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A10 Networks expert on implementing an application delivery strategy for secure multi-cloud

A10 Networks expert on implementing an application delivery strategy for secure multi-cloud

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There are many benefits to adopting a multi-cloud approach – but there are also new risks introduced that need to be carefully managed. Chris Martin, Channel Leader for EMEA & SAARC, A10 Networks, tells us about the benefits of implementing an application delivery strategy for multi-cloud experience, as well as how A10 Networks is working with customers to ensure their business applications are secure, consistent and highly available in any multi-cloud environment.

How has enterprise infrastructure evolved in line with the acceleration of Digital Transformation strategies?

What we are seeing is Digital Transformation and IoT projects increasing rapidly. This means enterprise infrastructure and operations becoming more involved early on in planning discussions to understand the proposed service and support models that companies require. This helps to avoid unforeseen service gaps that could cause serious headaches in the future for these companies.

Today, infrastructure is everywhere and the pace of change for operations and infrastructure will only increase in the future as IT leaders face pressure to create, deploy, manage and govern dynamic application environments more quickly.

How is complex infrastructure such as multi-cloud impacting security risks?

Multi-cloud offers organisations multiple benefits such as flexibility, scalability and cost and performance optimisation. However, two critical areas that need to be managed effectively are application availability and security and a multi-cloud strategy can make this more challenging.

By using a variety of public cloud services, the line of defence runs across more than one single provider and applications could be located in multiple clouds and on-premises data centres, so it is essential that robust load balancing, secure networking and security measures are put in place.

Organisations must ensure the security of their infrastructures even though public clouds may offer security services or a business can be susceptible to costly security breaches.

What approach should enterprises adopt in the case of load balancing and ADC technology?

For enterprise businesses, load balancing is not just about managing traffic anymore. As business infrastructure expands to include applications in public, private and hybrid clouds, application delivery has evolved from a technology function to a business function that delivers value to the business as a whole. Enterprises require five key adoption techniques to unravel complexity.

  1. Visibility and analytics are key to the performance and reliability of applications that are critical to the business. Incorporating automation to set baselines for application performance and user behaviour enables the organisation to have visibility into which assets are doing well and which may be due for optimisation. When a problem is discovered, contextual information helps the operations team troubleshoot faster and more efficiently so the customer experience can continue with little or no interruption and anomaly detection can be used to drive proactive and even predictive responses.
  1. Integrated security helps secure business apps at scale without adding to the security team’s workload. Security that is integrated into the load balancing solution provides the best defence. Bolt-on security products tend to be complex and hard to configure, particularly with regard to application security. Configuration and management of security features and the ability to adjust policies at a granular level needs be straightforward and easy.
  1. Centralised management gives greater flexibility to respond quickly to changing business environments. A centralised management system that operates with an advanced load balancing solution will prevent conflicting policies. It will also ensure visibility of the application stack in both public and private clouds, as well as enable multiple regions to accommodate high availability, regulatory requirements, or other needs.
  1. Support for containers simplifies and enables app portability across the infrastructure. Today application infrastructure is becoming more and more complex; therefore, adoption of containers is becoming a growing method to address this complexity. Containers can orchestrate computing, networking and storage infrastructure on behalf of user workloads. This lets the organisation deploy cloud-native applications anywhere and control them with confidence. Any advanced load balancing technology that supports containers not only has to be able to automatically scale to accommodate changes in application traffic, but also must automatically update itself when changes are made to the infrastructure. Operations teams will not have to configure policies or otherwise actively manage the load after the advanced load balancing solution is configured. This allows operations teams to function more efficiently and organisations will get more value from them.

How is A10 helping customers to overcome these kinds of challenges?

With the rise in globally dispersed enterprises and new work-from-home requirements that are increasing traffic, application service infrastructures are no longer residing in data centres alone. Modern apps are increasingly housed in public, private and hybrid clouds, forcing application delivery controllers to evolve to provide better user experience, application availability and security. This is where A10 Networks’ application delivery solution is helping customers ensure their business applications are secure, consistent and highly available in any multi-cloud environment.

How crucial is application visibility for enabling a secure infrastructure?

Application visibility is vital to infrastructure, particularly in multi-cloud environments, to ensure that organisations can gain valuable insights into application performance, health and security. These insights allow enterprises to continuously optimise app performance and balance traffic across the network. This enables businesses to ensure high availability and the best user experience.

What benefits will be realised by organisations that implement an application delivery strategy for multi-cloud experience? 

Multi-cloud application deployments are playing a foundational role in everything from internal business needs to Digital Transformation initiatives – but it is also essential for IT operators to ensure effective visibility, governance, security and control across both public clouds and private clouds. The three key benefits that an application delivery strategy will need to provide include the following:

Enhanced Application Availability: Ensure efficient and reliable application delivery across multiple data centres and clouds, minimising latency and downtime and enhancing end-user experience.

Comprehensive Application Security: Increase application security with advanced SSL/TLS offload, single sign-on (SSO), DDoS protection and web application firewall (WAF) capabilities.

Complete Application Visibility: Integrate a centralised management and analytics solution to gain deep per-application visibility and comprehensive controls for secure application delivery across on-premises data centres, public, private and hybrid clouds.

How can CIOs/CISOs best transition to this approach?

The three key best practice approaches for implementing multi-cloud involve internal application discovery, performing security assessments and compliance planning.

Internal application discovery: The challenges with hybrid and multi-cloud networks include issues such as latency as well as the volume of data transmitted through the network. This can have a harmful effect on the infrastructure if you do not have a thorough understanding of the mapping and data volume between application dependencies. This is where organisations need to perform internal audits on the types of applications and their requirements.

Performing security and governance gap assessment is vital to looking at the organisation’s security and regulatory objectives. Documenting the gaps in the business’ controls against accepted best practices enables organisations to identify issues for ongoing maintenance and tweaks. With legacy change controls proving to be slow and inadequate, continuous compliance means constantly looking at the environment and controlling the consumption and usage of cloud services. With the right software controls, businesses can form consistent and repeatable outcomes with fewer errors.

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