In short, stack fatigue is the reverse correlation between the rising complexity and cost of TCP/IP-based security solutions and declining protection: as complexity increases, security protection decreases.
Why it’s important: When the TCP/IP stack was invented network security wasn’t a significant consideration. In the 1990’s basic network security solutions evolved to address the security shortcomings of TCP/IP as networks grew larger and connected more devices to the rapidly growing, early internet. The network security market experienced exponential growth because of TCP/IP shortcomings. Over time, layers of solutions evolved, each out of necessity as new risks appeared and cyber attacks escalated.
Decades later billions of IIoT devices are connecting to enterprise networks, rapidly expanding the attack surface of networks and creating new varieties of attack vectors--ways in which networks can be compromised. Those security solutions based on TCP/IP have corresponded with layers of new policies and scripts (lines of code) and new generations of solutions, most managed manually. But that has given rise to complexity--especially in the form of rising security costs and personnel shortages—with an eroding security posture.
The result: an inverse correlation between increasing complexity and cost and effective protection.