Security fragmentation needs to end

A new week, a new rash of attacks against security vendors, email marketers and banks. It would be easy to point fingers and laugh at the irony, especially in the case of security vendors, but that would be both petty and shortsighted.

More on network security problems: 10 of the Worst Moments in Network Security History

The stark reality is that security breaches can, will and do happen to everyone. For every security control and process we put in place, somewhere else there's a vulnerability, a weakness, an untrained employee or a path of least resistance for an attack. All the point solutions in the world are not going to make us any more secure. What we desperately need is a new model for integrating security solutions across vendors, across devices, across operating systems and across the globe.

Companies today are faced with a fundamental security conundrum. Their networks, applications and end-user devices are made up of a patchwork of dozens if not hundreds of vendor solutions. Each vendor may offer security features in their apps, security appliances, or even an entire range of security solutions. None of them really interoperate with any of the other vendors' security solutions (not unless you consider LDAP and syslog to be interoperability). None of them work on other vendor network devices. In most cases, security solutions from the same vendor don't even coordinate among themselves. As a result, companies are left with no choice but to try and patch security fragments together and hope nothing slips through the cracks.

To add insult to injury, the vendors continue to unveil the latest and greatest security "vision", pretending the entire world is made up of single vendor deployments, just like their lab. Startups rush in to fill the gaps, re-inventing the wheel for each aspect of their product - building a policy engine, a reporting engine, a set of compliance reports, directory integration and logging - all proprietary, closed and insular. Entire security "sectors" ramp up overnight to address a single new type of attack, creating new categories and solutions so narrowly focused they don't deserve to be features, let alone products or even industry sectors. The larger vendors acquire, re-engineer, absorb and half-integrate the solutions, about two to three years too late to catch up with the bad guys. Rinse and repeat.

Well, it's not working. Consider how much money is spent every year on information security and then look at how easily these attacks seem to be. The victims of security breaches are not just the Internet newbies and rubes, but some of the most sophisticated companies in the world. They suffer breaches despite spending enormous amounts of money, effort and attention on security.

The bottom line is that customers have all the power. Stop buying fragmented security point-solutions and magic bullets. Stop buying proprietary systems. Stop buying "end-to-end" security where both ends (and everything in between) have to be from the same vendor. Challenge insular vendors. Demand open standards and open protocols with support from multiple vendors, or take your money elsewhere. The security industry is broken and only customers can fix it.

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securitydata breachlegalanti-malwarecybercrime

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Andreas M. Antonopoulos

Network World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?