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Re-evaluating the importance of the network for IT and security

The power to drive the effective change required for the digital world is still underestimated by IT and security teams even though the network has become an invaluable strategic asset integral to any modern security, cloud, and app strategy.

According to the Forrester Network Security Research 2020 report, there is still significant disparity between IT and security teams which organisations must overcome.

In SA, 44% of respondents have admitted to misaligned relationships between IT and security practitioners while EMEA sits at 39%. Fortunately, this has already spurred companies into action with 41% in SA (30% across EMEA) having taken measures to strengthen this relationship.

Securing the environment

Increasing efficiency and preventing data breaches have been ranked as the top two organisational priorities in both SA and the EMEA region.

Instead of viewing it as the ‘plumbing’ of the organisation, the network must be used as a weapon to create the expansive connectivity that carries data from source right into the hands of end-users. This encompasses the data centre, multiple cloud environments, and Internet of Things (IoT) sensors at the edge.

The network has become central to how IT security is viewed in the modern environment. But instead of limiting this view or approach to the hardware side of things, it is only through the emergence of software-defined networking that this has become truly possible.

The reality is that networking today must be delivered in software capable of reflecting the pervasive security and connectivity requirements of organisations.

Software-driven

Software-defined networking (SDN) is not a new concept. Since its advent seven years ago, focusing on de-coupling network functions from physical devices, more companies have embraced this approach to help reduce application deployment times from months to minutes. Even more importantly, SDN has made micro-segmentation economically and operationally feasible to help stop the internal, lateral spread of malware.

Two years ago, SDN gave rise to the Virtual Cloud Network (VCN). This extends virtual networking and security capabilities from the edge to the core to the cloud for any workload running in virtual machines, containers, or even on more traditional server hardware. The software-first approach via VCN is empowering organisations to have an environment where they can more forward at speed. Unlike the bolted-on, siloed networking and security products of the past, VCN delivers a critical integrated, secure, SDN layer from the data centre to the cloud and the edge.

VCN approach

Think of a VCN as a software layer across the entire data centre infrastructure, and beyond.

VCN:

  • gives the network automated agility, flexibility, and simplicity, allowing the environment to become an enabler of business outcomes as opposed to being merely a siloed cost centre
  • delivers secure, pervasive connectivity with the speed and automatability of software
  • can help remove siloes and greatly improve the manageability of security issues for the business
  • provides the ideal way to link previously disparate IT and security functions.

Network security becomes a positive contributor to business competitiveness, and no longer an increasingly ineffective cost centre.

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