Just like plate armor became essentially obsolete with the introduction of gunpowder firearms, the evolving business needs in the pandemic era are throwing down the gauntlet for many of today’s network security concepts. But what if you could be more agile without compromising your IT security?
Designing, building, and deploying IT networks is not unlike forging a set of armor. Both are following two basic principles: the item in question must meet the needs of its user and it must offer a sufficient level of protection. Bear with us a little longer, because this blacksmithing analogy is getting us somewhere!
However advanced the modern security systems may be, they tend to repeat a simple yet very serious mistake: because of the implemented armor, the network is simply too inconvenient to use and operate. More often than not, the security is bolted on at the end of a deployment project as an afterthought. Even if the security works… it just gets in the way.
Seems like a stretch to you? Consider this common scenario: even though VPN provides enhanced security, users simply don’t like using them, so they get creative with workaround solutions, putting functionality over security. On the other hand, even if you’re willing to sacrifice functionality in order to achieve a higher level of protection, bolt-on security makes scalability equally difficult. Every time you build out the system or adapt it, there are more bolt-ons that must follow.
Okay, so how to solve this conundrum?
One of the three core tenets of the Infinite Enterprise says that technology should revolve around the customer‘s needs, and not the other way around. In that respect, network security is no exception.
We need to stop thinking of security as working in conflict with the network and start to treat both as two sides of the same equation – enterprise networks and security need to be constructed as a single solution. Both elements have to become intertwined to allow seamless scalability and reduced complexity for the users and administrators, who will no longer see more benefit in building workarounds.
In other words, we need our network security to be built-in, not bolt-on. And here’s a couple of ideas how to do it!
1. Leverage Fabric networking
Seamless scalability may be a central feature of cloud managed networking, but it’s not limited to it – Fabric networks also allow you to expand effortlessly.
Let’s say you have five switches to connect. You have to configure and connect each. If you add a sixth, you often must re-configure all six switches. With the Extreme Fabric Connect solution, that stress goes away. When new devices are plugged-in, everything configures automatically. The network services automatically. If you add a seventh switch, you also just plug it in. The seventh addition learns from the others. There you have it: effortless scalability.
A fabric approach is the way of the future. You can apply that thinking to switches, information, and wireless nodes, you name it. Various fabric implementations are available, but what they have in common is that they are automatically extendable. A fabric approach provides load distribution, prevents redundancy, optimizes routing information, and is scalable and more efficient. And that’s why fabric is a core building block of the Infinite Enterprise.
Learn more about the automation features of Extreme Fabric Connect!
2. Adopt and integrate Zero Trust approach
If we apply a Zero Trust approach, all of the fabric capabilities can scale to the extent of the Infinite Enterprise and remain secure. A Zero Trust security model stops you right at the start, with the least-privileged principle. That principle essentially is only to grant access when it is required. If you don’t need access, you don’t get access. That way, if someone gets into your system, that person can only impersonate you, limiting the damage they can do.
Identity is key to Zero Trust. Understanding who is on the network at all times is critical. Identity and Zero Trust capabilities should be best utilized when built into the network upon inception. Integrated Zero Trust is an idea whose time has definitely come. The cybersecurity insurance sector is increasingly moving to a least-privileged principle now – the market wants it to happen, and companies will feel an increased pressure to adopt it.
3. Take a consumer-centric approach to Zero Trust
The beauty of consumer-centric approaches is that they increase adoption and enhance security at the same time. Security must be an enabler for people, not an inhibitor. You rarely go wrong putting your consumer first in your thoughts. Once again, an effortless user experience will lead to increased adoption.
Here at Extreme Networks we have many building blocks to create the seamless experience people want. That’s the critical first step: build a seamless, secure experience in your network. You can’t effectively scale if you’re not secure, and you can’t scale with speed unless security is integrated into your network from the beginning.