Is 'LAN sprawl' in IT's future?

* Consentry Networks survey looks at increasing network complexity

In last week's Webinar about "A Real World Look at the Changing IT Security Landscape" listen to the replay here), one of the panelists, Christopher Paidhrin (security compliance officer at Southwest Washington Medical Center) referred to the changing face of IT in his organization and the "network without borders" that was becoming the de facto landscape.

In last week's Webinar about "A Real World Look at the Changing IT Security Landscape" (listen to the replay here), one of the panelists, Christopher Paidhrin (security compliance officer at Southwest Washington Medical Center) referred to the changing face of IT in his organization and the "network without borders" that was becoming the de facto landscape.

Earlier this week, Consentry Networks released the results of a survey (performed by Loudhouse Research) about what it calls "LAN sprawl". Consentry explains that "the consideration is that network challenges manifest from a number of different sources. As each source increases its presence on the network and its influence on other network areas, the compound complexity leads to an uncontrolled sprawl that IT professionals struggle to reconcile."

So not only are the physical borders getting fuzzy, but the logical ones are doing it too.

Simple networks, with well-defined borders, are easier to control in terms of authentication and authorization. Complex, borderless networks are infinitely tougher.

<disclaimer> The ConSentry Networks LAN sprawl research is based on 200 interviews conducted with IT decision makers across the United Kingdom (100) and United States (100) regions. Respondent companies had a minimum employee size of 250 people (32%), with 37% of respondents employing 1000-plus employees. All respondents were IT manager or above, with 26% being IT director or head of IT roles. The research was conducted in June 2009 by Loudhouse Research, an independent market research consultancy headquartered in the United Kingdom.</disclaimer>

Three key areas where control is cited as an issue by the survey respondents are: 

* 64% state the need to improve control over general user access across the organization.

* 65% believe that control over access to specific applications and devices needs to be improved.

* 72% considered that security control measures are in need of improvement.

These concerns were reiterated by the attendees at the Webinar I mentioned. The hard part, of course, is that as the complexity of the network increases, as the borders disappear -- widening the area of concern -- we're also facing unprecedented drops in budgets and resource allocations. Doing more with less has never been more important. I'll try to highlight things that might help over the next few months.

You can read more about the Consentry survey at the company's Info Center.

Here's some resources that might help:

Essential Guide to Identity & Access Management  

Leading Practices for Driving Down the Costs of Managing Your Oracle Identity and Access Management

Leading University Saves £25,000-Plus Annually by Choosing the Right Identity Management Solution for Its Needs

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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