Nearly Two-Thirds Of Enterprises Deploy Personal Firewalls: Survey

Most firms, though, deploy them in only limited ways, Forrester says.

March 9, 2005

2 Min Read
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With growing numbers of remote and mobile users, small businesses and enterprises alike have found that personal firewalls are a necessity, according to new report from Forrester Research. However, personal firewall deployment has been incomplete and many companies remain vulnerable to Trojan horses and worms.

Indeed, Forrester found that 63% of the firms surveyed for its report "Personal Firewall Adoption in 2005" have deployed the software, but in fairly restricted contexts. Some 18% have only installed personal firewalls on laptop systems, and another 18% only on remote and mobile computers. Forrester senior analyst and report author David Friedlander notes that this could be a serious oversight and that "desktops that never leave the corporate LAN are still at risk."

Moreover, Friedlander writes that, while the organizations surveyed rated viruses and worms as their most serious security threats, they are not always prepared to invest in the appropriate tools to defend against them. Though 57% of companies plan to invest in anti-virus software and 65% will buy anti-spyware tools this year, Friedlander observes that these are the wrong tools to defend against malicious code. However, only 46% of enterprises and 32% of small and medium-sized businesses plan to invest in the personal firewall products that can prevent virus an d worm infection in the first place.

Ultimately, while personal firewalls are absolutely essential for mobile systems that log onto the corporate network from hotels, cafes and airport concourses, Friedlander says that companies that ignore the risk to desktop systems do so at their own peril. Personal firewalls are as necessary on the desktop as anywhere.

"The idea that desktops don't need personal firewalls because they don't leave the network is no longer valid," he writes. "Desktop computers become vulnerable to malicious code the second a remote machine plugs back into the corporate network. A desktop is only reasonably safe if an organization has no remote systems; however, for most companies, this is not possible."

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