Written by Rob Quickenden, Chief Technology Officer
Cisco has just published its 2023 Global Networking Trends Report. This report covers some of the emerging networking trends in the multi-cloud world, and how they affect the IT operations and security of organisations. The report is twenty-one pages long and covers some interesting trends and observations from more than 2,500 IT leaders in 13 countries across North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and Western Europe (including the UK).
My key takeaways from the report
- Hybrid work and multi-cloud adoption are driving the need for innovative approaches to securely connect remote workers to corporate data and assets distributed across multi-cloud environments with a huge need (40% of respondents) to de-silo operations and bring together network and security controls and visibility.
- Cisco says that “providing secure access to applications distributed across multiple cloud platforms” is the top challenge cited by 41% of networking professionals, followed by gaining end-to-end visibility into network performance and security (37%).
- Growth and demand for SASE. SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) is a convergence architecture that delivers simplified and consistent security and performance for multi-cloud access and hybrid work. Cisco are a leading vendor in the SASE space which combines SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) and SSE (Security Service Edge) into a single, integrated SaaS security offering.
- In the report, Cisco highlighted that 47% of respondents expect to connect their branches and remote clients using a SASE model by mid 2025, while 59% said that they will be prioritising centralising and consolidating cloud security over the same period.
- Extending SD-WAN connectivity consistently across multiple clouds can automate cloud-agnostic connectivity and optimize the application experience. 53% of respondents prioritise integration with cloud service providers for this purpose5.
- End-to-end network visibility and predictive analytics are essential for ensuring a consistent user experience across the complex digital service delivery chain, especially around SaaS apps with 51% of respondents prioritising end-to-end network telemetry and visibility. 47% of respondents said they will be prioritising predictive network analytics.
- More organisations are multi-cloud than ever before with 92% of organisations reporting that they use more than one public cloud service (includes SaaS, IaaS and PaaS).
Image (c) Cisco
How Cisco Technology can help address these challenges
Cisco provide a comprehensive portfolio of products that can help organisations address many of the challenges of multi-cloud networking and security which fall into the SASE and SD-WAN categories. These include:
- Cisco SD-WAN with edge security stack or SD-WAN with Umbrella Cloud Security (SASE) both leverage the Cisco Identity Service Engine’s Security Group Access Control Lists for segmentation policy management and enforcement across the WAN.
- Cisco SD-WAN integrated with Cisco Umbrella SIG for a cloud-delivered SASE model that seamlessly secures access wherever users and applications reside.
- Cisco Cloudlock, – Cisco’s cloud-native cloud access security broker (CASB) that helps secure your use of SaaS applications
- The Cisco SD-WAN and these SSE collaborations provide a range of SASE deployment options for our Partners and Managed Service Providers (MSPs), allowing them to utilize a mix of networking and cloud security solutions to offer multiple managed options to enterprises at various stages of their SASE journey 3.
- Cisco Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) is a cloud-native platform that combines SD-WAN, SWG (Secure Web Gateway), ZTNA (Zero Trust Network Access), DNS-layer security, CASB (Cloud Access Security Broker).
The table below shows the key challenges discussed in the report and the corresponding solutions from Cisco that can help address them:
|Providing secure access to applications distributed across multiple clouds||
SASE (Secure Access Service Edge), a convergence architecture that delivers simplified and consistent security and performance for multi-cloud access and hybrid work. SASE It combines SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) and SSE (Security Service Edge) within Cisco’s cloud platform
|Gaining end-to-end visibility into network performance and security||
Cloud-based network detection and response solutions, such as Cisco Secure Cloud Analytics, which provides visibility and threat detection for an organisations’ network across public, private, and hybrid cloud environments
|Extending SD-WAN connectivity consistently across multiple clouds||
SD-WAN multi-cloud integrations, which allow networking and cloud teams to accelerate and automate extensions from enterprise sites to various cloud providers and other enterprise sites through Internet, interconnect, or colocation and cloud provider networks
|Siloed cloud, network, and security operations||
Cloud-centric operating model, which brings cloud operating model principles to the network and across the entire cloud/network IT stack, enabling more integrated workflows and better collaboration between network, security, and cloud operations
|Visibility into end user experience and performance of multiple Cloud SaaS apps||
Cisco ThousandEyes provides real-time and historic view into the availability of thousands of different SaaS apps. It allows IT to monitor all employee’s user’s digital experience against software as a service and on-prem applications, regardless of where users are, through the essential elements of your SASE architecture. With ThousandEyes, organisations can gain back visibility and control over SaaS applications and ensure that they are performing optimally
Cloud is the new data center, Internet is the new network, and cloud offerings dominate applications. By gaining a view of global Internet health and the performance of top SaaS applications, IT teams can proactively detect and remediate major unexpected network or application issues affecting them as soon as they happen.
Based on the report, Cisco say that organisations can mitigate against many of the challenges discussed by adopting a cloud-centric operating model that brings cloud operating model principles to the network and across their entire cloud/network IT stack. This can enable more integrated workflows and better collaboration between network, security, and cloud operations.