Evolving Cyber Needs, Part Two: Software-Defined Networking

The rise and the risks of SDN

6-minute read

The hottest IT property is now in the cloud — and your network needs to take you there. As cloud-based apps and services become the new standard, software-defined networking (SDN) is becoming a default design.

In 2015, the SDN market accounted for $10.88 billion—by 2022, it’s expected to grow to $134.51 billion.

Risky, expensive, and highly limited in their capabilities, traditional networking solutions are in steady decline and now the time has come to start introducing new perspectives on how networks are managed.

With this in mind, software defined networking is rapidly becoming the go-to solution for those who are having trouble overcoming the limitations of traditional networking — John Woods in UC Today

When it comes to IT services, you know the only constant is change—so today’s solutions may change for tomorrow. This four-part series looks at the biggest evolving cyber needs on the horizon: SecuritySDNIoT, and edge computing.

SDN Risks

If you’re moving away from the restrictions and fragility of a traditional network, what are the risks?

Security

As you match enterprise needs with cloud-based as-a-service solutions, your security might become a patchwork of different strategies for different applications, services, or user groups.

Moving more of your daily functions and critical data to the cloud does introduce more security risk—and the truth is that your enterprise needs its own overarching security solution.

The only way to maximize the commercial benefits of SD-WANs and achieve essential security that reflects the emerging threat vectors is to embrace a security overlay model; to find a way to deploy end-to-end Layer 4 encryption across every part of the infrastructure, irrespective of the underpinning network technology. — Jim Kennedy in CSO

And that leads us directly into the importance of central management for your SDN. It’s critical to get a panoramic view across security, usage, and performance as your network evolves.

Manageability

With a proliferation of cloud-based solutions and services, many network managers end up using 10 or more different tools to monitor and troubleshoot their networks. That leads to duplicate effort and missed information. Your enterprise needs a solution that gives managers a central view of what they need to know.

You need to centralize your enterprise.

Fortunately, SDN architectures are more intuitive, agile, and adaptable than traditional networks that are often burdened with much more management overhead.

However, there’s another element to risk of managing an SDN. An SDN architecture requires network managers to adopt a new mindset. And many traditional network managers have spent years refining their mindset and approach. It can be difficult for them to make fundamental shifts, especially when those shifts require an investment of time and money to learn new skills.

Changeability

Many SDN vendors are still evolving their offerings. Currently, there is not as much standardization or cross-vendor compatibility as exists with more established technologies.

That means there is a higher risk that an SDN product will be modified or pulled, ending the product support and enhancements you need. To keep from building your SDN infrastructure in the wrong camp, do your homework on which technologies have the best support, strongest customer base in your market, and surest long-term prospects for development.

SDN Evolution

Most enterprises are gradually evolving toward SDN architectures, starting with hybrid solutions. That often makes sense, but it can make it difficult to diligently keep centralizing the network monitoring and security.

As SDN technology and offerings advance, a centralized solution starts with people who have the latest knowledge and skills—people who know about the right options and how to form them into a secure, efficient network that adapts to meet your unique needs.

To talk about SDN security, monitoring, management, and more, contact us today.


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