Gartner Blog Network

Neil MacDonald
VP & Gartner Fellow
15 years at Gartner
25 years IT industry

Neil MacDonald is a vice president, distinguished analyst and Gartner Fellow in Gartner Research. Mr. MacDonald is a member of Gartner's information security and privacy research team, focusing on operating system and application-level security strategies. Specific research areas include Windows security…Read Full Bio

Apple’s iOS 7 is a Significant Step Forward

by Neil MacDonald  |  August 14, 2013

From a security perspective, I’ve been keeping a close eye on iOS and Android. From what I’ve seen so far, iOS 7 is a significant step forward. To get deeper insight as to the changes, I’ve asked my colleague, Garter VP and Distinguished Analyst Ken Dulaney, to provide a guest post. Here’s what Ken has […]

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Virtualization, Containers and Other Sandboxing Techniques Should be on Your Radar Screen

by Neil MacDonald  |  March 16, 2013

  The idea of “sandboxing” potentially malicious content and applications isn’t new but interest in this type of approach on Windows desktops is growing. Further, the increasing variety of virtualization and abstraction techniques available on Windows create isolation that can be used to provide security separation – aka “sandboxing”. Given the innovation around virtualization techniques […]

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This Just In: Signature-based Protection Ineffective Against Targeted Attacks

by Neil MacDonald  |  January 31, 2013

  Seriously, is anyone surprised? I’m sure you’ve seen the news about Chinese infiltration at the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/31/technology/chinese-hackers-infiltrate-new-york-times-computers.html According to the article: Over the course of three months, attackers installed 45 pieces of custom malware. The Times — which uses antivirus products made by Symantec — found only one instance in which Symantec […]

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Software Defined Data Centers and Security–What’s in a Name?

by Neil MacDonald  |  January 29, 2013

Last fall, I wrote a research note for Gartner clients titled “The Impact of Software-Defined Data Centers on Information Security” that explored the impact of software defined infrastructure on security – and the evolution of information security infrastructure to become software-defined itself. Today, I saw that NetCitadel had announced an offering in this emerging space […]

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Virtual Firewalls or Physical? Wrong Question.

by Neil MacDonald  |  November 5, 2012

I still see people getting bogged down in rather meaningless arguments as to whether or not firewalls will be virtualized. They will (and, in fact, are). The bigger trend is the shift from proprietary hardware to software running on commodity hardware (in almost all cases, x86). That’s the big shift. Whether or not a given […]

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What the Most Recent Zero Day in IE Should Teach Us

by Neil MacDonald  |  September 22, 2012

  I saw yesterday that Microsoft had released the out of band patch for Internet Explorer as they had committed to do. Certainly, Microsoft’s motivation to quickly release the patch out of band was affected by calls from various enterprises and governments to ban the use of IE until the issue was resolved. What can […]

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Is Antivirus Obsolete?

by Neil MacDonald  |  September 13, 2012

I blogged about this question years ago, but a recent blog on CSO got me thinking once again. Has anything changed? Thoughts: 1) The question “Has antivirus outlived its value?” is wrong. AV hasn’t been AV for years. Gartner stopped calling the market “AV” back in 2006. Modern Endpoint Protection Platforms (EPP – the term […]

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If a Tree Falls in the Forest, is it Encrypted?

by Neil MacDonald  |  September 6, 2012

There’s a story behind the title of this blog Recently, I had a discussion in regards to Microsoft’s BitLocker with a client. One of the issues I call out in my research on BitLocker is that (unlike competing third party products), Microsoft doesn’t have an option to synchronize the pre-boot PIN with the Windows login […]

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Five Myths and Realities of Virtualization Security

by Neil MacDonald  |  September 6, 2012

I’ve been researching the intersection of virtualization and security since 2007 and find myself continually running into these myths pertaining to virtualization and security: 1) Myth: Physical is better than virtual. Reality: Define “better”. Software and virtual appliance-based security controls are more adaptable to the rapidly changing infrastructure requirements of a modern, virtualized data center. […]

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What we Need is the Equivalent of Apple for Enterprise Data Centers

by Neil MacDonald  |  August 29, 2012

I’ve spent the last three days in Silicon Valley – some of it at VMworld and some of it with a client. With the flight out and back to the West Coast, I’ve had some time to do some thinking. Cleary, there’s a perception that hardware is commoditizing and that there’s little or no premium left in […]

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