As organizations globally, across industry segments, gear towards digital transformation many of them realize that it’s going to be a daunting task unless they adapt to more holistic approach to this transformation since company’s legacy networks usually has a single ingress/egress points to take care of the organization wide security.
Traditional infrastructure always had an integrated control and data plane, hence configuration changes had to be made manually which was time consuming and lacked agility. Network issues are also usually problematic to resolve over the traditional WANs, because legacy networks were designed for client-server environments, in which the majority of traffic went from corporate Data centres to the branch locations.
Today, users are connecting from off-campus locations, branches, discrete Mobile devices (Mobile Phones, Tablets, etc.). Further, adaptation of IoT, cloud computing coupled with “Work from Home” policies (which would only get further intensified due to unpredictable Covid-19 situation) all being network centric have created many new entry points and shifted the traffic to the edge of the network thereby creating unforeseen security challenges that directly impact the overall network performance.
This would compel many companies to place more data at the edge of their networks without having to compromise the security of the data. While this may sound simple, it’s going to be a quiet a task in practical terms as it requires rigorous enforcement around access & data compliance across the organization which will need board-level resolutions, at least for large corporations and public limited companies. Having said, even the most stringent security measures are useless if you have an underperforming network.
Therefore companies should invest time & money in transforming their network in order to succeed in their digital journey, those that don’t transform will struggle because application performance and client experience will also suffer, and the likelihood of breaches are bound to grow exponentially.
Let’s look at few aspects that every IT Leader & organization should implement in order to stay relevant & of course to add value to their clients (both internal and external).
Networks across organizations have been traditionally managed manually leading to the repetition of monotonous tasks thereby reducing the efficiency of network engineers. Please note, implementing network automation to reduce the number of humans is not what I meant here, rather implement network automation that correlates data from multiple appliances such as routers, switches, firewall appliances & sources like event logs, configuration files etc. thereby providing deeper insights into performance, utilization, security and resource allocation of the IT assets ultimately enabling network engineers to focus on more strategic initiatives.
Today’s networks need to be highly agile so that changes can be propagated across the network real-time in order to keep up with the demands of the business & applications. Network agility comes from having centralized control where configuration changes can be made once and propagated across the network instantly. With an SDN, the control plane is separated from the data plane which enables the network team to define a change and push it out across the entire network.
With digital transformation, organizations are exposed to emerging risks ranging from DDoS, ransomware, Phishing, malware attacks etc. In order to mitigate these emerging and ever evolving threats, customers should also transform their end to end security posture of the organization with tools like multi-factor authentication(MFA), firewalls on-premises and in the cloud, end-to-end encryption etc.
Last but not the least because despite having the best of technology in place, most organization struggle to achieve agility due to lack of internal education across the functions & departments hence it’s best is to have constant education & training programs for the workforce so that they are on constant vigil & don’t fall prey for malware & phishing kind of attacks.
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