Managing a Modern, Heterogeneous, Hybrid Network with Automation

Today’s modern network is comprised of a hybrid environment of both physical and virtual devices from multiple vendors that span across cloud and on-premises infrastructure. The quick turn to a distributed workforce driven by the pandemic has led to an increase in network complexity and threats. Currently, 59% of U.S. workers who say their jobs can mainly be done from home are working from home all or most of the time, and 16% of companies globally are fully remote

Because an organization’s employees are now often based around the globe, there is an increase in hybrid network environments and the diversity of device types as well as different vendors of those devices that compile a network, which only grows increasingly complex as a business scales. In fact, IDC predicts that more than 90% of enterprises will rely on a hybrid cloud environment to meet their infrastructure needs by the end of 2022.

As networks continue to evolve, their complexity creates the perfect environment for malicious activity as well as human error in configurations or other security tasks that can inadvertently lead to risk. The increasing adoption of cloud network environments and the countless devices that comprise a network create a broader attack surface for threat actors, making it easier for vulnerabilities and attacks to go unnoticed.

The modern network continues to grow larger and more complex, highlighting the need for automation solutions that make recurring processes more consistent and verifiable, increase speed and efficiency, and ultimately create a better security posture.

Why Alternative Solutions Aren’t Sufficient

Traditional and manual approaches to network management are no longer effective for today’s modern network. These strategies prove to be costly, prone to error, and subject to employee turnover. Manual network management also can’t keep up with increasingly rigorous security standards.

Solutions like BackBox offer a simple way to continuously improve the performance and security posture of all devices on the network by providing centralized, automated management. Firewalls, routers, switches, and load balancers currently make up the core of networking devices in the enterprise today. Each one plays a critical role in the availability and security of an organization’s network. Network security automation is designed to ensure that they are configured and updated to strengthen security and support optimal performance.

With network security automation connected to all the devices on the network, many of the routine management procedures become scheduled and automated, providing organizations with peace of mind and saving time, money, and resources.

The Must Haves of Network Security Automation

To provide a comprehensive look into every aspect of a network, organizations should look to network security automation solutions that provide a few key criteria regardless of what kind of environment you’re in:

  • Backup, Recovery and Verification: Network security automation solutions like BackBox provide hassle-free, automated backup that includes seamless disaster recovery procedures and automatic verification procedures. Organizations should look for solutions that enable automated backups of all the devices on the network, can schedule and store any number of configuration backups for as long as needed, and can automatically verify backup processes.
  • Task Automation: Strong task automation is a must-have for network security. This is a requirement that becomes especially critical at scale. A task may be as simple as adding or removing an administrator from devices, or as elaborate as performing complex automated upgrades or hotfixes to multiple devices with the single click of a mouse. Look for solutions that offer a set of pre-configured tasks that can alter configuration settings on multiple devices.
  • Network Visualization: Because a network automation tool routinely audits configurations and settings across the network, it can provide a level of inventory and visualization that is much more than just a snapshot of assets that make up the network, enabling robust, flexible asset management. Solutions like BackBox’s platform offer dynamic visualization that supports a granular, real-time understanding of the lifecycle of devices – with constantly updated inventory and accessible knowledge on hardware, software, and configuration data of all devices.
  • Compliance and Security Assurance and Remediation: The right network security automation solution can support preemptive health checks on the network to verify compliance with policies and regulations, and automatically remediate issues before they affect the network. It’s important that any measurable data that is taken during these checks can be collected, saved and reviewed over time via reporting or a secure, encrypted web portal. This will streamline ongoing device management needs such as upgrades, replacements, trends, or even just routine configuration changes.

Complex networks are our new reality. By leveraging network security automation, network teams can ensure networks continue to run without disruption and ensure a better security posture.

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