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2022 Top 5 Highlights for Network Automation and Security

December 15, 2022 | Written by: Surinder Paul | , ,

2022 Top 5 Highlights for Network Automation and Security

2022 has been challenging for IT and network teams. While the pandemic brought a shift to cloud and work-from-anywhere, market factors this year such as supply chain issues, the war in Ukraine, and inflation have brought “optimization” to the forefront. That includes optimizing operational efficiency (time savings) as well as costs (TCO & Opex), to ensure business continuity, risk management, and compliance. To meet requirements, enhanced security postures, improved multi-cloud management, and above all network automation projects have been mainly accelerated by NetSecOps teams.

Below are our Top 5 highlights of 2022:

1) Shadow IT was Driven by Technical Debt

According to an IDC Summit, 42% of company employees announced they use Shadow IT to meet challenging project velocity demands. Unfortunately, this leads to ungoverned access to networks, the consequences of which include an extended attack surface, compliance issues, heightened risk of data loss, and increased costs. While 39% of organizations surveyed in the IDC 2022 Threat Report stated that they have low confidence in their detection capability, 61% of companies still did NOT make Shadow IT a priority in 2022. However, a simple, cost-effective way to improve Shadow IT control has become increasingly recognized this year by organizations. Using an existing component of their infrastructure – their DNS.

DNS can easily detect queries from unapproved apps or services when enhanced analytics, micro-segmentation, and application zoning are applied. EfficientIP’s patented DNS Guardian offers all this functionality. The attack surface can consequently be reduced, ungoverned access made visibly, and breaches contained far more easily. In addition, incorporating EfficientIP Cloud Observer functionality can help NetSecOps detect cloud instances from any cloud provider and thus investigate any ungoverned apps.

2) Optimization Became a Key Focus, Accelerating Network Automation

Gartner’s recent CIO and Technology Executive Survey revealed that the technology plans of CIOs are focused on optimization rather than growth. For digital technology investment over the last two years, the top objective has been to improve operational excellence (53% of respondents stated that), while 22% cited improving cost efficiency. Network Automation projects have been accelerated as a consequence, with Source of Truth information highlighted as being imperative for the successful enablement or extension of automation efforts.

IP source of truth is offered by IPAM solutions such as SOLIDserver IPAM. And for network objects such as switches, routers, servers, PCs, printers, IoT, VMs, and containers, EfficientIP’s Network Object Manager allows DevOps, NetOps, and CloudOps teams to create a centralized repository of trusted data. This helps to practically eliminate configuration errors and serves as the foundation for zero-touch operations, bringing significant time savings and confidence in automated decision-making.

3) For Controlling Multi-Cloud Projects, Visibility Became a Top Priority

The rapid adoption of multi-cloud (64% according to a 2022 Nutanix Report) has caused IT departments to be no longer aware of all the new apps and services being produced by development, network, and security teams. This has led to the IT staff no longer having accurate visibility over components in their clouds, something which has been further hindered by time-consuming tasks and lack of uniformity. With the administration of cloud instances becoming more complex, 87% of participants surveyed in the Nutanix report agreed that multi-cloud success requires simpler management across mixed-cloud infrastructures to control growth and costs.

NetSecOps and ITOps teams, therefore, require an easy-to-use discovery tool to view, track and consolidate information on any provisioned cloud resources and networks. EfficientIP Cloud Observer presents this information via a central network management interface or open APIs. Cost optimization, automation, and delegation of basic operations are enabled, bringing significant benefits around operational efficiency.

4) Hybrid Workforce and Extended Enterprise Highlighted Data Privacy Issues

Networks are changing due to digital transformation and hybrid work models causing the adoption of new delivery models. Security has to now extend beyond the traditional enterprise perimeter to address new imperatives including IoT, cloud, data center, SD-WAN, and 5G. In 2022, companies still appeared unwilling to rely on expensive, complicated, and unscalable VPN solutions, often using standard and vulnerable ISP/public DNS services instead. Consequently, they have exposed themselves to data privacy and security issues. According to the 2022 IDC Threat Report, 72% see risk in using DoH with a public provider. This is due to the lack of guarantee and validation of the connections between DNS servers and clients, as well as the data that goes over these connections.

With 54% (and growing) of organizations saying it is a critical component for securing remote workers, DNS security is seen as a strong asset for also securing the hybrid workforce. Private enterprise DNS security can be leveraged to reduce management complexity, boost privacy, and extend the same on-premises policies to the extended enterprise: cloud, IoT, SD-WAN, remote workers, etc. Using private DNS prevents snooping and keeps data related to traffic within the organization, which is why 47% are considering setting up a private DNS system to limit the privacy risks associated with a public DoH.

5) Malware and Ransomware Continued to Rise

According to SonicWall, malware volume rose by 11% in the first half of 2022, IoT malware by 77%, and ransomware in Europe by 63%. Ransomware has become profitable, resulting in substantial ransom demands, major disruptions, and leaked or stolen data. All industries are affected, with education, government, and healthcare being among the top targets. For protection against malware and ransomware, DNS security was viewed by 57% of organizations (IDC 2022 Threat Report) as a top method.

Of course, basic DNS alone is not adequate to protect against ransomware. To use DNS as a foundation tool for anti-ransomware programs, companies require a high-performance dedicated DNS, which incorporates response policy zones (RPZs), threat intelligence, and log/behavior analysis. DNS’s unique position in the network allows it to see the intent of all traffic. It’s therefore a no-brainer that organizations should leverage DNS to be their first line of defense.

To learn how you can leverage EfficientIP solutions to simplify, automate and secure your network, come and talk with one of our experts.

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