Luca Simonelli (Europe) - Secure Your Strategy First

IT managers are struggling to respond to the ever changing landscape of business IT use.  On any given day they are confronted with the following 360-degree onslaught: a growing number of sophisticated threats and attacks, increasing demand from mobile and home-working employees, the potential Pandora’s box that is cloud computing, and the ‘small matter’ of compliance.

It is no wonder that given the above to-do list, IT decision makers are getting lost in the mire of day-to-day security fire-fighting. A recent independently-commissioned Fortinet survey of 300+ managers in mid to large-sized enterprises across Europe - charged with the responsibility of securing their organisation’s IT on a daily basis - revealed that 16% either don’t have an overarching security strategy, or have not considered one for the past three years.  60% were concerned about the ability of their organisation to protect corporate data in the brave new world of consumer-led devices.

Essentially, IT consumerisation is the growing trend for bringing personal devices into the workplace. Want to bring your iPhone and tablet into work? Ok. Want to hook up to the network? Ok. Want to make sure it’s secure? Pause: that’s somebody else’s job, surely? The rise of consumer-led IT, driven by the attractiveness and usability of applications, the computing power of tablets, and social media being used for business purposes, means IT policy is more and more dictated by the needs of employees, and by senior executives in particular.  Is it any wonder that the response from some IT decision makers to employees has become so draconian? 2/3 of respondents to our survey only allow the use of corporate mobile devices on which security policies can be directly enforced. However, on the other end of the policy scale, just over a 1/5 had handed over responsibility for securing mobile endpoints to the user/owner.

The way ahead may lie in the fact that cost effectiveness was cited in the study as one of the top two improvements needed to drive future security policy.  Everybody’s got to tighten their belts in these difficult times, we are being told. However, making smart end-to-end procurement choices that cut out unnecessary management or hardware costs would be a good start to creating a much needed joined-up approach. 

It may be no coincidence therefore that almost 70% of those IT managers questioned have already consolidated network security elements to take advantage of reduced costs, more streamlined management and tighter security.  Most interestingly, almost 80% of those say that they will carry on consolidating more security functions over the next 12 months.  Meanwhile, almost a 1/4 of managers questioned said they are going to embark on this effort for the first time this year.

It seems as though IT managers are already learning lessons in their quest to be smarter about new security challenges.  They shouldn’t stop there.  Bring control to your increasingly dynamic network and application environment with a security strategy boasting the performance, application awareness and seamless integration to contend with advanced, blended malware threats that can hit your business from any angle.

By Luca Simonelli, vice president of sales, EMEA, Fortinet


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