How network services strengthen data security

By: Arthur Cole


Network services are quickly overtaking the traditional networking infrastructure in the modern enterprise, driven by the need to accommodate increasing levels of agility and scalability without exposing critical data to security risks.

But how can a services-based model meet these twin objectives, especially as the enterprise expands beyond the local data center into a newly defined edge that serves the emerging Internet of Things?

Convert to network services

While on the surface it may seem like securing this type of free-wheeling network environment is more challenging than securing the network that’s already in place, organizations that have already undergone the transition are actually experiencing the opposite. That’s because the network service model converts traditional infrastructure to a software-defined network (SDN), which places the network on the same virtual layer that already supports computer and storage environments. SDN makes it easier to define multiple end-to-end data center ecosystems in software. It also allows for faster patching and updates, which increase vigilance against rapidly evolving threats.

Converting to a network services model makes it easy to outsource network management and operations for both local and wide-area footprints. By combining SDN with the latest in analytics and automation, managed service providers can integrate networks across multiple carriers and international borders — which means a higher level of network performance at a lower cost. Under this model, the enterprise can decrease its network management burden while increasing agility and reducing unplanned downtime.

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Tap into cloud services

IBM’s Hybrid SD-WAN services aggregates back-end network services under an IT-as-a-service model to support next-generation business applications and processes. This gives the enterprise a single, consistent view of their WAN infrastructure while providing real-time traffic routing and capacity adjustment.

By combining this type of service with managed cloud services, enterprises can take an integrated approach to security up and down the entire data stack. An integrated cloud environment provides tools for physical-layer security, network isolation and secure connectivity, all of which provide protection for the full scope of information assets — not just those on the network layer. Even better, this approach incorporates firewall protection and IDS/IPS capabilities, which can be integrated into intelligent security monitoring and log management tools to enable a highly secure environment at a fraction of the cost of deploying the same tools in-house.

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Manage your future

A managed approach is also highly effective at future-proofing network security for next-generation platforms. Enterprises looking to expand into advanced IoT services and emerging data platforms like blockchain need a framework that provides accelerated development, democratic governance and always-on operations to drive innovative business models and rapid problem-solving. Cognitive analytics is also the most effective way to support multilayered security and global availability for an increasingly intelligent, distributed data environment.

While it’s true that network architectures are getting more complex, the very tools that are driving this complexity are also making it possible to improve the security posture of the enterprise. In most major data breaches, once hackers defeat network security, they’re able to access and retrieve data from virtually anywhere in the data center. With a software-defined network (SDN) and a robust portfolio of agile and intelligent security solutions, the enterprise will be able to monitor and protect critical data at multiple layers of the IT stack.

When it comes down to it, increased network agility actually works in the enterprise’s favor: No one else will have the multiple keys to make effective use of data as it navigates across the IT landscape.

Ready to take the next step? Schedule a consultation with an IBM Network Services expert.

Related topic: Software-defined Networking (SDN)

In depth: Software defined (SD) network topics:

IBM Network Services

IBM Network Consulting Services

IBM Services for Software Defined Networking (SDN)

IBM Managed Network Services

IBM Hybrid SD-WAN Services

What is Software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN)?

What is a software-defined data center and how it can help your business?

SDN vs Traditional Networking Explained

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About The Author

Arthur Cole

Freelance Writer

With more than 20 years of experience in technology journalism, Arthur has written on the rise of everything from the first digital video editing platforms to virtualization, advanced cloud architectures and the Internet of Things. He is a regular contributor to IT Business Edge and Enterprise Networking Planet and provides blog posts and other web... Read more