wp header logo 555

Cloud, security and automation alter networking roles – TechTarget

Breaking News Trending

Getty Images
Networking professionals are seeing their worlds collide with cloud, security and automation, whether they’re ready or not.
This reality of converging IT roles was evident throughout the ONUG Fall 2022 conference in New York City last week. Users, vendors and analysts alike spoke about the growing overlap in priorities and challenges for modern enterprises.
Cloud adoption has become commonplace, but network teams have to handle the resulting complexity that comes with architecting a network that can support cloud environments. Meanwhile, network pros are increasingly obligated to consider security risks and compliance in their jobs. Additionally, network pros may feel pressure to embrace automation — but some aren’t sure why they should or if they have time to learn.
Everything that goes into the cloud starts with the network, said Guruprasad Ramamoorthy, vice president and global head of network architecture, engineering and operations at S&P Global, during an ONUG session. But it’s not practical to expect network teams to simply copy and paste configurations to migrate on-premises applications to the cloud, he said. Cloud adoption introduces complexities with networking, connectivity and security that many network teams are forced to triage.
Susan Tlacil, network architect at Chart Industries, experienced cloud complexity firsthand. Tlacil leads a three-person network team at Chart, a global manufacturer of natural gas and clean energy, based in Ball Ground, Ga. When upper management said they wanted to adopt cloud, she said she knew a little about Azure and AWS but didn’t have the time to become an expert in each provider’s infrastructure.
“There’s a huge skills gap, and we’re being pushed to learn the technologies,” Tlacil said. “Our bosses will say, ‘We’re going to the cloud,’ and we’ll say, ‘But we don’t know cloud.'”
While Azure and AWS are quick deployments, connecting them to the network isn’t as easy, she said. As Chart moved Active Directory and other applications to the cloud, Tlacil said users in their India offices complained about latency. Additionally, she said they had to rearchitect their cloud design three times in two years because their cloud providers’ upgrades caused issues when the team tried to add virtual networks.
Tlacil and her team turned to Alkira, a multi-cloud networking vendor, to help abstract cloud complexity and ease the process of adding company locations and associated cloud resources. Now, when Tlacil’s team needs to add a network and connect it to the cloud, they can point and click from the Alkira portal and turn up a new cloud provider instance in any region. Alkira automatically applies the necessary security profiles, policies and traffic segmentation.
“Now, we can connect any resource in any cloud and connect into the SD-WAN [software-defined WAN] simply with Alkira, and we don’t have to redo our segmentation because it’s already there,” Tlacil said.
Currently, Tlacil said Chart runs SAP on premises but has its business intelligence apps, drawing software and licensing services running in multiple clouds.
Brian Gilbert, vice president of technology and chief technology advisor at World Wide Technology, noted how all segments of IT are now forced to realize the importance of security in their day-to-day jobs.
“The amount of language that has shifted to cybersecurity and risk is a big change,” Gilbert said during a session on multi-cloud connectivity. “It’s a big thing to train for that and get yourself up to speed.”
A large element of that shift is realizing how the traditional perimeter has changed, said Evan Marks, director of enterprise architecture and strategy at Raytheon Technologies. The perimeter is now where an organization’s data and users are. Companies need to connect their users with that data, secure and authenticate data transfer, provide scalable security and manage all those elements centrally, he said.
Many organizations are responding to these requirements by implementing zero-trust strategies, Secure Access Service Edge and software-defined access. For most IT departments, those initiatives require more communication among traditionally distinct IT teams.
For example, Tlacil said she started working more with Chart Industries’ security team as it implemented zero trust and her team deployed additional network security products. She said they discuss policies, contracts and segmentation rules that meet Chart’s cyber insurance requirements.
Joe Richardson, senior director of product management secure networking at Comcast Business, said the relationship between networking and security has morphed from almost adversarial — with occasional partnerships — to a converged relationship.
To best address that convergence, Richardson said IT pros should weigh the following areas:
While some network pros embrace network automation with vigor, others aren’t convinced of the benefits or feel they don’t have time to learn proper automation strategies.
Before Tlacil hired the other two members of her team, she said she had been solely responsible for 700 devices over 40 sites. Automation with Cisco DNA Center was a way she could avoid working 80 hours a week.
“I could push a button and upgrade 10 switches, and I didn’t have to sit there and babysit it,” she said.
Now, her team uses automation for its network security implementations. She’s also learning how to program and build Azure architecture and use Python to create templates for Chart’s global field engineers who need to turn up new stations. But learning Python wasn’t something Tlacil prioritized until it was something she had to do.
Many IT pros are reluctant to learn automation, wondering if it might replace their jobs or add more to their workload because of training. Kevin Walsh, director of technical business development at AMD Pensando, said automation doesn’t remove jobs, but helps staff see the most important events, while the machines do the mundane tasks.
While network and security operations teams might ignore the thousands of event alerts they receive each day, automation, AI and machine learning tools can constantly watch the systems and flag network or security discrepancies.
“The network is usually telling us how it’s behaving, but we’re not listening,” Walsh said. “A human might look at a chart every once in a while, but a machine can constantly look at the stats and provide advanced notice.”
Cisco and Microsoft are finally breaking down the interoperability barriers between Webex and Teams apps. Companies will be able …
UCaaS is becoming more popular as carriers roll out more sophisticated and integrated packages to users. Learn why it might make …
Zoom introduced a slew of features for its UCaaS platform at Zoomtopia, including mail and calendar services and an informal …
Jamf executives at JNUC 2022 share their vision of the future with simplified BYOD enrollment and the role iPhones have in the …
Jamf will pay an undisclosed sum for ZecOps, which logs activity on iOS devices to find potential attacks. The companies expect …
Apple shifted its attention to premium smartphones in the latest iPhone 14 lineup with features such as Lockdown Mode that IT …
HPE rolls out lower-cost supercomputers designed to handle complex AI-based workloads. Dell looks to meet its longtime rival in …
Powered by AMD’s EPYC processor, Dell’s latest generation of PowerEdge servers is twice as fast as the previous generation, with …
VXLANs add network isolation and enable organizations to scale data center networks more efficiently. Consider VXLANs to expand a…
Interest in managed services as an investment opportunity continues as larger private equity funds enter the market, seeking …
VMware is expanding ties with global systems integrators and other partners as it looks for resources to help customers ramp up …
Cautious customer spending is slowing the growth of the broader cloud market. But IT service providers continue to pursue M&A for…
All Rights Reserved, Copyright 2000 – 2022, TechTarget

Privacy Policy
Cookie Preferences
Do Not Sell My Personal Info


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *