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Sophos Survey: 45% of IT Managers Cannot Identify Network Traffic

Network visibility challenges plague many organizations around the globe, according to a survey of more than 2,700 IT managers conducted by British network and endpoint security solutions firm Sophos.

The research certainly aligns with a major Sophos push to provide firewalls as part of end-to-end security solutions designed for MSPs and MSSPs. It may also set the stage for heightened competition with SonicWall.

Key findings from Sophos' "The Direct Secrets of Network Firewalls" global survey included:

  • 84 percent of IT managers said a lack of application visibility is a serious security concern.
  • 52 percent are concerned about productivity loss from unwanted or unnecessary applications that they cannot see on their network.
  • IT managers cannot identify 45 percent of their organization's network traffic.
  • Nearly 25 percent of IT managers cannot identify 70 percent of their network traffic.

The survey also highlighted several network firewall trends, such as:

  • Firewalls often fail to protect organizations against cyberattacks. Organizations suffer an average of 16 infected computers per month, and 79 percent of IT managers want better protection from their firewall.
  • Lack of visibility into network traffic is an ongoing issue. A lack of visibility into network traffic raises security, productivity and accountability concerns, and 85 percent of IT managers want their firewall to deliver better network visibility.
  • Ineffective firewalls are costly and time-consuming.  It takes on average of 3.3 hours to identify, isolate and remediate infected computers, and 99 percent of IT managers agree it would be useful if their firewall could isolate infected machines automatically.

A lack of network visibility creates a blind spot for the potential transfer of illegal or inappropriate content on corporate networks, Sophos indicated. However, using a firewall that provides employees with prioritized access to their applications ensures an organization can identify all applications, at all times.

How Does Sophos Help Organizations Address Network Visibility Concerns?

Not by coincidence, Sophos now offers the XG Firewall to provide organizations with visibility across applications, networks and users.

The XG Firewall instantly identifies and isolates infected systems and automatically responds to security incidents, according to Sophos. It also uses deep learning, sandboxing and other advanced cybersecurity technologies to expose hidden risks and stop unknown threats.

Furthermore, the XG Firewall features Synchronized App Control, which automatically identifies all unknown applications. Synchronized App Control enables organizations to quickly prioritize and block apps as needed, Sophos pointed out.

The firewall push may trigger heightened competition with SonicWall. A recent Sophos blog alleges that some SonicWall partners are switching to Sophos. But we haven't seen specific examples in the market. Plus, both Sophos and SonicWall are enjoying serious growth with their MSP and MSSP partner bases, according to our ongoing coverage.

Security Market Evolution and Sophos Central for MSPs

Arctic Wolf hires Daniel Schiappa
Sophos SVP and GM, Products, Daniel Schiappa

The firewall push comes as Sophos evolves to address several security market shifts, according to Dan Schiappa, senior VP and general manager, products. The four major shifts include major moves from:

  • traditional anti-virus to machine learning;
  • point products to bundles, suites, and defense in depth solutions;
  • alerts and logs to SIEM; and
  • multiple console management to a true SOC (security operations center) approach.

Amid those shifts, Sophos also is accelerating a march toward APIs -- which will allow third-party tools to increasingly integrate with Sophos Central and more, Schiappa indicates.

Overall, Sophos supplies security solutions that protect the networks used by 100 million people and 100,000 businesses. It also helps customers deploy a security strategy that ensures all of their networks, servers and devices can be managed through the cloud.

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.

Dan Kobialka

Dan Kobialka is senior contributing editor, MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E. He covers IT security, IT service provider business strategies and partner programs. Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State University. In his free time, Dan enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football.