continue to require constant tuning to thwart new kinds of attacks, software and hardware upgrades, and literally full time monitoring.
Overtaxed IT departments are generally not staffed to assign full-time management to the organization’s information security toolset, much less round-the-clock monitoring of security logs. And as Software-Defined Networking, micro-segmentation, and other emerging infrastructure models take hold, the need for proactive management of edge security will grow exponentially.
Outsourcing security management remains an increasingly logical and cost-effective option—for many companies, the only viable way to bolster the security of their most vital information.
Image Source: Firemon