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Can Your Network Go Faster and Further Securely?

Sri Narayanan | Dec. 12, 2017



With more organisations becoming more distributed operationally, the wide-area network (WAN) has become the foundation of many digital transformation efforts. In fact, 29 percent of companies say digital transformation (DT) initiatives currently drive their decision-making.

Yet DT efforts impact the WAN significantly, driving rapid changes in traffic patterns and security. And with a highly mobile workforce, office network perimeters are blurred, subjecting organisations to larger attack surfaces for hackers to infiltrate.

Addressing this issue, CIO Asia in partnership with Singtel and Zscaler hosted an exclusive roundtable with IT leaders in Singapore on 7th November 2017 at the CUTS restaurant, Marina Bay Sands.

Sri Narayanan, executive editor and moderator, describe how organisations are responding to this situation, deploying hybrid connectivity solutions using SD WAN & Web Security. By combining conventional MPLS bandwidth with widely accessible, and cheaper Internet connectivity, enterprises are powering their DT efforts, providing secure remote & Internet access without VPNs.

In his opening remarks, Scott Robertson, vice president, Asia Pacific and Japan at Zscaler, suggested that mobility was a critical business enabler in the Asian business context, and was responsible for driving the explosion of SD WAN deployments in the region. And with that, heightened security concerns when deploying Internet breakouts.

Scott Robertson

"In the past 12 months, nearly 54 percent of the 30 billion transactions that go through our cloud security platform have made attempts to get through the SSL channel carrying malicious payloads. The question is how do we address this traffic coming into our networks to create mayhem even before we can conduct security checks," remarks Robertson.

Working with Singtel to optimise SD WAN deployment and enhance network security, Robertson proposed organisations look beyond the traditional 'castle and moat' security framework. "The way forward is to take the full security stack into the cloud. Doing so means building the security perimeter around the network edge so you have fast but secure Internet access. Critically, you have full visibility to ensure full web security compliance."

The conversation continued through a lively question-and-answer exchange with CIOs across different sectors sharing their thoughts on challenges and concerns they were experiencing in their network infrastructure and web security. Several themes emerged:


Infrastructure capacity

While there were some concerns about growing capacity demands on their company network infrastructure, falling margins and more competitive telco rates have mitigated rising bandwidth costs. Still, enterprises are looking to Internet breakouts to maximize traffic and especially, application performance at branches.

Robertson noted that 50 percent of the application traffic Zscaler has been monitoring over the last 12 months originates from Office 365 deployments. "The reality is that when you take collaboration outside of the network and put it in the cloud, there is a massive impact on bandwidth performance."


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