By Rajesh Maurya, Regional Vice President, India & SAARC, Fortinet
Organizations and their employees increasingly require instant access to network resources, regardless of whether they are working remotely or in an office setting. As a result, traditional network perimeters are expanding and will continue to do so with the influx of new technologies and established remote work options.
But while cloud adoption continues to play a critical role in enhancing network access, many organizations still rely on a data center in some capacity. With this in mind, it has become clear that there is no longer a one-size-fits-all approach to building and implementing consumption models. Regardless of whether organizations are working out of the cloud or a combination of the cloud and the data center, however, legacy systems as a whole are no longer able to keep up with changing network demands and configurations, meaning security must be adapted.
The answer to these evolving security requirements is convergence of security and networking strategies – also known as Security-driven Networking. By integrating network elements into a security architecture, organizations can expand their IT capabilities without compromising security. And as the convergence of security and networking grows as a consideration across organizations, partners can leverage this as an opportunity both in terms of their internal infrastructure and what they offer customers.
Networking and Security Should Converge. What Does This Mean for Partners?
Cloud consumption patterns are changing due to the increased availability and viability of 5G networks, remote work environments, and smart systems resulting from digital innovation. This has created networks with multiple edges, which presents new challenges, including the rapid expansion of the attack surface, changing network configurations, and the need to track data across clouds. In an environment where security must be delivered to anyone in any place, legacy solutions struggle to meet the demands of modern businesses. For partners, there is an opportunity to provide the levels of protection and support customers and their employees now require.
Ultimately, organizations need access to security solutions that are suited to their unique network environments and business requirements. As the convergence of network infrastructures and security plays a greater role in business success, taking a “security-driven networking” approach will become more crucial than ever. This strategy integrates an organization’s network and security architecture, allowing security to function as the key driver in business operations. By adopting a security-driven approach to networking, businesses can embrace digital innovation without exposing critical assets to risks.
The Partner Opportunity Around Security-driven Networking
Security-driven Networking enables partners to offer customers greater levels of protection while growing their own businesses. Helping customers converge networking and security also gives partners a way to demonstrate value by providing guidance when addressing hybrid IT challenges. There are several reasons to adopt and recommend a converged security and networking approach that prioritizes a hybrid infrastructure, flexibility, and performance.
Companies today rely on the cloud and data centers to conduct business, giving rise to hybrid IT environments. Even if a customer is cloud-focused, they still have endpoints that must be protected, especially with the wide-scale adoption of remote work. To address these changes, partners must shape their product and service offerings around this type of convergence.
Flexibility is a key component of security-driven networking. With flexible infrastructures, organizations can quickly adapt to shifts in the IT landscape, allowing them to provide cutting-edge services and stay ahead of the competition. And because customers expect quick and effective solutions, security must match the speed of the network. Overall, security-driven networking can give customers the performance they need without sacrificing security.
Partners Can Help Drive the Convergence of Networking and Security
Modern networks are becoming more complex both in terms of edges and cloud capabilities. Cyber criminals know this and have taken advantage of shifting network ecosystems to find and exploit vulnerabilities. As hybrid IT becomes a reality for more businesses, traditional security solutions are incapable of protecting critical assets. While it is not yet being practiced across all organizations, the convergence of security and networking can offer significant opportunities for partners, enabling them to meet their customers’ demands for performance and protection.