Rethinking Firewalls: Security and Agility for the Modern Enterprise

The purpose of the research sponsored by Guardicore is to learn how enterprises perceive their legacy firewalls within their security ecosystems on premises and in the cloud. Ponemon Institute surveyed 603 IT and IT security practitioners in the United States who are decision makers or influencers of technology decisions to protect enterprises’ critical applications and data. Respondents also are involved at different levels in purchasing or using the firewall technologies.

Legacy firewalls are ineffective in securing applications and data in the data center. Respondents were asked how effective their legacy firewalls are on a scale from 1 = not effective to 10 = very effective. Figure 1 shows the 7+ responses. According to the Figure, only 33 percent of respondents say their organizations are very or highly effective in securing applications and data in the data center. Legacy firewalls are also mostly ineffective at preventing a ransomware attack. Only 36 percent of respondents say their organizations are highly effective in preventing such an attack.

The findings of the report show the number one concern of firewall buyers is whether they can actually get next-gen firewalls to work in their environments. As organizations move into the cloud, legacy firewalls do not have the scalability, flexibility or reliability to secure these environments, driving up costs while failing to reduce the attack surface. As a result, organizations are reaching the conclusion that firewalls are simply not worth the time and effort and they’re actually negatively impacting digital transformation initiatives. This is driving a move toward modern security solutions like micro-segmentation, that can more effectively enforce security at the edge.

Following are research findings that reveal why legacy firewalls are ineffective.

Legacy firewalls are ineffective in preventing cyberattacks against applications. Only 37 percent of respondents say their organizations’ legacy firewalls’ ability to prevent cyberattacks against critical business and cloud-based applications is high or very high.

Organizations are vulnerable to a data breach. Only 39 percent of respondents say their organizations are confident that it can contain a breach of its data center perimeter.

Legacy firewalls do not protect against ransomware attacks. Only 36 percent of respondents say their legacy firewalls are highly effective at preventing a ransomware attack. Only 33 percent of respondents say their organizations are very or highly effective in securing applications and data in the data center.

Legacy firewalls are failing to enable Zero Trust across the enterprise. Only 37 percent of respondents rate their organizations’ legacy firewalls at enabling Zero Trust across the enterprise as very or highly effective.

Legacy firewalls are ineffective in securing applications and data in the cloud. Sixty-four percent of respondents say cloud security is essential (34 percent) or very important (30 percent). However, only 39 percent of respondents say the use of legacy firewalls are very or highly effective in securing applications and data in the cloud.

Legacy firewalls kill flexibility and speed. Organizations are at risk because of the lack of flexibility and speed in making changes to legacy firewalls. On average, it takes at least three weeks or more than a month to update legacy firewall rules to accommodate an update or a new application. Only 37 percent of respondents say their organizations are very flexible in making changes to its network or applications and only 24 percent of respondents say their organizations have a high ability to quickly secure new applications or change security configurations for existing applications.

Legacy firewalls limit access control and are costly to implement. Sixty-two percent of respondents say access control policies are not granular enough and almost half (48 percent of respondents) say legacy firewalls take too long to implement.

The majority of organizations in this study are ready to get rid of their legacy firewalls because of their ineffectiveness. Fifty-three percent of respondents say their organizations are ready to purchase an alternative or complementary solution. The two top reasons are the desire to have a single security solution for on-premises and cloud data center security (44 percent of respondents) and to improve their ability to reduce lateral movement and secure access to critical data (31 percent of respondents).

Firewall labor and other costs are too high. Sixty percent of respondents say their organizations would consider reducing their firewall because of the high costs. Fifty-one percent of organizations are considering a reduction in its firewall footprint because labor and other costs are too high (60 percent of respondents). In addition, 52 percent of respondents say it is because current firewalls do not provide adequate security for internal data center east-west traffic.

“The findings of the report reflect what many CISOs and security professionals already know – digital transformation has rendered the legacy firewall obsolete,” said Pavel Gurvich, co-founder and CEO, Guardicore. “As organizations adopt cloud, IoT, and DevOps to become more agile, antiquated network security solutions are not only ineffective at stopping attacks on these properties, but actually hinder the desired flexibility and speed they are hoping to attain.”

To read a full copy of the report, please visit Guardicore’s website.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *