Working in a secure, borderless world
Avinash Purwar, Senior Vice President, Borderless network, Cisco India and SAARC.
Two of three workers around the world believe that they do not need to be in the office anymore to be productive, according to an international workplace study. Changes in the workplace environment today indicate that employees want to be always connected and demand access to information anytime, anywhere and on any device. It is estimated that over the next three years some 1.5 billion new network mobile devices will be moving into the enterprise.
As workers become increasingly distributed and mobile, organizations need to provide connectivity and extended reach to employees, customers, partners and suppliers. As firms hire and retain a more tech-savvy workforce with lofty mobility expectations, IT departments find themselves awakened to the requirements of supporting a wider array of devices, operating systems, and applications. While adapting to the new working environments organizations face a two-fold challenge: mobile device management, and mobile security.
Today there is greater pressure on IT to meet the demands of a dynamic workforce-both in terms of service delivery and security challenges. Organizations that want to be nimble, agile, and collaborative, have to break down the silos and borders that exist within their organization and also between their organization and the outside world - partners, customers and suppliers. As their networks become wider and more open, organizations need to protect them and deploy new models to improve business efficiency.
Tackling security challenges
In order to tackle the new complex IT challenges posed by a borderless world, organizations need to develop business architectures that span across network management portfolios and help to simplify IT support while maintaining corporate security. The network architecture must help IT adapt to rapid changes and deliver user services that heighten business agility. It must provide identity-based access control to increase visibility into the network and user activity. Such architectures must enable organizations to incorporate new networking technologies that help IT to centrally manage and automate security/ access control for any device across the organization while supporting emerging business trends.
Incorporating a centralized policy engine that solves the "any device" challenge by enforcing context-aware access security policy helps organizations to distinguish between organization-owned devices and personal user devices and further enhance security. It also automates security across the organization with network-enforced access policies and encryption. This helps to simplify IT operations by enabling policy definitions that mirror business rules, based on user, device, application and location. Such an approach adds support to help organizations accelerate deployment with policy review, analysis, and design expertise that will prepare their network for a borderless world.
Implementing a unified access policy with Identity-based network services provides visibility into network operations, lowers operating costs and reduces risk. It allows employees, customers, and partners to connect and communicate anytime, anywhere, on any device in a manner that is seamless, secure, and reliable. Establishing an overarching access policy by device type, including wireless and wired, that is easy to implement, very responsive and has a clean, clear user interface enables organizations to provide reliable and steady network service, wherever they need it and however they choose to access it.
In addition to enabling IT departments to more effectively manage their networks and network services, such an approach delivers an intuitive workflow-oriented user experience across architectures, technologies, and networks. It also helps to simplify network management, speed troubleshooting and increase network predictability when built on a service-centric foundation having a set of common operational attributes. Other benefits include faster troubleshooting and increased operations efficiency. Along with Intelligent media diagnostics this approach helps to monitor and troubleshoot, reduce cost and save time, besides providing organizations with a capability to offer personalized, professional services that simplify solution deployment and management.
As the demand to work from anywhere with the users' device of choice is increasing, so is the demand to use video to enhance communications. Networking technologies that enable IT to centrally manage and automate security and access control for any device across organizations, as well as embedded video and voice, to support emerging business trends will continue to be the most sought after. Going forward deploying a comprehensive architecture which incorporates routing, switching, mobility, security, and wide area network (WAN) optimization application and services, and comes with systems capabilities that facilitate video, mobility, and security will help increase business innovation.