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In the past two years, companies have experienced an unprecedented shift toward remote work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This brought new challenges when it comes to network availability and security. 

We wanted to learn more about how companies and their network engineering teams have adapted to these changes and how they plan to prioritize firewall spending and maintenance in the coming year. 

We surveyed over 140 network engineers at companies of all sizes. 

Here’s what we learned. 

5 Key Firewall Trends and Findings

1. An increase firewall and network security spending

We often hear network boundaries are history to a point that some even questioned the need for a firewall. Firewalls have played a pivotal role in securing businesses, they will likely remain a fundamental component of organization’s security strategy.

We wanted to gain insight into the future of firewalls. We asked the question about spending in 2022. Unsurprisingly…

Firewalls will continue to grow and evolve to meet new challenges. 

2. Multi vendor has become the norm

Although there’s a desire towards best-of-breed security products, we were quite  surprised to find 74% of companies have multi-vendor firewall environments. There is definitely complexity inherent in a multi-vendor environment. Extra effort is required to put in place for implementations, ongoing maintenance and training. Perhaps a good follow up question for the next survey is to gain more insight into the reason behind a multi-vendor environment. Is vendor lock-in the primary reason? Are companies opting for best-of-breed products? Or is it because some companies are in the process of migrating to a new firewall from another vendor?  

3. A need for firewall engineers with more specialized skills

Much has been written about the knowledge gap in cybersecurity. As the rate of security breaches continues to increase, the knowledge gap is widening with the increasing complexity of cybersecurity threats. Organizations recognize the need to invest in user education and additional training. The results of the survey show 52% have invested in training employees in cybersecurity best practices.

4. Adoption of network automation is gaining momentum

With the rise of remote work culture, it is no surprise to see automation as a key initiative. 40% of companies report they have automated more manual tasks in the past year. Here at Indeni, we are a strong believer in automation. 

Since there are different types of network automation use cases, we wanted to get more insight into the type of tasks that people automate. 

We are thrilled to see troubleshooting the number one use case. 30% of respondents have automated some troubleshooting tasks in the past year. Incidentally, automating troubleshooting is the primary use case we focus on. We believe automating troubleshooting is imperative to solving the knowledge gap issue. It is also the best way to accelerate root cause analysis and minimize downtime. 

We are also very excited to learn that companies plan to automate many firewall tasks in the coming year. 

It makes sense to invest in troubleshooting automation as a lot of time is spent investigating firewalls issues. 50% of respondents spend 11-25 hours per week on troubleshooting firewall issues. 18% of respondents spend over 25 hours per week. If this is in your 2022 plan, let us bootstrap your effort. 

5. Managing firewall is largely a manual process, still

While it is encouraging to see network automation gaining traction, there is still much work to be done.

The adoption of network automation is still at an early stage of maturity, with a lot of potential remaining untapped. 

See the full survey.

Improve network reliability and save yourself time in 2022

The results of the survey make it clear that network engineering teams are spending more time on firewall maintenance and their tasks are becoming more complex. Over 45% say these tasks are still largely manual. With most teams dealing with a multi-vendor environment that has inherent complexity, it’s difficult to keep up with it all. 

Indeni’s security infrastructure automation platform simplifies firewall maintenance so you can identify issues sooner and resolve them before they lead to downtime. 

Learn more about how it works

BlueCat acquires Indeni to boost its industry-leading DNS, DHCP and IP address management platform to help customers proactively assess network health and prevent outages.