A recent report released by Juniper Networks and Ovum Research reveals that Asia-Pacific (APAC) service providers (SPs) while embrace the adoption of new technologies such as IoT, 5G and distributed clouds, they are equally concerned about the security infrastructure. Juniper is known as one of the leaders in secure and AI-driven networks while Ovum Research is one of the market-leading data, research and consulting firm.
According to the finding of the report that it is merely one quarter of SPs surveyed which are quite satisfied with whatever existing security infrastructure they have while the majority is busy planning to invest heavily into the security in the coming two years.
The ever-increasing requirements of the technology sector have signalled towards the need to the adoption of new architectures with security postures which are agile enough to change simultaneously with the ever-evolving requirements without restricting the network performance. This refers to the scaling up which would easily handle the increased capacity and scaling out too in order to accommodate rapidly increasing volumes of IoT endpoints and increased signalling as well as session demands of edge distribution.
The report mentions 51 IT decision makers from SPs across APAC in China, Singapore, Australia, Korea, Japan and India. The information in this research was utilised along with the data derived from an international survey by Heavy Reading of about 100 decision makers from SPs around the globe.
The constantly growing adoption of IoT and 5G, distributed clouds tool and many new technologies at a fast pace has introduced the vulnerability of security pushing SPs to scale up and scale out their infrastructure around security in order to remain secure and relevant.
The APAC and SPS however still feel like pondering over the readiness of security with the detail gathered from the findings from the region-wide survey giving way to significant concerns:
- The number of users satisfied with their current firewall is only 29 percent.
- Number of users which are yet to upgrade their firewall in the very next year is 65 percent
- Number of users planning to increase their spending on firewall services and products in the coming two years is 61 percent.
As far as the going forward of recommended risk mitigation investment is concerned, certain areas which need the prioritization include cloud security and upgraded firewalls, improved intrusion detection along with architecture which enables a unified view of security and tools.
Possible challenges and risks on the path of distributed cloud, IoT and 5G
Distributed cloud is going to be developed by the SPs soon before 5G deployments wherein 6 percent indicate that there is hardly any deployment plan of cloud. The distributed cloud can help them offer IoT-ready services and position themselves in a way that they can support third-party applications allowing them to enter adjacent markets and create new streams of revenue.
Security will always be the major concern while bridging this area. Top three presumable challenges in terms of IoT adoption are business process integration (28 percent), data/network security (32 percent) along with the ongoing costs (28 percent).
Of course, IoT implementations and distributed cloud enable an easy entrance of malicious actors and eventually the attack surface broadens. IoT device is no less than a point of entry for a network and in fact these devices are frequently being leveraged to launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Traffic filtration by the SPs will be required on a much larger scale, machine learning capabilities, greater automation and intelligence as well as improved security postures and policies will be equally needed to face such challenges.
Since the SPs move toward the 5G launch, it is probable that 5G technology will be enabling mobile SPs to divide their network resources for addressing a multiple set of use cases with functional requirements and differing performance.
Most of the APAC SPs (96 percent) surveyed plan to leverage 5G technology and nearly three-quarters are likely to do so in the coming two years.
Varying security protocol choices and policy implementation are required by this 5G enabled provision of multiple use cases or network slices further constituting the security concerns which have already been predicted to increase from IoT and distributed clouds.
The primary focus of SPs remains of Cloud Security, Upgraded Firewalls and Intrusion detection
For the sake of addressing such cyber risks brought by distributed clouds, IoT and 5G SPs are largely spending across multiple solutions.
The report’s finding further suggested that the major three areas of focus were more intrusion detection solutions (88 percent), GI- firewall and roaming firewall (86 percent), upgrading security gateway and greater cloud security (84 percent).
Currently the security systems of APAC and SPs are quite well-equipped to tackle known threats and comparatively smaller DDoS attacks. Considering the coming phase, it is suggested to pair the improved solutions mentions simultaneously with AI and machine learning to address much larger DDoS and sophisticated attacks in much better way with the minimal service disruption possible.
A unified view of networks employed and security tools by SPs is key
Another recommendation in terms of priority would be providing a unified view of the networks which are evolving and centralization of security alerts.
As per the research report about 50 percent of APAC SPs manage between 11 to more than 50 security tools within their organization’s structure. Since cybersecurity staffs often face the challenge of monitoring multiple consoles and have to cross-reference between information formats and disparate screen, the application of security policy changes in an environment which is multi-dashboard itself becomes a security threat.
A unified security management system provides and manages a unified view of both virtual and physical domains will serve as a key in terms of addressing the challenging task of enabling SPs to secure their networks even further ahead.