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Security Challenges in SDN: Prepping Your Customers

March 30, 2017

The time has come to take software-defined networking (SDN) seriously. SDN is proving itself to be no ephemeral trend, but rather a transformative technology for the enterprise, and as SDN production deployments grow, so too does the body of use cases that resellers can use in order to make the case to their customers for an upgrade from legacy hardware-bound networking to the super flexibility, efficiency, and automation capabilities of a heavily virtualized software-defined network. But the perceived security challenges in SDN may make your customers hesitant. Here are three key points to keep in mind as you prep your customers for security challenges in SDN.

1. In a software-defined network, hardware-bound security just won't work

One of the key security challenges in SDN is the paradigm shift from hardware-based security infrastructure to software-based, virtualized security solutions. The topography of the software-defined network is in constant flux as it adapts to the business demands of the moment. Legacy security tools and solutions that are bound to individual pieces of hardware cannot keep the SDN landscape secure. As your customers ponder the shift to SDN, make them aware of the need for next-generation security solutions that can be configured and deployed automatically and as needed and that can follow virtualization instances across the network.

2. Monitoring and visibility are critical in the software-defined network

Along with the constant changes taking place in the software-defined network comes an increased risk of security vulnerabilities and misconfigurations, making deep monitoring and visibility capabilities crucial to keeping SDN secure. These capabilities should include advanced analytics and alerting features in order to ease the network or security administrator's task of interpreting alerts and responding appropriately to those that represent true threats or incidents. There's an opportunity here for resellers with the resources to provide managed security services as well, because not every customer will feel confident in their in-house IT staff's ability to keep up with an increasingly fast-paced and automated network security landscape.

3. Security challenges in SDN may be balanced out by SDN's security benefits

Naturally, the security challenges that SDN can bring are top of mind for enterprise IT decision-makers, but just as crucial are the potential security benefits that SDN can bring. A more automated and policy-driven network is one less vulnerable to human error, for one thing. If configured correctly, policies set to respond to specific security alerts and scenarios can increase the incident response success rate. Fewer issues will be overlooked. Additionally, SDN can enable far more sophisticated real-time monitoring and analytics capabilities that can further automate the detection of anomalous or suspicious activity on the network.

The security challenges in SDN are significant but by no means insurmountable. In fact, as SDN increases its footprint in the carrier and enterprise worlds, those challenges look to become easier and easier to overcome.

Are you ready to help your customers overcome them and graduate into a new era of flexible, agile networking? If you need more information, speak to an Ingram Micro Networking and Security specialist today.