Zeus Kerravala

Author Archives: Zeus Kerravala

How SD-Branch addresses today’s network security concerns

Secure software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) has become one of the hottest new technologies, with some reports claiming that 85% of companies are actively considering SD-WAN to improve cloud-based application performance, replace expensive and inflexible fixed WAN connections, and increase security.But now the industry is shifting to software-defined branch (SD-Branch), which is broader than SD-WAN but introduced several new things for organizations to consider, including better security for new digital technologies. To understand what's required in this new solution set, I recently sat down with John Maddison, Fortinet’s executive vice president of products and solutions.To read this article in full, please click here

How SD-Branch addresses today’s network security concerns

Secure software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) has become one of the hottest new technologies, with some reports claiming that 85% of companies are actively considering SD-WAN to improve cloud-based application performance, replace expensive and inflexible fixed WAN connections, and increase security.But now the industry is shifting to software-defined branch (SD-Branch), which is broader than SD-WAN but introduced several new things for organizations to consider, including better security for new digital technologies. To understand what's required in this new solution set, I recently sat down with John Maddison, Fortinet’s executive vice president of products and solutions.To read this article in full, please click here

Mist’s AI-driven virtual assistant speeds up network troubleshooting

The use of digital or virtual assistants and chatbots has picked up momentum with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). These automated assistants have been around for years, but they haven't been all that useful, as they required a significant amount of programming to look for certain keywords and then the responses were based on logical guesses. The infusion of AI, however, has made these systems much smarter and now natural language queries can be made and responses are in plain English (or other languages).Many businesses have adopted digital assistants and chatbots to improve customer service. For example, Atom Tickets uses conversational AI to enable people to book movie tickets and even dinner with just a short sentence instead of having to go through the rigmarole of going back and forth with discrete commands.To read this article in full, please click here

Mist’s AI-driven virtual assistant speeds up network troublshooting

The use of digital or virtual assistants and chatbots has picked up momentum with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI). These automated assistants have been around for years, but they haven't been all that useful, as they required a significant amount of programming to look for certain keywords and then the responses were based on logical guesses. The infusion of AI, however, has made these systems much smarter and now natural language queries can be made and responses are in plain English (or other languages).Many businesses have adopted digital assistants and chatbots to improve customer service. For example, Atom Tickets uses conversational AI to enable people to book movie tickets and even dinner with just a short sentence instead of having to go through the rigmarole of going back and forth with discrete commands.To read this article in full, please click here

Cloud adoption drives the evolution of application delivery controllers

Migrating to a cloud computing model will obviously have an impact on the infrastructure that’s deployed. This shift has already been seen in the areas of servers, storage, and networking, as those technologies have evolved to a “software-defined” model. And it appears that application delivery controllers (ADCs) are on the precipice of a similar shift.In fact, a new ZK Research study about cloud computing adoption and the impact on ADCs found that, when looking at the deployment model, hardware appliances are the most widely deployed — with 55% having fully deployed or are currently testing and only 15% currently researching hardware. (Note: I am an employee of ZK Research.)To read this article in full, please click here

5G will augment Wi-Fi, not replace it

There’s arguably no technology topic that’s currently hotter than 5G. It was a major theme of the most recent Mobile World Congress show and has reared its head in other events such as Enterprise Connect and almost every vendor event I attend.Some vendors have positioned 5G as a panacea to all network problems and predict it will eradicate all other forms of networking. Views like that are obviously extreme, but I do believe that 5G will have an impact on the networking industry and is something that network engineers should be aware of.To read this article in full, please click here

Survey finds SD-WANs are hot, but satisfaction with telcos is not

This week SD-WAN vendor Cato Networks announced the results of its Telcos and the Future of the WAN in 2019 survey. The study was a mix of companies of all sizes, with 42% being enterprise-class (over 2,500 employees). More than 70% had a network with more than 10 locations, and almost a quarter (24%) had over 100 sites. All of the respondents have a cloud presence, and almost 80% have at least two data centers.  The survey had good geographic diversity, with 57% of respondents coming from the U.S. and 24% from Europe.Highlights of the survey include the following key findings:To read this article in full, please click here

Survey finds SD-WANs are hot, but satisfaction with telcos is not

This week SD-WAN vendor Cato Networks announced the results of its Telcos and the Future of the WAN in 2019 survey. The study was a mix of companies of all sizes, with 42% being enterprise-class (over 2,500 employees). More than 70% had a network with more than 10 locations, and almost a quarter (24%) had over 100 sites. All of the respondents have a cloud presence, and almost 80% have at least two data centers.  The survey had good geographic diversity, with 57% of respondents coming from the U.S. and 24% from Europe.Highlights of the survey include the following key findings:To read this article in full, please click here

Online performance benchmarks all companies should try to achieve

There's no doubt about it: We have entered the experience economy, and digital performance is more important than ever.Customer experience is the top brand differentiator, topping price and every other factor. And businesses that provide a poor digital experience will find customers will actively seek a competitor. In fact, recent ZK Research found that in 2018, about two-thirds of millennials changed loyalties to a brand because of a bad experience. (Note: I am an employee of ZK Research.)To help companies determine if their online performance is leading, lacking, or on par with some of the top companies, ThousandEyes this week released its 2019 Digital Experience Performance Benchmark Report. This document provides a comparative analysis of web, infrastructure, and network performance from the top 20 U.S. digital retail, travel, and media websites. Although this is a small sampling of companies, those three industries are the most competitive when it comes to using their digital platforms for competitive advantage. The aggregated data from this report can be used as an industry-agnostic performance benchmark that all companies should strive to meet.To read this article in full, please click here

When it comes to uptime, not all cloud providers are created equal

The cloud is not just important; it's mission-critical for many companies. More and more IT and business leaders I talk to look at public cloud as a core component of their digital transformation strategies — using it as part of their hybrid cloud or public cloud implementation.That raises the bar on cloud reliability, as a cloud outage means important services are not available to the business. If this is a business-critical service, the company may not be able to operate while that key service is offline.Because of the growing importance of the cloud, it’s critical that buyers have visibility into the reliability number for the cloud providers. The challenge is the cloud providers don't disclose the disruptions in a consistent manner. In fact, some are confusing to the point where it’s difficult to glean any kind of meaningful conclusion.To read this article in full, please click here

When it comes to uptime, not all cloud providers are created equal

The cloud is not just important; it's mission-critical for many companies. More and more IT and business leaders I talk to look at public cloud as a core component of their digital transformation strategies — using it as part of their hybrid cloud or public cloud implementation.That raises the bar on cloud reliability, as a cloud outage means important services are not available to the business. If this is a business-critical service, the company may not be able to operate while that key service is offline.Because of the growing importance of the cloud, it’s critical that buyers have visibility into the reliability number for the cloud providers. The challenge is the cloud providers don't disclose the disruptions in a consistent manner. In fact, some are confusing to the point where it’s difficult to glean any kind of meaningful conclusion.To read this article in full, please click here

How to shop for enterprise firewalls

Firewalls have been around for years, but the technology keeps evolving as the threat landscape changes. Here are some tips about what to look for in a next-generation firewall (NGFW) that will satisfy business needs today and into the future.Don't trust firewall performance stats Understanding how a NGFW performs requires more than looking at a vendor’s specification or running a bit of traffic through it. Most firewalls will perform well when traffic loads are light. It’s important to see how a firewall responds at scale, particularly when encryption is turned on. Roughly 80% of traffic is encrypted today, and the ability to maintain performance levels with high volumes of encrypted traffic is critical.To read this article in full, please click here

How to shop for enterprise firewalls

Firewalls have been around for years, but the technology keeps evolving as the threat landscape changes. Here are some tips about what to look for in a next-generation firewall (NGFW) that will satisfy business needs today and into the future.Don't trust firewall performance stats Understanding how a NGFW performs requires more than looking at a vendor’s specification or running a bit of traffic through it. Most firewalls will perform well when traffic loads are light. It’s important to see how a firewall responds at scale, particularly when encryption is turned on. Roughly 80% of traffic is encrypted today, and the ability to maintain performance levels with high volumes of encrypted traffic is critical.To read this article in full, please click here

When Wi-Fi is mission-critical, a mixed-channel architecture is the best option

I’ve worked with a number of companies that have implemented digital projects only to see them fail. The ideation was correct, the implementation was sound, and the market opportunity was there. The weak link? The Wi-Fi network.For example, a large hospital wanted to improve clinician response times to patient alarms by having telemetry information sent to mobile devices. Without the system, the only way a nurse would know about a patient alarm is from an audible alert. And with all the background noise, it’s often tough to discern where noises are coming from. The problem was the Wi-Fi network in the hospital had not been upgraded in years and caused messages to be significantly delayed in their delivery, often taking four to five minutes to deliver. The long delivery times caused a lack of confidence in the system, so many clinicians stopped using it and went back to manual alerting. As a result, the project was considered a failure.To read this article in full, please click here

How to determine if Wi-Fi 6 is right for you

There’s a lot of hype around the next Wi-Fi standard, 802.11ax, more commonly known as Wi-Fi 6. Often new technologies are built up by the vendors as being the “next big thing” and then flop because they don’t live up to expectations. In the case of Wi-Fi 6, however, the fervor is warranted because it is the first Wi-Fi standard that has been designed with the premise that Wi-Fi is the primary connection for devices rather than a network of convenience.Wi-Fi 6 is a different kind of Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 6 is loaded with new features, such as Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), 1024-QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) encoding and target wake time (TWT), that make Wi-Fi faster and less congested. Many of these enhancements came from the world of LTE and 4G, which solved many of these challenges long ago. These new features will lead to a better mobile experience and longer client battery life, and they will open the door to a wide range of new applications that could not have been done on Wi-Fi before. For example, an architect could now use virtual reality (VR) over Wi-Fi to showcase a house.To read this article in full, please Continue reading

Why Wi-Fi needs artificial intelligence

This week Juniper Networks plunked down $405 million to acquire Wi-Fi vendor Mist Systems. As always, Network World's Michael Cooney did a fine job covering the news, so I won’t rehash that. What I want to look at is something specific that Cooney wrote — that “Mist touts itself as having developed an artificial-intelligence-based wireless platform.” Why does Wi-Fi need artificial intelligence (AI)?To read this article in full, please click here

IoT security plans: 3 things you must include

With many IT projects, security is often an afterthought, but that approach puts the business at significant risk. The rise of IoT adds orders of magnitude more devices to a network, which creates many more entry points for threat actors to breach. A bigger problem is that many IoT devices are easier to hack than traditional IT devices, making them the endpoint of choice for the bad guys.IoT is widely deployed in a few industries, but it is in the early innings still for most businesses. For those just starting out, IT and security leaders should be laying out their security plans for their implementations now. However, the landscape of security is wide and confusing so how to secure an IoT deployment may not be obvious. Below are three things you must consider when creating an IoT security plan.To read this article in full, please click here

Protecting the IoT: 3 things you must include in an IoT security plan

With many IT projects, security is often an afterthought, but that approach puts the business at significant risk. The rise of IoT adds orders of magnitude more devices to a network, which creates many more entry points for threat actors to breach. A bigger problem is that many IoT devices are easier to hack than traditional IT devices, making them the endpoint of choice for the bad guys.IoT is widely deployed in a few industries, but it is in the early innings still for most businesses. For those just starting out, IT and security leaders should be laying out their security plans for their implementations now. However, the landscape of security is wide and confusing so how to secure an IoT deployment may not be obvious. Below are three things you must consider when creating an IoT security plan.To read this article in full, please click here

Protecting the IoT: 3 things you must include in an IoT security plan

With many IT projects, security is often an afterthought, but that approach puts the business at significant risk. The rise of IoT adds orders of magnitude more devices to a network, which creates many more entry points for threat actors to breach. A bigger problem is that many IoT devices are easier to hack than traditional IT devices, making them the endpoint of choice for the bad guys.IoT is widely deployed in a few industries, but it is in the early innings still for most businesses. For those just starting out, IT and security leaders should be laying out their security plans for their implementations now. However, the landscape of security is wide and confusing so how to secure an IoT deployment may not be obvious. Below are three things you must consider when creating an IoT security plan.To read this article in full, please click here

SD-WAN creates new security challenges

SD-WAN products have been available for the better part of five years. Early adopters of the technology focused primarily on transport-related issues such as replacing or augmenting MPLS with broadband. As any technology matures and moves out of the early adopter phase, the buying criteria changes — and SD-WAN is no different.In 2018, a ZK Research survey asked respondents to rank SD-WAN buying criteria, and security came out as the top response, well ahead of technology innovation and price. (Note: I am employee of ZK Research.) To better understand this trend and what it means to network professionals, I sat down with Fortinet’s executive vice president of products and solutions, John Maddison, who sets the company’s product strategy, making him well versed in both SD-WAN and security.To read this article in full, please click here

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