Keeping IT ahead in a game when rules keep changing

IT leaders today are facing more challenges than ever before. As you look to shape your winning strategies, the rules of the game keep changing. Environments are more dispersed and dynamic, with attack surfaces and vectors expanding, and new threats emerging. Applications are no longer confined to desktops and devices but are spread across multiple clouds. Work models are evolving as people are more mobile and workplaces become more distributed.

Seeing and protecting people, places, and things in highly distributed and dynamic environments can be daunting. Today’s security stacks have become a complex patchwork of point solutions from many vendors – an issue dubbed, “tool sprawl.”

As you work to overcome these challenges, your users’ expectations keep rising. Assured application performance is a requirement. IT teams must therefore deliver more bandwidth and less latency—against a backdrop of stakeholder demands for service innovation.

At larger organizations in particular, IT functions are split by discipline, such as network operations or security operations. Each of these teams has its own goals, tools, processes, and expertise. This means collaboration is slow, innovation lags, and tackling organizational issues is difficult. According to a recent study, almost half of business leaders (48%) see competing priorities between teams as top roadblocks to collaboration.

For IT leaders, it all adds up to an environment that’s more complex, less predictable, and harder to scale.

Moving beyond silos

The answers to the myriad challenges facing IT teams today cannot be confined to a single technology. The solution cannot be either. It calls for an approach that brings technologies closer together operationally—one that empowers teams to scale up fast, deliver more bandwidth and better application performance, while assuring security everywhere. It’s an architectural evolution based on converging networking and security and enabled by applying the principles of the cloud operating model.

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a compelling example of this convergence. We can see its potential in a law firm with 200 employees and multiple offices that was embracing hybrid work but needed to keep its partners connected to the tools essential for serving clients. The firm wanted to move away from on-premises systems because its headquarters is located in a hurricane-prone region. Migrating workloads to the cloud offered more business resilience, but the solution had to meet strict privacy requirements. It also had to be simple to deploy and manage.

The law firm chose a SASE architecture, which converges networking and security into a cloud-centric service to support secure, seamless connectivity for anytime, anywhere access to any user, device, or location. The migration happened in hours and was handled by staff without deep engineering expertise. Now, users can securely access the legal applications they need from anywhere, and onboarding remote workers is ten times faster for their IT teams than it was before.

Convergence drives competitive edge

Converging networking and security in the cloud is a powerful way to help enterprise IT leaders stay ahead of change. But convergence also offers service providers a powerful route to keeping competitive.

Innovations such as routed optical networking mean service providers can converge IP and optical layers for more efficient operations. A major service provider in Ethiopia is using routed optical networking to drive down network costs and simplify network management while delivering high-speed internet to businesses where infrastructure had been lacking.

Routed optical networking means the service provider can fast-track planning, design, and activation to scale out new services rapidly—all while reducing the number of devices in the network to optimize fiber capacity and increase availability and resiliency.

As a result, this service provider will be Ethiopia’s first ISP to offer a single package that includes high-speed broadband internet access, IPTV, and voice services.

It’s time to unlock the potential of convergence

Nonstop change is a given. But today’s IT challenges also create an opportunity to build a simpler, more consistent environment that’s easier to secure and manage. Converging networking and security operations to align more closely with the infrastructure enables IT to respond to disruption more quickly and proactively. It can also provide a springboard for improved innovation, seamless user experiences, and better business outcomes.

With a converged approach to networking and security, enabled by cloud operating principles, CIOs can build a more collaborative, agile organization that will thrive in an unpredictable landscape.

See how to simplify IT and stay one step ahead in an ever-changing world.

Digital Transformation