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“The main aim of network virtualization is to create a long-term strategy to prevent cybercrime” – Anand Patil, ‎India Lead – SDDC Sales at VMware India.

Anand Patil, ‎India Lead (SDDC Sales), VMware India talks on network virtualization to prevent cybercrime
Anand Patil, ‎India Lead (SDDC Sales), VMware India

A survey by Accenture in 2016 reveals that 95% of small, medium, and large enterprises believe their networking services will eventually be virtualized. In an email interaction with Karma Negi of The Red Mark, Anand Patil, ‎India Lead (SDDC Sales), VMware India, talks about why organisations are looking at network virtualization in the background of cyber security threats.

What is the current scenario of the network virtualization market?

The network virtualization market worldwide is growing at a rapid pace, while undertaking a massive shift from hardware to software-defined models. Organizations are starting to realize that network virtualization is driving transformation and enabling the transition to cloud-based business models.

According to IDC, the worldwide market for Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is forecasted to experience strong growth over the next several years, at a CAGR of 53.9 percent to nearly $12.5 billion in 2020. The value of SDN will accumulate increasingly to network virtualization and its applications, including virtualized network and security services. IDC expects the virtualization software market to reach $2.4 billion in 2020, with a CAGR of nearly 64 percent during the forecast period.

While networking hardware will continue to hold a prominent place in network infrastructure, SDN is indicative of a long-term value migration from hardware to software in the networking industry. A 2016 survey of enterprise organizations conducted by Accenture reveals that 95 percent of small, medium, and large enterprises believe their networking services will eventually be virtualized. Despite this overwhelming consensus, adoption of network virtualization remains slow for many of these same organizations.

How is network virtualization reinventing cyber security?

With data breaches making headline news and the cyber threat landscape evolving faster than ever, network virtualization provides a unique new approach by separating networking and security services from the underlying physical hardware. The main aim of network virtualization is to create a long-term strategy to prevent cybercrime. Network virtualization allows applications to be deployed on any cloud – public or private – while still giving IT the tools to secure those applications.

Network virtualization promises to reshape and even reinvent the very geography of the threat landscape. This is possible due to a capability called micro-segmentation, which creates a security wrapper around each application. Micro-segmentation effectively mitigates and contains threats to the smallest possible granularity, significantly enhancing protection of applications and services, wherever they reside.

Micro-segmentation also enables the implementation of a foundational aspect of cybersecurity hygiene – which we call a zero-trust model or the policy of least privilege. This effectively compartmentalizes the data center to contain the lateral spread of attacks such as WannaCry.

How is the demand for network virtualization amongst various industry?

A recent study done by VMware and IMRB indicates that IT security is now a major concern amongst Enterprises, and has gone up the list of business priorities. Apart from the CIO’s focus on operational efficiency and agility, managing security and compliance risk is gaining prominence.

About 87 percent of respondents in the IT/ ITeS/ Telecom sector, 64 percent in banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), 55 percent of respondents in the manufacturing sector, 53 percent in government/public sector/defense and 65 percent from other services agree IT security is amongst the top business priorities. With an increasing focus on technology-enabled digital business, we will see increasing demand for security services from these sectors.

What are the benefits of network virtualization for business and customers?

In order to support today’s shift to digital business, Organizations globally realize the need to transform their IT infrastructures and meet challenges of agility & scale – of working across public and private clouds, improving security, and meeting new regulatory requirements. Network virtualization benefits organizations by addressing these key challenges.

Network virtualization addresses the concern of network security by enabling the organizations to divide the data center into different security segments, down to the level of the individual workload.
This way, organizations can then define security policies and controls for each application based on dynamic security groups, which ensures immediate responses to threats, and enforcement down to the individual virtual machine.

Network virtualization also addresses the challenge of lengthy network provisioning and configuration errors by automating labor-intensive, error-prone tasks. The issue of application continuity for organizations is taken care by network virtualization by abstracting network from underlying hardware, networking and security policies as they are attached to their associated workloads. Hence they can easily replicate entire application environments to remote data centers for recovery, move them from one corporate data center to another, or install them into a hybrid cloud environment, without disrupting the application.

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