Gartner Highlights Top Technologies for Information Security in 2014

Information security is one of the hottest issues in IT today, but it is also a significant challenge for IT leaders in determining which technologies are most important to securing their business.

Neil MacDonald, research vice president and Gartner Fellow, presented the top technologies for information security in 2014 today at the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit.

From the outset, MacDonald discussed the key criteria for inclusion in the top categories which three essential elements: These technologies needed to be emerging and not yet widely adopted, but will gain traction this year; they needed to be transformative to people and processes, or be a transformative technology in and of itself; and they needed to support one or more aspects of cloud, social, mobile and big data— the four intersecting pillars Gartner categorizes as the Nexus of Forces.

“You can’t secure what you can’t see,” MacDonald told attendees at the Summit while discussing one of technologies, cloud access security brokers. “You need to have visibility into the use of cloud-based services to understand the risks and implement appropriate controls. Organizations need to change their mindsets from that of incident response to one of continuous protection and verification.”

To help address advanced targeted attacks (ATAs) that bypass traditional protection mechanisms, MacDonald recommended companies invest in monitoring and detection capabilities to speed the time of detection and response. He advised security leaders, such as CTOs and CISOs to make containment and isolation a foundation of security architectures and to make integrated content detonation a part of evaluation criteria, as well as investigating investments in endpoint detection and response tools, another one of the top technologies

Top information technologies that made the cut include: cloud access security brokers, adaptive access control, pervasive sandboxing, endpoint detection and response, big data security analytics, machine-readable threat intelligence, software-defined security, and integrated application testing. One of the more nascent areas MacDonald identified are the security brokers, firewalls and gateways to be used for securing the Internet of Things—an emerging area of protecting digital business Gartner believes will be managed by the expansion of new approaches managed with digital security.

“Enterprises, especially those in asset-intensive industries like manufacturing or utilities, have systems provided by equipment manufacturers (what Gartner dubs Operational Technology systems or OT; OT is considered to be the industrial subset of the Internet of Things.) that move from proprietary communications and networks to IP-based technologies and standards,” said MacDonald. “More enterprise assets are being automated by OT systems based on commercial software products. The end result is that these embedded software assets need to be managed, secured and provisioned appropriately for enterprise-class use.”

To further protect against ATAs, MacDonald recommended additional investments that address isolation and containment as a foundational security strategy using a number of emerging alternative approaches for containment and isolation such as microvisors, remote browsers and browser isolation.

“We must assume our systems have been, and will continue to be, compromised which forces a shift in focus to how to minimize damage — either by improving post infection detection methods or by isolating the attack to minimize its impact,” said MacDonald.

The Gartner analyst also said he expects virtualization and containment strategies to become a common element of a defense-in-depth protection strategy for enterprise systems and will reach 20 percent adoption by 2016 from meager adoption in 2014.