It’s not your father’s Internet anymore. Heck, it’s not even your older sister’s Internet anymore. The Internet of AOL, Internet Explorer, and static web pages is gone. In its place is a more interactive, fluid Internet made up of dynamic web apps and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platforms that have transformed the way we connect, inform, and work. It’s an exciting time to be a user, but it can be a nightmare for the IT team.
Businesses are increasingly moving their IT assets and systems to the cloud as part of a cloud transformation. This can be a significant endeavor that involves rearchitecting systems and applications to take advantage of cloud capabilities. Unfortunately, traditional security solutions are not keeping up with cloud transformation—making it hard for organizations to truly profit from the power, performance, and economics of the cloud.
But move to the cloud, they must, for many reasons.
Reduce Capital and Operational Costs: The cloud virtually eliminates the overhead associated with running business applications and IT systems. Instead of provisioning a server in a tightly managed data center, organizations look to cloud service providers for the general health and maintenance of the software and hardware, including managing patches and other updates.
Enable the Agile Business: Moving mission-critical applications to the cloud allows organizations to easily accommodate a growing—or shrinking—workforce or fluctuating service levels without the hassle of procuring additional servers and software licenses.
Anywhere, Anytime Access: The workforce has become untethered from the corporate LAN. Smartphones, tablets, and laptops allow users to work from home, on the road, at a customer site, or from the beach—without impacting their performance. All they need is a reliable Internet connection and secure access to the web-based tools they rely on every day.
Richer Websites and Apps: It used to be that web versions of enterprise software had to be scaled down in both the features available and the user experience. No more. Most software today has been built with the web in mind, using advanced web development tools and technologies to push user productivity to the next level.
What all this means is that web traffic is dramatically increasing across the organization. Instead of logging on to and accessing an on-premises server behind a firewall in the data center, users are increasingly accessing the tools and information they need for their daily responsibilities through an Internet connection—whether it is corporately managed or some other public network.
Traditionally, all Internet traffic has been backhauled to a single location where security is applied at the chokepoint. However, cloud transformation will require a direct connection between the user and the Internet, bypassing traditional security solutions while creating a whole new threat surface area for new, increasingly sophisticated attacks to exploit.
There’s no doubt that the Internet is changing the way we work, and the way we work is changing the Internet. Organizations—specifically, the security teams—are going to have to find a way to protect users and corporate assets such as business systems and data in this new, constantly changing world. If companies are not able to succeed with their cloud transformation strategies, they risk falling far behind their more savvy competitors.