Network Device Vulnerabilities High, Study Shows

More than a third of network devices examined showed signs of security vulnerabilities

A new study by Dimension Data, Network Barometer Report 2010, reveals a high number of common security vulnerabilities and violations in its 235 Technology Lifecycle Management (TLM) assessments conducted last year.

The TLM Assessment service examines an enterprise's IT infrastructure in depth, discovering installed network assets and their "lifecycle status" and maintenance coverage to help "prevent exposure to unnecessary risk by helping align their IT infrastructure to configuration, security, and patch management best practices," the company said in a statement.

This year's report looked at organizations of all sizes in many vertical markets around the world and identified high-impact but preventable problems. The company found that over 38 percent of network devices (such as routers and switches) "exhibited security vulnerabilities, which may expose organizations to external and internal security attacks." On average, each device had nearly 41 "configuration violations."

Enterprises may find it difficult to correct some problems because 35 percent of network devices were "beyond end-of-sale, meaning they will be increasingly unsupportable and exposed to risk, s they progress toward last-day-of-support (LDoS)." Even worse, more than half of these devices were beyond "end-of-software-maintenance (EoSWM) or LDoS."

According to Rich Schofield, business development manager for network integration at Dimension Data, “Effective network planning for lifecycle milestones is essential in ensuring smooth functionality and unfettered connectivity -- while also providing a platform for taking advantage of the latest developments in IT." Schofield says enterprises want to benefit from virtualization and cloud computing, "meaning that, along the way, they’ll need to address application flow, integration and security issues, among others." The problem is that maximizing the ROI of virtualization and cloud computing means "networks must be well-managed and planned for to ensure they run at optimum levels."

The free report can be downloaded at www.dimensiondata.com/networkbarometer.

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