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The network has always been the foundation on which organizations’ success is built. Every application and business service must be connected in some way. The network dictates the user experience, improves the security posture for applications and data, and makes applications available everywhere with great performance.

The formula for success was straightforward when applications lived on-premises and were within your direct control. Now they are everywhere – spread across clouds, delivered through software as a service (SaaS) and increasingly at the edge – and consumed around the world, wherever users happen to be.

However, cloud journeys have not always delivered the promised return on investment amid tacked-on siloed environments and workloads that are still being modernized and migrated, with some being repatriated back to the data center.

In trying to achieve the right balance of hybrid cloud infrastructures, network teams have scrambled to deliver network capabilities beyond basic connectivity for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and other cloud providers by adopting the proprietary native tools that come with each environment. This has led to inefficient and inconsistent network architectures, higher costs and complex cloud network management.

Prioritize network architecture up front

At NTT DATA, we have seen the effects of cloud projects that focus on the application only – moving it to the cloud, modernizing and addressing scalability – and then finding out too late that the network doesn’t support the user experience, or the right network and security services aren’t available consistently.

This is why we advocate for the network to be front and center in every cloud project from inception. It should be architected alongside your cloud or application ambitions. This may require a shift in culture, but it’s worth the effort to get the required connectivity and security in place before clouds are adopted or applications launched.

View the network as the fabric of connectivity

To keep up with multicloud strategies that are powered at the edge, your network must become more sophisticated and, paradoxically, simpler to manage. It should be the fabric for connectivity between private and public cloud providers, your on-premises environments and anywhere else it is needed.

The fabric is there to deliver what we needed in the first place – performance, security and availability – but also at scale across a distributed, nonuniform IT landscape, with the agility and flexibility to support your changing business requirements.

Multicloud networking makes this fabric possible, connecting disparate environments and consistently delivering on performance, security and availability for users worldwide. With organizations still figuring out the best place to host applications, and modern applications designed with distributed architectures, it is an essential approach.

Network and security convergence, and a platform approach

A significant trend in the industry is the convergence between networks and cybersecurity. We see this as a natural evolution: the network offers strategic points of control over all your traffic, so you can determine if traffic is good or bad and decide what to do about it.

Also natural is the shift to platform-based solutions that span clouds and bring security and networking together to improve visibility and control, and the decommissioning of point products to reduce complexity and cost.

Once the fabric of connectivity and multicloud networks are in place, it becomes easier and faster to establish application-to-application connections and deploy applications to the cloud, with security built in to enforce organizational governance and policies.

Also, data generated by networks can be centrally collected and analyzed, which enables more powerful and comprehensive outcomes – including the application of rules and AI to improve and automate actions and strengthen your overall network and security posture.

Make cultural, organizational and technology shifts

As the lines between IT environments blur, so do the lines between teams and responsibilities.

This trend is a convergence not just of technology but also of function. Network operations teams are finding it necessary to align their duties with security, leading to tighter collaboration between teams – and even the emergence of NetSecOps groups to integrate network security practices into network operations.

Additionally, the evolution of traditional network and security technologies to software and application programming interface-enabled automation is increasingly aligned with skills and functions associated with the cloud. This enables a collaborative approach to solving infrastructure problems together.

NTT DATA and F5 deliver secure multicloud networking

As with any paradigm shift, these changes can be overwhelming to tackle without outside assistance. Many IT teams are being stretched beyond capacity, so organizations are working with specialist partners to move forward more rapidly.

NTT DATA can define an infrastructure roadmap for your organization that addresses the business outcomes you’re working toward and help you improve cybersecurity, deliver excellent employee experience and move to a multicloud world with confidence.

We have the consulting, technical, support and managed services, the network and security expertise, and the global enterprise experience to help organizations of all sizes in diverse industries modernize their networks to support cloud-powered digital transformation.

With F5 Distributed Cloud Services, we see multicloud networking as a way of delivering the benefits of network and security convergence and the fabric of connectivity through a SaaS platform. Together, we can strengthen the foundation of your organization with a sophisticated, simplified and secure network.


Read more about NTT DATA’s Network Consulting Services to see how we can transform your network to support your edge-to-cloud infrastructure strategy.