Digital Transformation Requires Ubiquitous Connectivity, with no added Risk


Digital transformation is transcending traditional IT infrastructure, and becoming pervasive within virtually every aspect of business and our personal lives.

We carry around laptops, smartphones, tablets, smart watches and other wearables. IoT devices collect data from security cameras, cars, aircraft, ships, energy systems, manufacturing plants, medical facilities, farms and ranches, and throughout our homes and business offices.

Applications on all these devices collect and emit massive amounts of data. Data travel over WANs to corporate data centers, clouds, SaaS, PaaS and IaaS, and this is just the beginning. As digital transformation becomes even more pervasive, the digital ecosystem will become so ubiquitous that separation of these elements will become almost indistinctive. And automated operations will make it extremely easy for IT teams to consume, and attain their benefits and value.

With ubiquitous connectivity comes ubiquitous risk

Underlying all of these scenarios, and casting an ominous shadow over our digital world, is security or a lack thereof, as every new connection or slice of bandwidth also becomes a vulnerable attack surface. While at the same time, securing the perimeter takes on a whole new meaning, as enterprise IT comes to grips with an ever-expanding network perimeter that is bordered by the cloud.

While it’s imperative that the enterprise network be intelligent enough to tag and track users to applications, data associated with application behavior and reliability are becoming the new social media and IoT currency. Consider: there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created every day, and it’s growing exponentially with mass deployments of connected devices and Internet of Things (IoT) reaching 20 billion in 2017, and 29 billion connected devices are forecast by 2022.

Given the scope of what digital transformation is accomplishing, we can’t afford to be reactive in how we handle security, especially at the network edge. To prevent cybersecurity attacks, we must be proactive, and our security technologies must be multi-layered and inherently embedded into our digital platforms, and automated as much as possible by security orchestration. In doing so, we can reduce the attack surfaces associated with our pervasive networks, devices, applications and data.

Transformation means change

The cellulose film that was used in cameras for generations has been replaced by digital technologies. In the same manner, the legacy enterprise WANs we’ve long relied upon are changing from complex, rigid and expensive monolithic architectures, to software-defined WAN architectures that are secure, agile and cost-effective delivery vehicles for a myriad of applications and security services.

But digital transformation is a fast-moving catalyst, and it needs fast-moving technologies that can keep up. AI and machine learning are going to be very important security features to help combat security threats. Today, the bulk of the IT security tasks in a remote location or branch office are performed manually. Going forward, the bulk of security tasks need to incorporate machine intelligence that runs optimization and adaptive secure policies 24/7/365. Uniform management of orchestrated policies can resolve problems faster, analyze threats in real time and prioritize preventive responses, while