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Uncovering the Dangers of Network Security Complexity


In order to stand up to cyber threats and defend the network and critical assets, we’ve fallen into the trap of bolting on more and more security layers (and in turn policies) to the point where now the level of complexity within the environment creates risk.

We’ve just released new survey findings, “Examining the Dangers of Complexity in Network Security Environments” that  identify the concern amongst more than 125 IT security professionals from around the globe and also uncover opportunities to simplify the environment and reduce risk. Here are some of the key findings:


Complexity causes risk. More than half of respondents from midsized and enterprise organizations (50+ employees) stated that complex policies were the cause of a security breach, system outage… or both! Think about this for a minute. This bolt-on approach to security actually makes us less secure! As you add on more layers and policies, you should always consider what’s already in place and see if there are current policies that need to evolve or be removed. Understanding how all of these policies across all of the different devices work together is important. We recently posted a video on making sure you don’t overlook routers as part of your security policy.

Too many policies causes complexity. Survey respondents noted “too many policies to manage” as the top challenge of managing multiple devices. 

Too many vendors causes complexity. The top challenge noted by half of  the respondents about managing multiple vendors in the environment was that “different expertise is required for each vendor”.

Manual management reigns supreme. Even as more policies, vendors and devices have been added to increasingly complex environments, nearly 75% of organizations still manually manage network security.

Opportunities to mitigate this complexity challenge do exist. Automation and consolidation are valid ways to simplify the environment and reduce the risk of misconfiguration. To learn about additional findings of this survey, you can:

  • Read the report
  • Download the slides
  • Register for the webcast. In this live webcast on November 1, independent security consultant and CISSP, Kevin Beaver, and I will dig into the findings and share our thoughts and tips for simplifying network security and operations.

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