Service providers are undergoing a technological revolution that moves applications and computing functions to the edge of their network rather than in centralized data centers.
In an industry that has historically embraced centralized control and very clear boundaries, this is all very exciting – but it can also be a scary proposition when considering security vulnerabilities.
The main drivers for service providers needing to transform their computing infrastructures are three-fold: to gain service agility, to provide new and improved applications to digitally native consumers in an app-driven world, and to deliver interactive content delivery services to new generations of customers who demand them.
The overarching goal? To leverage automation and a new generation of software- and service-defined architectures to improve the digital experience for consumers and businesses alike, all the while providing a secure experience.
To accomplish this, service providers are undergoing several business and architectural transformations:
First, they are moving to a demand-driven, software-orchestrated network that enables faster time-to-service and deployment life cycles and real-time provisioning of underlying computing and network resources. This allows for easier consumption of resources and provides end-user autonomy.
Second, they are moving to the “edge.” Service providers are transitioning away from core network designs by deploying new network infrastructure at the edge that will host key application resources, thereby reducing latency. This push toward the edge is being driven in large part by the upgrade to 5G networks.
At its core, 5G is an upgrade in the mobile architecture that pushes new computing elements and services closer to the edge in order to scale and improve network performance. 5G networks rely on the virtualized and distributed network functions that span remote locations and are heavily dependent on robust, secure interworking between remote and local virtualized network functions.
In addition, service providers are transitioning to support the growing number of IoT devices and use cases, requirements for increased multimedia bandwidth and network-enabled security. Service providers must deliver scalable and cost-effective solutions.
Finally, service providers are improving their overall security posture to stay ahead of an increasingly dynamic and dangerous cyber threat landscape. They’re implementing new security architectures/solutions that are capable of moving at the speed of business and can operate in a highly distributed, multi-cloud architecture.
The time has come for deep change within the service provider architectural and business framework. Those who can adapt to living on the edge with security in mind from the outset will certainly help reduce the cyber risk factors for them and their enterprise customers.