Security Breaches Keep Network Teams Busy

Network Instruments study shows that network engineers are spending more of their day responding to breaches and deploying security controls.

Marcia Savage

March 30, 2015

2 Min Read
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This should come as no big surprise to most network teams. As security breaches and threats proliferate, they're spending a lot of time dealing with security issues, according to a study released Monday.

Network Instruments' eighth annual state of the network report shows that network engineers are increasingly consumed with security chores, including investigating security breaches and implementing security controls. Of the 322 network engineers, IT directors and CIOs surveyed worldwide, 85% said their organization's network team was involved in security. Twenty percent of those polled said they spend 10 to 20 hours per week on security issues.

Figure 1:

Almost 70% said the time they spend on security has increased over the past 12 months; nearly a quarter of respondents said the time spend increased by more than 25%.

The top two security activities keeping networking engineers busy are implementing preventative measures and investigating attacks, according to the report. Flagging anomalies and cleaning up after viruses or worms also are other top time sinks for network teams.

"Network engineers are being pulled into every aspect of security,” Brad Reinboldt, senior product manager for Network Instruments, the performance management unit of JDSU, said in a prepared statement.

Figure 2:

Network teams are drawn into security investigations and preparedness as high-profile security breaches continue to make headlines. Last year, news of the Target breach was followed by breach reports from a slew of big-name companies, including Neiman Marcus, Home Depot, and Michaels.

A report issued last September by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Experian showed that data breaches are becoming more frequent. Of the 567 US executives surveyed, 43 percent said they had experienced a data breach, up from 33% in a similar survey in 2013. Sixty percent said their company had suffered more than one data breach in the past two years, up from 52% in 2013.

According to Network Instruments' study, syslogs were as the top method for detecting security issues, with 67% of survey respondents reporting using them. Fifty-seven percent use SNMP while 54% said they use anomalies for uncovering security problems.

In terms of security challenges, half of the survey respondents ranked correlating security and network performance as their biggest problem.

The study also found that more than half of those polled expect bandwidth to grow by more than 51% next year, up from the 37% from last year's study who expected that kind of growth. Several factors are driving the demand, including users with multiple devices, larger data files, and unified communications applications, according to the report.

The survey also queried network teams about their adoption of emerging technologies. It found that year-over-year implementation rates for 40 Gigabit Ethernet, 100GbE, and software-defined networking hve alomost doubled. One technology that isn't gaining traction among those polled is 25 GbE, with more than 62% saying they have no plans for it.

About the Author(s)

Marcia Savage

Executive Editor, Network Computing

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