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New Research Warns IT: Network Controls at Risk

MILPITAS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- ConSentry Networks today announces the results of a new Loudhouse Research survey, which reveals the pressures IT decision makers face as organizations begin to open up their networks to cross-functional users, third-parties, more diverse applications, and a plethora of corporate, personal, and non-user IP devices in an effort to reap greater operational gains and lower expenses. This multi-dimensional growth--or "LAN sprawl"--places so many new demands on the network that the vast majority of IT decision-makers surveyed (72 percent) acknowledge a need to improve security in their environments. A Yankee Group report, also released today, contends that incorporating context into the LAN can help IT resolve the challenges associated with LAN sprawl.

The Loudhouse LAN Sprawl survey, conducted in June 2009, is based on 200 interviews with IT decision makers from mid-sized (250+employees) to large enterprises (1000+employees) across the US (100) and UK (100) regions. Key survey findings:

  • 93 percent say that users are now more likely to require access to different parts of the network at different times for business reasons.
  • 92 percent of respondents see an increase in the need to manage users with multiple profiles/IDs to support cross-functional needs of their organization.
  • 66 percent say the proliferation of devices and applications make it harder to audit the networks.
  • Two-thirds of IT decision makers polled believe that decisions to innovate business processes are often made without considering the impact to the network.

IT decision makers cited several areas where they needed to improve the level of control as a result of these dynamics in their network environments. The majority of respondents highlighted the need for improved control over security (72 percent), access to specific areas/job functions (68 percent), access to specific applications (65 percent), general user access (64 percent), and ad-hoc network access (63 percent).

The Yankee Group report warns that IT is challenged to maintain control over access to critical assets in response to LAN sprawl. To reap the business benefits of open LAN environments, the report concludes, the network infrastructure must evolve to provide greater visibility and control.

When asked how IT managers could improve network control, Yankee Group's senior vice president Zeus Kerravala said, "As the mix of users, applications, and devices continues to diversify and grow, corporate assets are at increased risk, so the onus is on IT to build more sophisticated networks that provide context about what is connecting to the network. This context-awareness must also include understanding the relationships among users, applications, and devices and the impact that environmental factors such as location and time of day can have on these interactions. Without this level of visibility, IT will not have the means for controlling the LAN sprawl so prevalent in companies today."

Multi-Dimensional Growth Leads to LAN Sprawl

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