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Riverbed 2018 Predictions: Network as Critical Infrastructure for Business Success

VMblog Predictions 2018

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2018.  Read them in this 10th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by the Riverbed Executive Leadership Team

Network as Critical Infrastructure for Business Success

We have been speaking with-and listening to-our customers to learn what 2018 may have in store for the network. As we look ahead, we see that the network is rising in prominence on the executive agenda because it is viewed as ‘critical infrastructure' for business success. Based on these customer discussions and insight from our own internal experts, we will take a look at three areas impacting the network and provide some predictions for 2018. These predictions will focus on: network security, provided by me, impact on the service provider ecosystem, provided by Phil Harris our GM of Service Providers; and, what the next generation network will look like, provided by our CIO Rich Hillebrecht.

Let's take a look ahead.  

Hansang Bae, CTO, Riverbed Technology

Hansang Bae 

Prediction: The Internet of things and hyper connectivity will fundamentally disrupt traditional security safeguards. Thanks to the our increasingly hyper connected world, I believe that simply having a firewall to protect against your external enemies and threats will become a thing of the past. A security infrastructure that require data to traverse it to do its job will no longer be enough. In fact, the terms "dirty-side" and "clean-side" currently being used to describe network interfaces will have no meaning.  Tomorrow, threats will come from what seem like unlikely and trusted sources. It's going to be second and third connected business partners that you will have to worry about. Someone that is once or twice removed from your infrastructure being hacked makes you just as vulnerable as a nefarious internal actor trying to compromise your data. There used to be only so many ways one could gain entry to a system, but now with the explosion of devices and access points, these traditional defenses are simply not going to work anymore. The cleanly delineated view of your network being secure through the use of a firewall separating trusted and untrusted traffic will be antiquated, and instead security will be better ensured by viewing the network much more holistically as well as having technology safeguards in place that monitor the behavior of users and handle anomaly detection.

Prediction: In the near-term, crowdsourcing will be used more aggressively by IaaS providers as a means of improving their security.  The crowdsourcing model works in regard to security because history has shown that the more eyeballs you have on a problem, the faster vulnerabilities will be found. WEP is exhibit A of this model, which was the initial encryption standard which was released as part of the first wireless networking standard. It was found to be riddled with vulnerabilities out the door because it was developed in a closed environment with no inputs from a broader base of people with an interest in identifying and shoring up any weaknesses. The lesson was learned from this example and these standards are now open for broader analysis. Bounty programs at Microsoft, Oracle and others also prove this out. Why? Because they ask for help from many people, numbering in the hundreds and more, who are motivated to find bugs or vulnerabilities in their products and make them better and more secure. Alternatively, if you develop in a silo, your defense against vulnerabilities is only as good as the 5, 10, 20 or so people that work on particular protocols and the one thing  the teams miss will lead to vulnerabilities. If you have hundreds or more people working on these problems, then chances of finding and securing vulnerabilities goes up dramatically. Therefore, as counterintuitive as it may seem, the more open you are, the more protected you can be. As more  and more companies adopt these bug, or vulnerability bounty programs, this crowdsourcing security model will prove to be one of the most  efficient,  economical and effective strategies for shoring up the security of the network as well as it has for software and browsers.

Prediction: Network security will ultimately be driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence. Machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies at the security layer are going to be extremely dependable sentinels. Unlike todays network security systems which are largely human administered and maintained, ML and AI will be constantly vigilant against threats and vulnerabilities and will allow  us to use the "P" (prevention) in IPS with confidence. The current thinking as a security professional is that if you have an updated database, secure firewall, patched OpenSSL, etc., you're secure - but this presents a false sense of confidence that can be fatal to the security of the network. Machine learning and AI technology don't suffer from over confidence and preconceived notions of security.  It will simply do the job of identifying anomalies and mitigating threats, but far faster and better than today's, largely human latency bound, security posture model. 

Phil Harris, GM, Service Provider Segment Vertical, Riverbed Technology

Phil Harris 

Prediction: Service Providers will be critical to enabling the success of IoT. IoT is quickly becoming a reality with an expected 30 billion IoT devices to be in production globally by 2020*. These devices must all be connected to the internet, managed, and secured while also delivering a high quality of service to end users. Service providers have the most diverse set of communication mechanisms that major enterprises will rely on for this connectivity be it mobility services, broadband, and network infrastructure. How IoT devices connectivity is managed will be a major concern for the enterprise and Service Providers will be leaders in facilitating this. 

Prediction: Service Providers will become the management layer for enterprises cloud environments. With the various types of cloud environments that enterprises are adopting (Azure, AWS, Google Cloud), each is unique in their complexity in managing and deploying services. If a company wants to put a workload into multiple clouds, it has to treat that workload differently based on each cloud. This is inefficient and time consuming. Service Providers, due to their expertise in infrastructure deployment and maintenance, will be capable of treat different clouds as abstract sets of resources and essentially commoditize the cloud as a service. Organizations will be able to hand their cloud management over to Service Providers who will shield them from the complexities of these cloud environments.

Prediction: For service providers, user experience will be leveraged as a competitive differentiator. Today, the value of a customer facing service is measured in high availability, security and performance. While these are important, what isn't emphasized is the user experience of that service, but this is because it is difficult to measure. Service providers will begin to quantify user sentiment, which is typically subjective, through the use of Natural Language Processing technology that can interpret human communication channels (eg, Twitter, Facebook, message boards, etc.) and measure satisfaction. This measurement can then be used to determine where application or network issues may exist based on the sentiment of the users that are interacting with them and not just on traditional monitoring technology. The move to measuring end user experience based on sentiment will allow providers to have an additional source of truth when determining how and where to address issues with their offerings - and those providers that can boast the highest level of user satisfaction will their services will have a competitive advantage.

Rich Hillebrecht, CIO, Riverbed Technology

Rich Hillebrecht 

Prediction: Delivering quality end user experience will demand the deployment of next generation networks. Organizations are essentially a distributed network of smaller work groups that are tied together via the network. The experience that your workforce is having with core applications and services can be different-from location to location for a variety of reasons. This inequality of the internal user experience can negatively impact the perception and utilization of these applications and services-and hence the enterprise loses intended business capabilities from IT investments. The traditional network is hardware dependent, and runs on fragmented and sometimes inefficient technologies that can result in performance inequalities from location to location. For IT, performance management of the application and services dependent upon these networks is challenging because they don't have a holistic view and perspective on all the activities putting demands on the network and the ability to readily respond to those demand signals. Next generation networks, which will largely be software defined and have a management plane will provide IT with the ability to leverage the right network paths, assign appropriate priority to network traffic and ensure the health of network at all locations. These networks will also incorporate an integrated, end-to-end view of the user experience from the datacenter to the end devices at the edge so that anything that may jeopardize performance is identified and managed before the end user is impacted.

Prediction: Emerging technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, as well as IoT, will drive the need for scaled and automated network management. These emerging technologies are in the mainstream future of IT. While virtual reality (VR) was once only associated with gaming, now VR as well as augmented reality (AR) are being rapidly being adopted in industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, transportation, energy - the list goes on and on. Add to this phenomenon the explosion in IoT devices at the edge of the network - which are generating data at an incredible rate - and you can see that the job of network management and ensuring network performance can quickly consume an organization that does not invest to scale through technology, process automation or partnering with a provider that does. Introducing these new emerging technologies into the workplace requires the ability to isolate their activity for visibility and understand how when scaled they will impact the network and distribution of compute workload at the edge. To be able to deploy them responsibly requires a solid foundation of enabling IT services-LAN, WAN, branch and DC computing. Modernizing the network with next generation software defined network solutions and services will be key. IT organizations will need to make decisions on sourcing-in-house managed or through a managed service provider-in order to deliver and manage the solution set needed to keep up and stay ahead. Managed network service providers will increase their capabilities in order to take on this responsibility and allow the enterprise to focus on introducing these emerging technologies to enable greater innovation and a competitive edge.


Published Wednesday, December 20, 2017 8:04 AM by David Marshall
Riverbed 2018 Predictions: Network as Critical Infrastructure for Business Success | EMC VMAX - (Author's Link) - December 20, 2017 9:08 AM
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