As networks become more complex, so does the risk of security breaches. The risk is even greater for cloud network designs, so network professionals need to ensure they are implementing the right tools.
Years ago, when a single building or building complex contained an organization’s computer network, network security was a minor issue because data was not exposed to the outside world. Now, the benefits of public cloud, hybrid cloud, and SaaS applications can outweigh the risk of increased network complexity.
Connectivity options for designing cloud networks
When data processing moves to the cloud, it eliminates the need to purchase and maintain equipment that is used only periodically. It also reduces the risk of local outage during critical traffic periods, as cloud providers can manage sites in multiple geographies.
However, to move data processing outside of the local data center, IT teams must move sensitive data through external links. The public Internet is an inexpensive link option, but this choice could also expose data to attackers. VPNs could solve this problem, but they cannot always guarantee the quality of the service. Additionally, application performance can suffer if VPN throughput drops.
Private network connections to cloud environments provide a more expensive and more secure route in cloud network designs. Major cloud providers offer local connection points in major centers or cities, and customers can connect to one or more nearby locations via private links.
Traffic can flow to cloud environments from local sites through dedicated high-speed links. Customers can select data rates that match their cloud network design and business needs, and they can use multiple network providers to access different connection points to reduce security risks.
How cloud network designs evolved
Previously, network managers configured networks based on which application or application component used what data and at what level of application performance required. With this information, network managers would allocate network and compute resources and configure VLANs, access control lists, and firewalls to control the flow of data.
Intent-based networking tools can reverse this process. These tools can simplify security configuration and allocation of network bandwidth and data processing resources in cloud network designs.
Instead of allocating resources and risking the task prone to data flow configuration errors, network managers can use intent-based networking tools to specify which application components use which elements of the network. data and determine the required application performance levels. Then the tools can determine and configure the methods they can use to perform those tasks most efficiently.
AI and machine learning Intent-based networking toolkit components can continuously monitor performance and allocate additional resources if performance drops below an acceptable level. These tools also monitor the movement of data to detect and block anomalous actions – for example, if an application that normally provides only one database item per transaction provides multiple items instead.
Microsegmentation can provide and specify additional security at the levels of individual virtual machines and virtual network interfaces, because microsegmentation subdivides networks into many individual virtual components without any movement of data being allowed between them. Intent-based networking tools can use microsegmentation to specify and control the movement of data.
As cloud technology continues to develop, tools must evolve to manage and protect networks. Technologies such as microsegmentation and intention-based networking tools are expected to adapt to the increased network complexity of cloud network designs.