Growing Need for Network Access Control

By | June 20, 2005

With network security in the spotlight due to recent data breaches, chief security officers and security executives highlight the need for tighter user access control and continued concern about security threats and patching, despite increased security budgets.

The results were revealed during seminar series conducted by Vernier Networks and Qualys, where top enterprise and government security executives were surveyed about their approaches to network security and budget trends.

The survey highlights the fact that 51 percent chief security officers (CSOs) relay on the “doorman” approach to internet network security, regulating network access by admitting users at the network edge. This approach gives users full, unmonitored access to the network and servers containing corporate data, customer information and other vital intellectual property, once they get past endpoint security, or the “doorman.”

Key findings of the survey include: 36 percent rely on a “VIP Entrance” approach to network access, which identifies users and “accompanies” them around the network to ensure they do not access unauthorized areas. 13 percent admit to a “revolving door” approach — with users coming on and off the network as they please. The results revealed that relying solely on a “doorman” approach, which does not monitor behavior once a user has accessed the network, is not proving sufficient. 62 percent of CSOs acknowledged that their organizations faced intrusions from internal sources — those who were granted access by the “doorman.”

88 percent of CSOs felt that tighter user access rights would improve overall network security — either restricting network access or even authorizing network access but applying reactive security measures when intrusions occur. 52 percent of respondents do not currently track new systems that enter the network. However, 62 percent plan on implementing a system process to track systems entering the network within the next year.

69 percent of security execs said that worms, viruses and hackers are still their primary network security concern. The survey found that 49 percent patch externally facing servers within one week or less and 29 percent patch within two weeks.

“It has become clear that security around the network perimeter, while essential, is not sufficient to rid organizations from costly intrusions such as last week´s attacks on credit card processing centers and commercial banks,” said Simon Khalaf, president and CEO of Vernier Networks. “Our survey results indicate the immediate need to offer security within the fabric of the network and completely manage access to the network through pre-emptive, proactive and reactive security.”

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