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Firewalls Top Purchase Priority In 2010, Survey Says

Mobile computing, social networks, cloud computing named as the top three threats
IT professionals rank mobile computing the number one security threat today, followed by social networks, and cloud computing. But they expect cloud computing to bump social networking for the number two spot within the next two years, a new survey found.

The survey of IT pros and C-level executives from 450 Fortune 1000 companies -- commissioned by FishNet Security -- also found that 45 percent say firewalls are their priority security purchase, followed by antivirus (39 percent), and authentication (31 percent) and anti-malware tools (31 percent).

"The most surprising takeaway is the view that their biggest spend was on firewalls," says Gary Fish, CEO of FishNet Security. "My thinking on that is no one is really buying into the [belief] that if you made your databases secure and your internal network secure, the perimeter could conceivably go away. The first line of defense is still the perimeter -- even though you have alarm systems on houses you don't purposely leave the door open just because you have the alarm systems."

Nearly 70 percent say mobile computing is the biggest threat to security today, closely followed by social networks (68 percent), and cloud computing platforms (35 percent). Around 65 percent rank mobile computing the top threat in the next two years, and 62 percent say cloud computing will be the biggest threat, bumping social networks.

Why the shift? Fish says it may be that organizations are looking more closely at cloud services in the near future, so thus their concerns about the threats. "No one is going to use a social network to break in to a network. But organizations are concerned .. about what types of information people are putting out there," he says.

"They are possibly thinking that they are not implementing the cloud right now ... but this tells me they plan on it," he says. "And social networking is something that's happening [in these organizations] now."

The respondents were fairly fatalistic about breaches: more than 90 percent of the respondents expect the number of data breaches to increase, and nearly 60 percent expect theft or loss of mobile devices to make up the majority of breaches. Around 54 percent say organized cybercrime would be the source of most breaches, and 52 percent, accidental data exposure.

And half say the number of breaches caused by third-party contractors would decrease. Fish attributes that to organizations getting better at securing the inside of the enterprise. A full copy of the report is available here for download.

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