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The Theory of Everything: IT Environments in a Connected World

Rob Chee & Greg Stemberger, Iron Bow Technologies

May 16, 2018  |  Cyber Security  •  Data Center  •  IT Modernization  •  Networking  •  Software-defined Networking


Every spring, Iron Bow gathers for its Annual Engineering Summit, where all technical and engineering staff are brought together along with leading OEMs to present, discuss and share best practices on newest products, programs and cutting-edge solutions. Although our core capabilities are are tackled and managed in what we all our Practice Teams. After three days of presentations, it becomes clear that technology doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Every piece needs to work together in concert, seamlessly.

Technology connects our lives in ways we couldn’t imagine even a decade ago. Now, we sit just a digital step away from everyone, enjoying near-instant access to people and data across the planet.

The components, both physical and digital, that power our emails, banking, work data and even takeout meals, have become ubiquitous. We hardly notice them until something stops working or our privacy is breached.

Analysts predict that by 2020, about 20.4 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be deployed, compared to about 8.4 billion currently. And with cloud gaining prominence with promises of faster speed and better performance, networks have gotten a whole lot more complicated.

Long gone are the days when networks ran as self-contained systems with closely monitored gateways routing traffic in and out. Now, we need to think about IT more holistically. Putting together a system piecemeal – relying on off-the-shelf, non-customizable technology – is not only outdated, but also dangerous, leaving blind spots for bad actors to exploit.

Networking and cyber security aren’t an either/or proposition. They should be viewed as intertwined and inseparable. If the network changes, security measures must follow.

The advent of software-defined networking (SDN) has made this a lot simpler, opening up a new world of flexibility and resiliency.

Essentially, SDN utilizes many of the processes that make virtualization so agile and flexible in the data center and brings them to the network. IT managers can scale the system up and down as needed with little trouble.

Because of its customizable nature and agility, SDN makes it easier to both support IT needs and layer cyber security measures throughout the network. That means IT managers have more time for big projects and mission-specific tasks. In fact, on average IT teams using software-defined storage spend 75 percent less time devoted to storage-related help desk tickets and 83 percent less time provisioning storage.

SDN solutions such as Cisco’s Digital Network Architecture (DNA) leverages machine learning and analytics to collect compressive network statistics pertaining to network health. Armed with that knowledge, you can tailor your  remediation efforts in the case of a security event so that you can respond more effectively in the time of crisis where speed and efficiency are essential to an effective response to mitigate a threat.  Additionally, DNA provides centralized automated network control  of the entire network so you have centralized visibility and the ability to make large numbers of changes to the network from a single touch point that helps to maximize efficiencies.

And with Cisco’s suite of security solutions that are integrated into a connected security architecture, IT managers can deploy everything from traditional endpoint and email security for devices to advanced identity management. For example, Cisco Stealthwatch puts a security magnifying glass on the internal network using netflow capable switches and routers to immediately provide visibility into threats on the network that could otherwise go undetected for months.

When you utilize technology as a whole system rather than a collection of parts, you gain better insight into how to make it more efficient, safe and effective. SDN can simplify and declutter your approach without sacrificing security.

At Iron Bow, we have expert engineers who know about the most cutting-edge tech and work together to make sure it all fits your needs. We understand how to intertwine these complex solutions so you can get the best out of your IT environment.

For more information about SDN, cyber security and streamlining the necessary, albeit ever-complicated, approach to IT transformation, visit the Iron Bow website.


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