A secure future-proofed app infrastructure

Telemetry, automation address top multi-cloud networking woes and more

Partner Content In a constantly evolving digital business landscape, increasing IT complexity can sometimes prevent organizations from not only satisfying immediate customers' expectations but also cultivating future innovation.

Vendor research suggests surging operational costs and complexity often hampers organizations that have adopted hybrid IT and multi-cloud networking. F5's 2023 State of App Strategy survey found that 67 percent of respondents consider hybrid IT, where modern and traditional IT co-exist, as a "destination" rather than a transitory state, for example.

Equally arduous can be the need to provision and manage applications, data and workloads distributed across multiple clouds, on-prem datacenters, and edge locations. Data from the same F5 report suggests that 85 percent of organizations operate applications with multiple architectures and deploy them across distributed environments, a situation that can significantly expand the attack surface and render and organization more vulnerable to cyber crime. More worrying, 78 percent of respondents to the Cybersecurity Insiders Cloud Security Report say traditional security solutions are not geared for the cloud.

Data gathered from the F5 Distributed Cloud DDoS Mitigation service warned that application-layer attacks rose by 165 percent between 2020 and 2022. Previously, F5 Labs' Application Protection Report for 2022 had also highlighted the continuing growth in data breaches and ransomware events with access attacks against user-facing authentication the most frequent cause of breaches.

Misconfigurations and third-party breaches present the most significant risks for cloud customers, suggests that data. Which implies that robust application and API security capabilities that allow organizations to manage and enforce consistent security policies across distributed deployments are more coveted than ever. In the F5 SOAS 2023 report, respondents who tagged multi-cloud networking as a "most exciting" technology pointed to managing the cost-efficiency of cloud environments, optimizing app performance and overcoming complexity of cloud tools and APIs as their top challenges.

Those findings could signal enterprises' need to develop efficiencies across the business, reduce total cost of ownership (TCO) and simplify the protection and management of multi-cloud networks. But doing this can require end-to-end visibility of apps, APIs and app services, in tandem with observability functions which can enable monitoring to ensure apps and APIs – mission-critical assets in the digital enterprise – perform to end users' expectations.

Platform perks

Companies offering multi-cloud network solutions should focus on making distributed environments easy to manage and secure. In the F5 SOAS survey 88 percent of respondents reported that they decided to deploy a security platform instead of multiple point solutions. That type of platform spans the transport layer through to the presentation layers and integrates application security capabilities such as a web application firewall (WAF), application programming interface (API) security, bot management and Distributed Denial of Service protection.

The F5 Distributed Cloud Platform was built with this principle in mind, to significantly reduce the complexity and costs associated with multiple tools, APIs and consoles. It allows enterprises to not only connect securely between locations within a single cloud service provider, or across different providers, but also natively connect and secure distributed digital services. As such, it gives IT departments the advantage of single-pane-of-glass policy management and configuration and a consolidated view of apps and workloads, wherever they are deployed, backed by real time performance monitoring and role-based access controls.

The F5 Distributed Cloud Platform also streamlines deployments and unifies policies across on-premises, public cloud, and edge environments. Policies can be applied to legacy apps deployed in the datacenter, hybrid apps connected by APIs, and microservices-based apps. The idea is to simplify the complex task of app and API security by applying consistent protection while optimizing the performance of applications.

Telemetry augments automation

F5's ambition to help enterprises capitalize on the advantages of unified tools and policies relies heavily on telemetry and observability functions as well as integrated automation. These capabilities pave the way for rapid and reliable app infrastructure scaling and faster development lifecycles while lowering TCO. For instance, alternative hosting locations can be automatically activated to increase capacity. Potential threats and data breaches can be stopped by applying zero trust security to the APIs which connect applications across networks.

Telemetry data live-streamed from various devices and sensors underpin data-driven and artificial intelligence (AI)-driven technologies. This trove of information also empowers a growing number of organizations that invested in observability and automation solutions to predict and prevent a vast array of IT failures.

To this end, the F5 Distributed Cloud Services boost the security of multi-cloud deployments by improving observability and reducing complexity.

Through a single console, administrators with access to telemetry data can monitor capacity utilization rates and health of application servers. Network-level and application-level telemetry can also flag any risk or vulnerability that could affect apps and APIs and the digital services they power.

Elsewhere, the machine-learning-based capabilities of Distributed Cloud API Security addresses the complexity of cloud tools and APIs. API auto-discovery, policy enforcement, and anomaly detection simplify operations through the single console for both application and API security. An AI-driven WAF cuts the time for security teams to correct false positives. F5's web application and API protection (WAAP) managed service eases organizations' skilled manpower shortage by augmenting their personnel with the F5 Security Operations Center experts. These are aimed at relieving operational teams from the grind of managing cloud-dependent services and multiple third-party vendors.

Ready to innovate

Strategically, telemetry is an integral part of F5's efforts toward an 'adaptive apps' vision, where customers can rapidly detect and neutralize security threats, improve application performance and resilience, speed deployment of new apps, and easily unify policies across their on-premises, public cloud and edge environments. This vision continues to drive new use cases from which F5 develops new solutions.

Ultimately, automation and machine learning techniques that efficiently turn real-time telemetry data into actionable insights reduce the cost and complexity of multi-cloud environments.

This is a game-changer in future-proofing an enterprise's application infrastructure. The apps may evolve but the infrastructure that underlays the apps is adaptable to both existing and modern apps. Enterprises can then capitalize on the full potential of the app infrastructure to fortify and accelerate efforts to innovate while fulfilling their users' ever-growing expectations on digital experience.

Sponsored by F5.

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