IT disaster recovery, cloud computing and information security news

Kelly Ahuja, CEO at Versa Networks, looks ahead to 2022 and how organizations will develop the way that ICT networks are managed and provisioned to ensure better availability and security.

2021 was a continuation of the seismic shift in how people work, a change that started at the beginning of the global pandemic. The acceleration of cloud, mobility, and security initiatives proved to be critical for organizations looking to weather the new threats and disruptions. In fact, the Verizon 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report found that “with an unprecedented number of people working remotely, phishing and ransomware attacks increased by 11 percent and 6 percent respectively.” Cybercriminals have taken advantage of security challenges that arise from the new model of remote work and collaboration. To combat this, businesses who are agile in adopting digital transformation strategies reaped the benefits: from better security hygiene to reduce the risk of a data breach to improved productivity that ultimately yields higher revenue.

Here are five important trends that you should consider for 2022: 

SASE, a single vendor play

Last year, Versa Networks predicted that SASE would be an essential strategic initiative, design approach, and implementation standard for enterprise network and network security deployments around the globe. In 2022, SASE will accelerate to become the gold standard for organizations looking to achieve consistency, flexibility, and high performance for both their security and networking needs.

Businesses and organizations will gravitate towards a single vendor SASE provider for uniform, consistent, and ubiquitous security, networking, and business policies to every user, application, and device. This single vendor model will still need to allow for the option to integrate with 3rd party SASE services. 

Organizations see the optimum implementation of SASE as bringing together connectivity and network security into a single, integrated software solution that provides consistent, centrally managed access, and security from anywhere in the world. SASE protects users, devices, and applications wherever they are, and when done well: is the best blend of identity, endpoint, and threat protection you can achieve. However, deploying a multi-vendor approach for SASE introduces visibility gaps and security vulnerabilities. Implementing a single vendor SASE approach is critical for granular visibility and control, reduced attack surfaces, dramatically lower latency, and unprecedented application performance.  

IoT and MEC security

The explosion of 5G this past year has created transformational opportunities around smart manufacturing, augmented reality / virtual reality (AR/VR), and more. However, for low latency connectivity, Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) is an important paradigm to achieve many of these goals. MEC converges network, computing, storage, security, and application capabilities and delivers them seamlessly at the edge. This brings low latency compute as close as possible to users, devices, and things.

However, these advancements open the door to new potential threats and vulnerabilities such as kernel bypass, DDOS attacks on 5G service interfaces, cyber attacks on the Internet-of-Things (IoT) ecosystem, leading to Zero-day exploits, software tampering, and API exploits. Such attacks directly impact service availability, data exfiltration and information integrity.

Top strategies to secure the MEC and IoT gateway require security hardening against API exploitation and the ability to detect privileged escalation within applications. Approaches to build zero trust holistically across MEC and IOT ecosystems are critical to guarantee end-to-end SLA management, contextual security, and visibility. 

Work from anywhere, forever

Last year, Versa Networks predicted that work-from-home would be made up of at least 50 percent of the employee base and we believe that going into 2022, work-from-home will expand into a work-from-anywhere model permanently. Because 2021 has shown that productivity can be maintained or even increased, collaboration can continue or improve, and establishing and measuring metrics is possible with remote employees- organizations will implement a secure work-from-anywhere model where corporate access can be extended to not only home offices but campuses, retail shops, hotels, a hospital, the airport, and more.

With a work-from-anywhere model, employees can easily access their Voice over IP (VoIP), Unified Communications, collaboration, and video applications while enabling cloud and on-premise security and performance from anywhere in the world. Whether the business application is hosted in the cloud or on-premises, appropriate security policies must ben consistently enforced even through public Wi-Fi networks or on unmanaged devices. As a result, businesses will need to invest in more than just a VPN to protect against users who can be connecting from anywhere and from any device: they need to implement a holistic approach to getting visibility and control over identities, threats, and endpoints. With a strategic approach to networking and security like SASE, businesses will be able to achieve both the performance, security, and lower CapEx and Opex from implementing a secure, scalable, and optimized Work-from-Anywhere model.

Multi-cloud interoperability and consistency

The rapid rise of cloud and secure SD-WAN has ushered in an era where on-demand services are accessed, and operational simplicity is table stakes. When branch and corporate offices connect to multiple clouds, IT needs cloud-intelligent, dynamic multi-path connectivity and robust security. In 2022, it is critical that organizations simplify their broad range of multi-cloud networking and security functions that include routing, SD-WAN, carrier-grade NAT, DOS, IP address management, stateful firewall, NGFW, IPS, IDS, antivirus, and malware in a single view that is interoperable and consistent.

To integrate these necessary functions across multiple clouds requires the WAN infrastructure to be an enabler for accessing clouds without consuming too much bandwidth. In addition, digital transformation initiatives to connect multiple clouds need to be extended consistently to all branch locations. In order to achieve consistency in security, policy, and networking across the multi-cloud, 2022 will shift focus to implementing a strategy that is cloud agnostic and will greatly improve the application intent across multiple clouds and SaaS services.

MSPs, the trusted advisors

Most of the large-scale ransomware attacks in the past year have been caused by third party software being exploited, as evidenced by the SolarWinds and Kaseya hack. More than ever, managed service providers (or MSPs) will be in the best position to be the trusted advisors for all things security to organizations in 2022 and beyond. Critical training on threats and vulnerabilities such as supply chain attacks will be a critical component for all managed service providers looking to offer security services and software to their customers.

Service providers and MSPs will have the opportunity to demonstrate that they can effectively and securely manage their customer environments going into 2022. Securing the infrastructure that third party providers manage requires protection of the people, applications, systems, traffic, and everything in-between. MSPs will be trusted advisors who find and retain world class cyber security talent and offer the best training to end users on the modern threats that plague organizations spanning all verticals. Well trained MSP providers acting as trusted advisors to organizations of all sizes will be the foundation for delivering good security hygiene and a strong security strategy for 2022 and beyond.

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