Barracuda’s CloudGen Firewall is tightly integrated with Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN, Azure Active Directory, Azure Security Center and Azure Sentinel. Integrated into Azure, Barracuda’s networking and security capabilities give customers the ability to conduct secure infrastructure migrations and use public cloud for additional security solutions such as scalable remote access.
As the current crisis progresses, people in many areas around the world continue to stay at home due to lockdowns and shelter-in-place orders, while some countries and states are starting to gradually relax restrictions to get at least some businesses and operations reopened. These are unprecedented times and a lot of uncertainty remains. Will most people go back to commuting and working mostly from their offices? Or will the world substantially shift to working from home?
Digital transformation is fundamentally changing today’s enterprises, making digital assets key to doing business. As more value shifts from physical to digital assets, businesses increasingly compete based on how quickly they can ramp up and manage their digital assets; in effect, they are becoming digital businesses. DevOps processes, agile methodologies and the move to cloud help enterprises to develop and update their digital assets faster.
By their nature, digital assets need to be networked and available to generate value. These assets need to be protected from threats that are continuously evolving and becoming more challenging. Hackers are getting more sophisticated and malware is constantly getting more advanced. So, security is a critical requirement for successful digital transformation.
In speaking with customers and partners, we at Barracuda are hearing one consistent theme: it appears that the crisis and the resulting changes in work patterns are accelerating digital transformation. For example, in parts of the world where working from home has not been common and the infrastructure was not built to support it, IT professionals are evaluating how to enable it. In places where electronic signatures have not yet gone mainstream, there is a strong push for wider acceptance. Industries and geographies relying on bricks-and-mortar stores are quickly moving operations online.
Public cloud adoption and cloud connectivity are key long-term trends that are getting an additional boost from the latest crisis. As lockdowns and restrictions went into effect, we at Barracuda got a major increase in customer requests for scaling up remote access functionality. IT departments were asked to ramp up remote access capabilities quickly.
This is one example where public cloud can be leveraged to expand remote access capacity. An on-premises firewall or virtual private network (VPN) gateway may not be sized to provide remote access to the entire employee population now working from home, and it may be a complicated and lengthy process to expand that capacity. A quicker option is to stand up a remote access service in public cloud and connect it back to the on-premises firewall. This solution can be acquired from the Microsoft Azure Marketplace on a pay-as-you-go basis, for example, and set up within hours. All remote workers are given a new website to connect, and VPN and security processing are offloaded to the cloud. The entire system can be quickly and easily scaled up when shelter-in-place restrictions go into effect and scaled down when employees go back to working in the office.
Remote access is, of course, just one example of the fact that traditional network and security infrastructures are inflexible – they cannot effectively accommodate digital transformation requirements. The health crisis just brought this into the spotlight. The move to public cloud is already broadly underway, and networks need to catch up.
In our Future shock: the cloud is the new network report, Barracuda surveyed 750 IT decision makers responsible for their organisations’ cloud infrastructure. We learned that organisations are well on their way to moving their infrastructure to public cloud, with 45 per cent of IT infrastructure already running in the cloud today and rising to an estimated 76 per cent in five years.
At the same time, companies need to re-evaluate their security strategies as they move to public cloud, with 70 per cent of respondents indicating that security concerns restrict their organisations’ adoption of public cloud. And their solution of choice for optimising and securing access to public cloud is a fully integrated secure SD-WAN, with 56 per cent of respondents having already deployed or are in the process of deploying it.
Mike Goldgof is senior director of product marketing for Barracuda Networks
This article was originally published in the Autumn 2020 issue of The Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.
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