Gartner Research

What Networking Leaders Need to Know and Do About Spectre/Meltdown

Published: 01 March 2018

ID: G00352084

Analyst(s): Neil MacDonald , Joe Skorupa , Andrew Lerner


A new class of processor vulnerabilities — referred to as spectre and meltdown — targets a processor design flaw present in nearly every network, security and computing device. I&O leaders with responsibility for networking should develop and follow a pragmatic, risk-based plan for remediation.

Table Of Contents
  • Key Challenges



  • The Risk Is Real, but Don't Panic
  • Develop a Risk-Based Rollout Plan for Patching Open Platforms, Recognizing That, in the Short Term, Performance May Suffer
  • Don't Upgrade Without a Clear Business Need, Even If Your Vendor Tells You Patches Are Available
    • Prioritize Upgrades for Internet-Facing and Cloud-Resident Systems, as They Pose the Greatest Risks
    • Don't Forget About Virtual Appliances
    • Baseline the Performance of Installed Appliances to Measure How Much Margin Exists in These Systems
  • Apply Mitigating Controls for Network and Security Appliances That Aren't Patched
    • Develop a Strategy With Your Procurement Organization to Deal With Suppliers Whose Products No Longer Meet Their Published Specifications

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