Defining hybrid networks and how to secure them

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Organisations have distributed data and workloads across both cloud environments and on-premises data centres. As a result, IT teams have to deploy, manage and secure increasingly complex and hybrid networks. And even though many organisations have moved many of their workloads into the cloud, the majority of them still operate hybrid environments. 

Hybrid environments allow organisations to keep important data on-premises. This allows them to maintain full control over sensitive assets, while also taking full advantage of the scalability and agility the cloud provides. However, as organisations become more hybrid and distributed, their security needs to be able to span across all environments.  

As applications, resources, devices and workers work from anywhere, networks need to be able to adapt in real time. Workflows now often span physical data centres as well as multiple cloud environments; applications follow users regardless of where they are connecting from or what device they are using; and data and other resources need to be securely accessed by any user on any device in any location. Security needs to be able to adapt and scale to meet these new requirements.

Five essential security functions to hybrid networks

To properly protect and defend these hybrid environments, organisations should look for security solutions that provide the following critical functions: 

Broad: Security solutions need to support a distributed security model where the exact same security solutions can be deployed in any environment. 

Integrated: All of the various security solutions deployed across the network need to be able to see and work together as a single system to detect threats and respond to them in a coordinated fashion, regardless of where they occur. 

Fast: These security functions need to operate not just at the speed of business, but at the speed of threats as well. 

Automated: Anomalous and malicious behaviours need automated responses. 

Security-driven Networking: Security-driven Networking weaves security and networking into a single, integrated system. This enables them to establish and enforce zero-trust access, dynamic network segmentation and unified enforcement anywhere, on any device, in any location, without introducing security gaps or performance lags.

Success requires networking and security to function as a single solution

The majority of today’s security solutions are simply not fast enough, nor smart or responsive enough, don’t operate in enough places and can’t adapt as quickly as today’s business requires. This is especially true in multi-vendor environments with disparate security solutions that don’t integrate when deployed. This lack of integration makes it impossible for organisations to securely use the flexible network environments they need to compete effectively. 

Instead, these organisations need a security platform, like the Fortinet Security Fabric, designed to span, adapt to and protect today’s dynamic environments. If they can’t, their business will not be able to keep up. And that is critical in today’s digital business environment, where the difference between success and failure can be measured in microseconds. 

hybrid networks
John Madisson

By John Madisson, EVP of Products and CMO at Fortinet

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