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The network is critical to everything a business wants and needs to do, carrying applications and data to where it’s needed in the business, and is critical for delivering intrinsic security. But often instead of being seen as the DNA of a business it is still considered just the plumming.
Almost two thirds (57%) of European IT heads believe it’s really challenging to gain end-to-end visibility of their network. At least they seem to acknowledge that this is a problem, with almost half saying this lack of visibility is a major concern. Meanwhile, more than a third (37%) feel the challenges associated with this lack of visibility has resulted in misalignment between security and IT teams – and a quarter (29%) have no plans to implement a consolidated IT and security strategy.
While organisations are clearly starting to wrestle with this issue, there is a recognition that network transformation is becoming essential to the delivery of security, with 43% of European organisations saying this is a key priority for them between 2019 to 20212.
When failure isn’t an option, how can organisations tap into the power of the network to protect data across the entire organisation, from origin to end-user?
The challenges with putting the network first
Collaboration between relevant teams is vital – although this alignment and coordination in itself is proving to be one of the greatest challenges facing businesses.
As it stands today, only a third of networking teams are involved in the development of security strategies, despite 61% being involved in their execution, signalling that network teams are not seen as having an equal role with the other IT or security stakeholders. These barriers need to be broken: modern security must be seen as a team sport.
Denis Onuoha, chief information security officer, Arqiva, UK communications infrastructure provider says, “It is critical that IT and security teams work in harmony to ensure every touch point of the IT infrastructure remains secure. The network forms a critical part of the business in delivering the best and most efficient services to customers. We recognise the importance of the network and therefore ensure security is embedded into the fabric of its infrastructure from the beginning and not bolted on as an afterthought. As we navigate a growing number of cloud and Edge environments and the network remains the connector between them all, it has become business critical for us to keep network security a top priority.”
An intrinsic approach to fighting increasingly sophisticated challenges
Secondly, we need to make security simple again. Traditional approaches to security are resulting in unmanageable and dysfunctional complexity.
We believe it’s possible to simplify security by aligning it to applications and data, delivering it via the network, and by making it intrinsic to all elements of the infrastructure. In today’s software-defined world, it is possible to seamlessly weave security into every layer of a business’s digital foundation through a Virtual Cloud Network, significantly reducing the attack surface. This is helping businesses shift from a legacy security model, where they reactively try to block or chase the bad, to a stronger approach to security, where the ‘known good’ is rigorously enforced.
The Virtual Cloud Network: built with modern applications in mind
The pace of application development and deployment has accelerated rapidly. Business success today demands better automation, consistent infrastructure, and the ability to efficiently connect and secure modern application frameworks.
This is why a software-first approach via a Virtual Cloud Network (VCN) is becoming the table stake for organisations truly looking to move forward at speed – a seamless, secure, software-defined networking layer running from data center to cloud to edge. It gives the network automated agility, flexibility, and simplicity. By delivering secure, pervasive connectivity with the speed and automatability of software, a VCN can greatly improve the manageability of security issues, becoming a positive contributor to business competitiveness.
The network is the universal fabric that drives connectivity, intrinsic security and application delivery. It provides consistent, pervasive connectivity and security for apps and data, wherever they live. Businesses can ill-afford to wait before they recognise that the network is the DNA of any modern security, cloud and app strategy. It should be seen as a strategic weapon, and not merely the plumbing.
 VMware research by Forrester
 IDC’s European Security Strategies Survey