Integrating network and security for the modern business

Posted on 15/05/2020 by charlene
DISCLAIMER: this article is older than one year and may not be up to date with recent events or newly available information.

The network has become the most important section essential for the success of any organisation in a digitally driven environment.

The network’s functions include:

  • carrying data to users
  • touching all points of the infrastructure
  • serving as the link between everything an organisation does.

However, as the network increases in complexity so do the challenges of having an integrated view of its role in the organisation.

According to the Forrester Network Security Research 2020 report, 56% of respondents in South Africa identified the need to gain completely visibility of the endpoints on their network as a top IT organisational priority over the next 12 months.

In EMEA, the focus (55%) is on driving collaboration and alignment between security and IT teams. However, even in this regard, gaining end-to-end visibility of the network is vital if any potential internal misalignment can be effectively addressed.

In comparison, Europe’s report has found that only around a third (38%) of networking teams are currently involved in the development of security strategies. And yet, 60% of these are involved in the execution of security suggesting that networking teams are not being brought in early enough into the discussion.

This is where the emergence of software-defined networking (SDN) and the resultant arrival of Virtual Cloud Network (VCN) create the potential to decisively address these challenges. An advantage of going this virtualised route means that the siloed way of managing the network and the security of the organisation is being phased out.

The key to success in modern IT

The key to success in having modern IT (think network) and security working together is built on shared accountability, shared plans, and ensuring that every element of security, including networking, is built into the foundation of the organisational strategy from the start.

Security first

The challenging aspects of security are:

  • blocking threats at the network perimeter is simply too reactive for the demands of the digital world
  • the flow of data is continuous from the edge of the network into the cloud and other back-end systems
  • infrastructure that is more agile as it scales to meet organisational demands in real-time.

Instead, security must be delivered as part of the network:

  • by making it intrinsic to all elements of the infrastructure through a software-defined approach, it is possible to
  • incorporate security into all aspects of the digital foundation of the company.
  • security that becomes something that is proactively injected into the existing infrastructure and end point devices

Enhancing appliances

This is not to say that investments in existing hardware have been wasted.

Instead, VCN brings:

  • a software layer across the entire infrastructure environment whether that is on physical services or in the cloud
  • the agility and scalability needed to remain in touch with real-time business demands.

Building from this is a range of SDN appliances that range from routers, switchers, firewalls, to even load balances and intrusion prevention systems. These appliances are updated as newer technologies become available with it being as seamless as the cloud-based way of ensuring software applications always have the latest patches installed.

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