There’s a massive IT transformation and digitisation going on right now, brought on by the frenzied pace of today’s technological change. Initiatives like the Internet of Things (IoT) are bringing billions of devices online while the rapid adoption of hybrid cloud deployments is giving organisations a lot more optionality in how businesses can expand their IT operations. All of which, according to Jesper Andersen, CEO and President of Infoblox, has led to a lot of scale needs and challenges in the IT industry in general.
From a networking industry perspective, vendors are trying to accommodate those needs by introducing new capabilities that lead to greater flexibility, agility, and scale for customers that are using the networks. “The network needs to scale much better, much faster. It needs to be much more agile. It needs to adapt to the traffic needs of the different applications. And all of those have an impact on the technologies that we have in the networking industry today,” said Andersen in a video interview while he was in Kuala Lumpur last week to meet with the Infoblox team in Malaysia.
The Challenge: Finding the Right Balance
These days, it’s vital for organisations to setup their network infrastructure so that it can grow in tandem with their business. However, Andersen attested that the explosion in IT transformation means that setting up an enterprise network today has become much more complex due to the increasing variability, compared to the old days when networks were a lot more static.
There are mature and emerging technologies that could help companies achieve the flexibility that they require out of their networks, but to find the right balance between performance, cost, flexibility and security is a challenge that can only be overcome by evaluating their overall IT deployment strategy.
“Once you’ve set up a strategy and an architecture around that, that will dictate, to some extent, what you’re expecting of your network. It really requires a careful analysis of where’s your business at, what’s your ability to deal with transformation, where are you at on an overall IT transformation and what’s the nature of the business that you do,” he clarified. “A company that has a lot of branches, for example, a retail bank, may have different needs from the network than a manufacturing company with only one or two facilities.”
How dynamic the network needs to be also depends on the company’s ability to deal with risk and absorb new technology. Infoblox’s mission over the years has been to build a flexible platform with a rich set of open APIs in order to support customers regardless of where they are on the transformation journey, where they are in the world, and also what kind of a flexible, network technology they’re looking for.
Growing Importance of DDI
As the market-share leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI, Infoblox provides control and security from the core – empowering thousands of organisations, including the majority of those listed in the Fortune 100 and Forbes 2000 rankings, to increase efficiency and visibility, reduce risk, and improve customer experience.
Andersen explained that organisations around the world are realising that DDI, which was already a tier-1 network service, is growing in importance – fast becoming a critical infrastructure akin to water and electricity in today’s data driven landscape. That’s why they are turning to companies like Infoblox to ensure that they can get that kind of stability and resilience of key tier-1 network services like DNS and DHCP.
“That kind of infrastructure is very critical in businesses today. If a DNS set of services does not work in a company, it could be absolutely catastrophic. For example in healthcare, if for some reason the doctor can’t access electronic patient records because the DNS is down, that could have catastrophic impact for the patients,” he said.
While many companies have invested a lot of money in securing a perimeter defence via next-gen firewalls as well as modern intrusion detection and protection systems, all too often the network port for DNS traffic, port 53, is left wide open. In fact, a study by SANS Institute reported that up to 58% of companies either don’t protect their DNS pathways or are unaware of whether they do. Knowing this, cybercriminals are increasingly targeting DNS making it the leading attack vector used to infect devices, propagate malware and exfiltrate data.
There’s an evident need for network services like DNS and DHCP that are more robust, resilient, fault tolerant and secure, especially for businesses in Southeast Asia where they are 35% more likely to be attack targets for cybercriminals. For that reason, Infoblox is very focused on helping organisations protect against network security threats that are directly targeting the DNS infrastructure, whether that is by developing technologies that can expose malware when it tries to communicate with a command and control centre via DNS, or by protecting external DNS services and infrastructure.