Digital transformation goes well beyond reducing physical assets to bits. Digital transformation leverages software to re-invent the entire LBGUPS (Learn, Buy, Get, Use, Pay & Support) business value chain.
I suspect almost all reading this post are involved in digital transformations at work and see it in action throughout daily life. For example, over the past two days, I’ve:
We all see the blending of the physical and digital worlds accelerating, and the rate of change in digital spheres of commerce is outpacing what is happening in the “real world.”
This digital transformation requires businesses to bring together data, applications, and users in a secure way—across digital and hybrid environments that are distributed, complex, and expanding.
Computing itself has undergone a digital transformation and it is now dramatically more efficient to consume processing as a service. The shift to the public cloud from private data centers has been swift and sweeping, and cloud-based applications are the new standard. In fact, 85% of enterprises will embrace a cloud-first principle by 2025 and 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms.
Likewise, edge computing continues to mature, bolstered by ever more powerful, available, and diverse wireless networks. Bringing computing and analytics closer to data sources allows for faster processing and opens new possibilities for IoT applications. With a projected eight-fold increase in applications at the edge, edge computing is fundamentally transforming the ways businesses handle, process, and deliver data.
Gone are the days when enterprises were hampered when it comes to speed. Legacy-constrained telco connectivity should no longer constrain business solutions. With widely available broadband, dedicated Ethernet options, plus access to private wireless networks, IT leaders have access to more modes of bandwidth than ever before. The task turns to orchestrating this diverse connectivity model for optimized cost and performance.
Traditional networking and security structures were oriented around the once universally accepted practice of employees working inside an office building. Data and applications sat inside data centers. Employees accessed the Internet within the confines of the on-premise network. It’s not as though remote work wasn’t a factor at all, but the on-premise employees and data within a tightly guarded perimeter was the norm.
Fast forward to today and the unexpected success of work-from-anywhere has spurred on new levels of digital innovation, with long-distance collaboration happening easily and seamlessly. With network access required well beyond a company location to a user (which increasingly could be a bot or software application, rather than a person) wherever it may be and on whatever device the call is from, the number of endpoints has grown exponentially.
The past few years have been a digital whirlwind, and as digital business expands, it becomes more and more clear just how inextricable security is from the equation. CIOs earned a bigger seat at the table through the course of the pandemic, and it put them front and center in boardroom-level conversations around cybersecurity.
The implications on security of the above three trends fueling digital transformation are profound —we need to protect data and applications that may be located anywhere, to which there are plentiful and multiple bandwidth paths, from end users that are increasingly not even human.
CIOs are challenged with securing an ever-more cloud-reliant, distributed, data-driven, and bandwidth-consuming enterprise with largely the same resources at their disposal. Addressing the security needs of this new reality comes in part through a unified networking and security approach that not only covers networking from edge to cloud and back again, but better protects an ever-growing attack surface.
Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), a term first coined by Gartner, is a framework that integrates networking and advanced security in a single, unified, cloud-delivered service—and it’s currently one of the fastest-growing network and security categories. SASE is SD-WAN-as-a-service and security-as-a-service. Let’s look at each:
Offering more flexibility at low cost, software-defined networking, or SD-WAN, abstracts network control from the connectivity layer and enables real-time monitoring, reporting, and analytics across network nodes.
SD-WAN architectures support modern, distributed, hybrid workforces, offering key benefits like network resiliency, application visibility and optimization, automated bandwidth management, and performance and availability of cloud-based workloads. Capabilities like application-aware routing help to reduce the threat surface by segmenting mission-critical systems from less-critical ones. Secure tunnel traffic encryption, meanwhile, helps securely connect sites across geographies. And finally, single-pane-of-glass monitoring allows IT teams to monitor all traffic and ports from anywhere, identifying and mitigating risks and problems as they arise.
An integrated security infrastructure that is capable of meeting the demands of a cloud-first, hybrid world needs to not only identify potential attacks, but also constantly monitor, prevent, and mediate them. An effective integrated security architecture should include key functionality elements like:
In addition to the above security elements, two others exist outside the strict SASE framework and are also necessary, including:
As digital transformation continues to evolve, taking on seemingly new definitions with each passing year, the imperative to digitally innovate and create a secure networking environment capable of supporting that innovation compounds in lockstep. The need for a new approach to networking and security—and a trusted managed service partner that can deliver flexibility and security—is now more apparent than ever before.
Be ready for tomorrow’s security threats with the next generation of secure networking solutions, with Ethernet, SD-WAN and advanced security, from Comcast Business. To learn more visit https://business.comcast.com/enterprise/products-services/secure-network-solutions