The Enterprise IT landscape is dramatically changing, with a wave of new devices, applications, technologies and trends changing the way businesses operate. As the lines between corporate and consumer IT usage continue to blur, in today's 'Everywhere Enterprise', internet bandwidth is being eaten up by video streaming, cloud storage and accessing applications. The pressure on CIOs is mounting as corporate networks become increasingly complex. Charged with managing more applications, users and sites, reducing IT costs and protecting the enterprise from ever advancing security threats, eyes are also looking towards the CIO to somehow drive business innovation. Part of the enterprise's answer to accommodate the technological, economic and sociological changes that have influenced trends such as Cloud Applications, Unified Communications and Mobile Networking, is the introduction of ‘Hybrid Networking'.
The public Internet is becoming essential to address fast rising traffic demands in a cost efficient way. The shift of business and private applications to the cloud has created a new art of combining private MPLS networks with the public Internet, with the main objective being to combine the carrier class quality and availability of MPLS networks with the high bandwidth capacity of a low cost Internet VPN. However, this significantly increases the network complexity, and scaling IT security to keep up with the expansion of the network posts significant financial and performance impacts.
Adding security appliances at dozens of remote data centers quickly multiplies IT costs, and routing mobile and remote traffic through a centralized hub introduces unacceptable latency to the user experience. Local Internet breakouts provide direct access to the Internet and to public cloud applications, offering the best possible experience to remote users for these applications. However it brings its own challenges with uncertain business continuity, no guarantee of application performance and management complexity. According to Gartner's Neil Rickard, “Through 2015, at least 50% of cloud deployments will suffer from business-impacting performance issues” (Network Strategies for a Hybrid Cloud World, Gartner Symposium 2012). End-users will not be satisfied if their new cloud applications do not perform as well as the traditional applications they have consumed from corporate data centres. This will quickly translate to low adoption figures in the new technologies the enterprise has invested in, muting the benefits.
Two elements are required to meet the changing needs of the enterprise today; the ability to guarantee the performance of applications necessary to the business, and a scalable security solution that enables the enterprise to stay secure with the additional network complexities. Application Performance Guarantee solutions enable enterprises to monitor, control and protect business applications performance across two or more networks, automatically choosing the best network path for each application flow in real-time, according to the application requirements and business criticality. Rather than needlessly increasing the bandwidth, these solutions prioritize business critical applications over non-critical traffic, ensuring the performance of the business is unaffected by increased non-essential network usage.
It is also possible to introduce cloud based security solutions for the Hybrid Network, eliminating the need for expensive hardware and software, while delivering the processing performance and scalability necessary to secure business users for mobility. When rolling out cloud based security services, you no longer need the complex branch-level security devices. Rather, sitting at each internet touch point, all end user traffic can be bi-directionally inspected, regardless of location or device, even where the traffic is SSL encrypted.
Cumulating security and performances allow enterprises to benefit from all the promises of their hybrid network and cloud strategy, turning their hybrid network into a reliable, predictable and secure business network. Performance and security set ups that complement each other will keep CIOs at ease; threats need to be dealt with as they enter from the internet or elsewhere, and safe programs left to run in harmony. In this situation, it is possible to benefit from the ever-expanding possibilities of internet-based applications without losing a sense of privacy and control.