How Your Network Became the Bermuda Triangle and How to Fix It

How Your Network became the Bermuda Triangle and how to fix it

For a long time, if you needed to know where your applications or data were, the answer was clear: at headquarters or a branch office. Regardless of organization size, infrastructures were visible within a defined boundary – a data center, a network, a branch, a user. Even with some users connecting via VPN (Virtual Private Network) while traveling or working from home occasionally, it didn’t really affect network performance or introduce undue risk. Life was pretty good.ADVERTISING

Then came the cloud and the answer to “Where is your application? Where is your data”? It became a little more hazy. An application could still be in the data center. But sometimes it was in the cloud. Sometimes it was software as a service (SaaS) or infrastructure as a service ( IaaS ). But today’s mystery wasn’t daunting for networking teams until about a year ago.

When COVID-19 became a pandemic in March 2020, virtually all users left the physical environment overnight to work from home. Without most users within a local network boundary, the question of where applications and data reside has suddenly become even more difficult to answer.

The user exodus was like a bomb going off – wherever each of those users landed (like shrapnel) essentially became an edge of the network’s new perimeter. And the networking teams immediately had to solve a whole new world of problems – from connectivity, performance and security – within what we might call their new Bermuda Triangle Network: data center, cloud and user.

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The Bermuda Triangle Network is not just about the unknown, it’s also about the uncontrollable. Without a defined boundary, the network becomes amorphous – it can spread far and wide. And, in this context, security becomes even more of a priority. Imagine a giant sieve where each hole represents a possible route for data exfiltration. Now multiply that by at least 100!

From chaos to secure connectivity

The VPN would be the first line of defense for secure connections that could keep the business running when we started remote working. But a VPN’s job is like a vacuum cleaner – sucking everything back into the data center and then running it through the local security stack. This typically includes all firewalls, proxies, intrusion prevention (IPS), detection (IDS), and other solutions that filter network traffic for threats. Unfortunately, VPN wasn’t designed for that kind of scale.

It didn’t take long for businesses – even large financial organizations – to decide that they needed to release network congestion. The solution was Split Tunneling. While the VPN would still be used for local business access, Zoom’s traffic would go to the public internet to alleviate VPN congestion. But the decision to split tunnel instantly increased exposure to external cyber threats or data leakage and the split tunnel was used for other applications.

The reality of the Bermuda Triangle that every networking team now has to face is that defined boundaries have exploded. The old world is gone and it won’t come back. So, in this new world, what are you going to do to protect what’s critical to your business? You need a solution that is close, fast, and secure – providing protection between data and users, no matter where they are. After all, the network is the glue that holds everything together. So why not use the network to reduce risk, reduce cost, and most importantly, reduce problems? It is the reality that everyone dreams of.

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