Accelerated digital transformation demands secure networks by design
The pandemic triggered tectonic shifts in our workplace from physical to virtual, almost overnight. This has led companies to accelerate their digital transformation (DX), thereby adding high demand on their network capacity. Whether it is the distributed workforce or the migration of data and applications to multi-cloud environments, the network is the nervous system connecting the various components.
As the network constantly evolves, security must be aligned with this changing network paradigm. IT security managers must adapt quickly, collaborate effectively, and recalibrate their security strategies as networks become more dynamic and complex.
Evolution beyond traditional security models
The hybrid network environment has led to the evolution of multiple layers through which data moves bidirectionally from client / user to a public or private network and then to multi-cloud environments through cloud gateways. Such a complex network design reduces the efficiency of well-defined network perimeters.
As networks move from core to edge, IT security managers need to secure their data at every layer of the network to protect intellectual property without impacting performance or budgets.
What is needed is ubiquitous visibility into all network traffic and security tools that differentiate normal from malicious activity and help resist any external attack that existing security models / frameworks may not. detect.
Security must be at the forefront of the transformational network
Security must be the backbone of any digitally ready network. It needs to be woven and integrated from the start as companies build modern networks. Only such a security-focused design approach can enable comprehensive filtering of traffic flows, prevention of illegitimate traffic supported by early detection and real-time threat responses.
As the network provides visibility into all traffic flows, a secure network can access a diverse data pool to identify traffic discrepancies or anomalies that are potentially malicious security activities. Unfortunately, security remains an afterthought for some organizations, straining the network and the entire IT environment.
Need for effective integration
According to IDC, by 2023, 60% of businesses will seek integrated solutions with advanced security features, incorporating automation and intelligence tools to optimize and secure their core and edge network.
Security and network services must operate in the cloud and in harmony, integrating tools that enable security processes, such as content inspection, secure access, threat detection and prevention. Network-sensitive security can proactively take preventative actions on any potential infiltration, and a security-sensitive network could reduce noise and provide better quality of service (QoS) for organizations and their customers.
A key aspect is to assess whether network operations and security operations are separate functions. Companies would prefer to partner with service providers that are innovative and able to offer the best unified, location-independent solutions and services for configuration, operational control and incident response.
The right MSSP can make all the difference
Cloud-delivered security solutions are best suited to provide remote, yet secure, location-independent access. Cloud-delivered, Internet-accessible firewall as a service (FWaaS) facilitates proactive detection of security threats and real-time asset protection. Businesses prefer an expert managed service provider who can offer cloud-ready security solutions (including Zero Trust Network Access) and have visibility into network traffic to manage security vulnerabilities.
When organizations select the right MSSP, they get a holistic view of assets, network elements, threats across the organization distributed in a multi-cloud environment, thereby simplifying governance, risk and compliance management. . The appropriate MSSP would have the proven expertise to offer core network protection, provide assessment services to establish a baseline, and improve the overall security posture of the business. They also help businesses with additional security controls for a flexible cloud-based approach that enables authentication and secure access.
The need at the moment is to be proactive and adopt a strategic approach that ensures security from the design stage of networks, where security is embedded from the start of the DX initiative. Having a combined network and security strategy and partnering with an MSSP that has the skills to achieve it will enable safe and rapid digital transformation efforts.
(Avinash Prasad is Vice President and Head of Managed Security Services and Content Delivery Network, Tata Communications. Opinions are personal)
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