According to Nathan Howe, vice president, Emerging Technologies and 5G at Zscaler, the consolidation of existing infrastructures drives the resilience of companies.
Resilience is a buzzword frequently used when it comes to expressing the solidity of a company in relation to external variables. Underpinning efforts for greater resilience is a desire to safeguard business activities even in times of uncertainty. One way to increase resilience is to consolidate existing infrastructure. By simplifying complex IT architectures, administrative effort and operational costs can be reduced. Thus obtaining theagility desired.
See under resilience
To embark on a consolidation project, you need to start with a complete inventory of all IT hardware and services in use within your business. On this basis, a reduction in complexity can be initiated, which makes IT infrastructures easier to manage and therefore more agile in operation. After this analysis, business managers will identify any duplication of effort and focus on maintaining or optimizing the required architectures.
It starts with the inventory
At first, the two questions to ask are: what systems are needed to keep IT operations running. Then what is not absolutely necessary in terms of existing infrastructure? Especially in the field of information security, the approach based on the use of a digital platform offers great potential in terms of savings. In the past, companies have often implemented new approaches but continued to use outdated solutions. To avoid duplication of infrastructure and resources, it is important to purge outdated resources. As well as the complexity associated with them. Deduplication is the key word, and it consists of identifying and evaluating overlapping services.
A general overview is essential
When conducting a survey of IT hardware or services, it is essential to get an overview of the resources in use in various departments. It is not uncommon for several business units to operate similar services independently of each other. Thus contributing to the uncontrolled growth of the infrastructure. Examples include on-premise performance monitoring solutions – AWS or Azure environments – used by various divisions. These different tools must be managed and the information gathered through them must be evaluated and translated into reports.
Resilience: increase it by consolidating existing infrastructures
Consolidation can be accomplished by examining the performance scope of individual solutions. So as to verify if one of these tools can make the use of the others obsolete. As a result, acquisition effort and licensing costs are minimized. While routine administrative tasks are eliminated, freeing up time for more strategic activities.
Deduplication ensures efficiency
The key here is deduplication. It’s about identifying the overlays in the portfolio of tools and services used. In addition to reducing those resources that consume space, time, money and resources and which are not absolutely necessary. After identifying duplicates in the infrastructure through an inventory analysis, the second step is to decide which approaches should no longer be maintained.
More agility and flexibility
This push for greater agility and flexibility should focus on the needs of business operations. The less complex a company is, the easier it is to control. This paradigm doesn’t just apply to economically challenging times. In fact, it also helps to create a cost-effective organizational structure. As companies decide to move forward with simplifying their infrastructure, they can reflect on their core competencies. And so also evaluate what they no longer want to manage themselves in terms of technical functionality, but will buy as a service in the future.
Platform instead of specific solutions
A platform-based approach can lead to the consolidation of cybersecurity infrastructures and benefit from economies of scale. It is necessary to map several services with the same functionality in a single model, thus simplifying the infrastructure. Instead of security stacks in the data center, cloud-based security models account for the trend of decentralized provisioning of mobile applications and workforces.
Resilience, what it means for companies
Security is achieved thanks to a framework SSE (Security Service Edge) and is implemented on the basis of Zero Trust principles. Access security is based on application-level policies and replaces network access. With a Zero Trust-based platform approach, different outbound security products, such as firewalls or secure web gateways, can be mapped. As well as the remote access requirements of mobile employees who need to access corporate applications from anywhere.
Once defined, policies are managed through a single management interface and are used in different functional areas for security. Based on the role of the company’s employees, it is determined which web applications they should access in read or write mode. For example, the marketing department will have access to social media applications, which will not be required for accounting in day-to-day business management.
Automation for optimization
Automation can also reduce the complexity of cybersecurity systems. The possibilities for automatic process design come from the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). They can replace routine activities. Traditionallya security operations center (SOC) incident response manager who investigates a security incident examines the data of an application or system.
Then he has to manually transfer the results to another application or system to perform an action. This process is inefficient and can be mapped much faster and more accurately through automation with the help of AI. In fact, artificial intelligence detects anomalies in data flows and can automatically initiate mitigation measures.
How to save costs and be more efficient
In addition to cost savings and increased efficiency, this consolidation example also adds greater resilience to attacks. By bringing all important information together in a central control center, security incidents are filtered and analyzed faster. Automation therefore leads to a higher overall resilience of the entire IT infrastructure.
The update of the models
With a cloud-based security platform, the tasks of updating models and performing updates are automatically mapped as well. If there is a shortage of security experts, they can concentrate on strategic tasks. There visibility of the data flows of all employees forms the basis of the optimization process. Therefore, it pays to let security filters automatically monitor the entirety of all online data flows, so as to always ensure connectivity between users, data and applications, while ensuring compliance requirements are met.
More resilient placement through simplification
Similarly, companies can build their skills and sustain their resilience by switching to managed service providers. The ride to the environments of service provider it also helps simplify infrastructure by consolidating sites and services. This trend is driven by the fact that in the future companies will increasingly want to obtain connectivity for a wide range of services, whether through MPLS, the Internet or wireless networks. Instead of a dedicated access path, there should be a full service model that supports the company’s digitization efforts. Consolidation across a broad range of industries leads to greater resilience. In the current context, companies must take this aspect into account.