By Brian Robertson, Crossbeam product marketing manager
In February 2012, Crossbeam issued a survey thatpolled 529 IT professionals within large global enterprises and service provider organizations to understand how far along they are in transitioning their traditional data centers to the Next Generation Data Center (NGDC) model.
In my last blog post on the survey findings, I shared how network security is one of the top three technology areas that organizations are looking to virtaulize as part of their migration to the NGDC. The next logical question is to find out where they are today in relation to meeting that technology goal. Table 1, shows that out of the top three areas of focus, Network Security is furthest away from reaching the goal.
On average respondents feel they are only about 59% complete in reaching their network security virtualization goals, as shown in Table 2.
When asked where they predict they will be in the next 12-18 months, respondents on average think they will be 58% complete, as shown in Table 3. Now we know they didn’t go back and the loss of 1% can be attributed to standard deviation. In reality, respondents are predicting zero change in being closer to realizing their network security goals over the next 12-18 months, as Table 4 shows.
This is alarming! If we look back at history, the traditional data center security infrastructure evolved “one problem at a time.” With each new threat, IT organizations added a new point solution to their network infrastructure. Over time, the “appliance sprawl” phenomenon left organizations with incredibly complex, rigid and costly security infrastructures – forcing IT staff to spend time managing this abundance of products, rather than focusing on security and business enablement.
The fluid motion of virtualized server environments within the NGDC, dictates that IT organizations move away from reactive and static approaches of the past. The nature of the virtualized environment has the potential to open the organization to threats and risk due to the ease of moving applications and data. Unfortunately, the survey results reveal a troubling lack of progress in the NGDC with respect to network security. All the good intentions in the world won’t help if network security continues to fall behind other areas such as servers and storage.
According to our survey, budget restraints and lack of network security expertise are cited as the top reasons why there is a slowdown in the move toward theNext Generation Data Center architecture.
If IT organizations want to realize the operational and cost- and energy-efficiencies of the NGDC, then it’s important that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past when it comes to network security –reapplying the one appliance, one a security application approach in the NGDC, leading IT organizations to continue addressing security in a reactive manner. While it’s clear that investments should be made to improve the overall network security expertise level of IT professionals. It’s also clear there needs to be greater priority place on network security– because the proper virtualized security infrastructure will enable other areas of the NGDC to realize their full potential.
However, we would like to hear form you. Do you agree or disagree? What do you see as the leading reason for slowing down progress to reaching virtualized network security goals? Leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!