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  • Keith Bromley

Shift Happens—So How Can You Make New IT Changes Work For You? By: Keith Bromley


"Shift Happens"

So How Can You Make New IT Changes Work For You?

As businesses remain under pressure to stay competitive, they must obviously react to the rapidly changing technological infrastructure and cyber security threats that are emerging and disappearing without warning. Some trends are merely fads while others will have important ramifications. So, which ones are fads? More importantly, how do you get a clear view into the most important areas so you can focus your business? How you respond to these shifts will dictate whether your business will thrive (not just survive) in this new environment.

The obvious answer is to sort the wheat from the chaff when it comes to these trends. This will help identify what the most important trends (i.e. the shifts) are for your organization and give you that clarity of vision. To this end, Ixia conducted research into key near term trends that could be impactful to the enterprise. We found that there are two key IT trends that will/are affecting enterprises in 2019 and 2020.

That data is summarized in several presentations. There are two summary presentations as follows:

  • Shamus McGillicudy of Enterprise Management Associates presents a litany of the overall trends affecting DevOps and SecOps in his video presentation here. He introduces the whole field of trends and then starts to sort the wheat from the chaff. He finally focuses on the two most important trends and their impacts to an enterprise.

  • Another presentation by Mark Pierpoint of Ixia illustrates how you can make these new changes work for your organization. For instance, recognizing that a market place shift has occurred is one thing, but how can you benefit from it? How do you harness the power within that shift? Mark discusses how to acquire a deeper understanding of the shifts and how to apply them in 2019 to: optimize network security, maximize network performance, reduce your costs, and provide ideas on how to offer new revenue generating services.

By now, you are hopefully asking what these two trends are.

So, here they are:

  • Ongoing cybersecurity concerns will persist, especially as threats morph and intensify

  • A fundamental shift of compute from the core of the network to the edge is taking place

For some, these results might be unexpected, as cloud computing is not directly listed here. While cloud has many useful benefits for the enterprise, it has quite a few detraction's as well including: higher costs than what are usually expected, performance problems, and security issues. See a separate article on that topic here!

So, I’m not saying that cloud is not be beneficial to enterprises, but those benefits need to be scrutinized to determine exactly how beneficial that technology will be for you. Several enterprises are just now starting to realize the full ramifications of that technology and have begun moving some functions out of the cloud and back to a physical on-premises location.

On the other hand, cyber security should be an obvious answer. It has clear impacts for all businesses. However, every year there are different key implications. For instance, during the middle of 2018, the IETF approved a new version of TLS (TLS1.3). More than half of all malware is transmitted as encrypted traffic now. This means that an enterprise clearly needs to perform data decryption so that they can uncover hidden threats that are coming in to the network.

However, with the adoption of TLS1.3, how decryption is performed is changing as well—and in a big way. Passive decryption, i.e. out-of-band decryption, is no longer supported. You must deploy active (man-in-the-middle) decryption. This means you must perform decryption inline. If you are not deploying inline security solutions already, this will be a big change for you. A presentation by Scott Register walks you through all of the TLS 1.3 changes and their impacts.

The next question around security is—so what? What can I do? What can I really change? The answer is several things. While threats morph, like the explosion of ransomware in late 2017 and all of 2018, there must be a continual focus on the basics. It is very easy to get caught up in new concepts like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), but how much of this real and how much is vendor hype?

Ixia held a round table discussion on the security topic. Five speakers sounded off to share tips and examples of what you can (and should) do. These speakers included security engineers (hacking experts), security product managers, and CISOs. You can watch the whole session here.

The movement of compute from the core to the edge was identified as the second big, impactful trend. There has been significant interest in core (cloud) computing in the last year. However, bandwidth consumption increases due to IoT, rising costs for cloud networks (due to unplanned costs) that are now being revealed, and higher data transmission costs (as the amount of network data increases) are all creating a shift from core network computing to edge of the network computing.

The data overload issue is only going to get worse. According to Cisco Systems, network traffic will reach 4.8 zettabytes (i.e. 4.8 billion terabytes) by 2022.

Businesses cannot continue as usual and still keep up with network performance impacts, morphing security threats, and Big Data (probably need to call it Super-massive Data now) business applications. In response to this, network architects are moving as much of the core compute resources as they can to the edge of the network. This helps IT: reduce costs, improve performance, and maintain a secure network. A presentation by Recep Ozdag of Ixia explains this key shift and its ramifications.

So, how can you mitigate the data overload problem and increase your network visibility? First, you create a visibility architecture that enables you to monitor the data running across your network. Next, you can replace MPLS circuits at the edge of your network with Megabit and Gigabit Ethernet. This allows you to push IP-based links out to the edge of your network. SD-WAN can then be deployed to guarantee quality of service (QoS) on your IP links. In fact, SD-WAN deployments are on track to grow 40% over the next four years.

At this point, you can install taps for network monitoring connectivity for smaller size network packet brokers. Performance monitoring solutions for your SD-WAN and any Hybrid IT solutions can also be deployed. A presentation by Taran Singh of Ixia shows this solution and various use cases that solve the problem.

If you want more information on any of these topics, visit www.ixiacom.com/resources for free whitepapers, case studies and solution briefs.

Author - Keith Bromley is a senior product management and marketing professional at Ixia, a Keysight business, with over 25 years of high tech software and hardware experience. In his role, he is responsible for thought leadership, product management and marketing activities for network monitoring, network security, VoIP and unified communications (UC) for enterprise and carrier solutions. Keith is a E.E. and a dedicated technologist.

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