Continued consolidation and convergence of security solutions from best-of-breed to suite products will reduce the cost of security for enterprise IT departments over the next five years, Gartner announced at its Symposium/ITxpo today in Orlando. By 2010, only 10 percent of emerging security threats will require the deployment of a best-of-breed security solution, compared to 80 percent in 2005.
"As information security threats and technologies for dealing with them mature, these activities should be turned over to the operations side of the IT organization," says Neil MacDonald, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "An information security organization should be focused on new emerging threats and technologies. This requires the information security team to let go of the more routine, mundane threat protection technologies, and focus on what they do best...effectively manage new threats."
Security suites are those solutions that integrate antivirus, antispyware, personal firewall, and host intrusion prevention systems (HIPS). According to a recent Forrester report, 80 percent of companies use antispyware or antivirus tools on at least some systems, but are not using full-suite products. This means they lack the firewalls and HIPS necessary to provide adequate protection. The combination of companies not deploying firewalls or HIPS supplements to their IT department and the emerging complexity of malicious code will lead to a shift to purchase security suite solutions, according to Gartner. In addition, security suites can be managed together, unlike multiple best-of-breed tools that require separate management consoles.
Security is only half the battle. Improvements in process discipline within IT organizations will be the second-largest contributor to the convergence of technology, according to Gartner. Just as business processes are key to the success of the business, defining the security processes is key to securing the business. Four security processes, network access control, intrusion prevention, vulnerability management, and ID/access management are the best approaches to improving security effectiveness. "To get more secure and to spend less, enterprises should focus on process, not products," MacDonald says. "Business should increase the efficiency of the security program either by reducing the percentage of revenue that goes toward security spending or increasing the amount of protection from established security spending levels--and also increase the effectiveness of the security program."
Unattended computers are a perfect example, according to Jay Heiser, research vice president at Gartner. "Unattended PCs represent the computer security equivalent of low-hanging fruit," he says. "Organizations are protecting their systems and personnel against external security threats, but failing to realize the very risk that exists internally from something as basic as an unattended PC."
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