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In the first part of this blog series, we discussed how you can leverage Akamai Cloud Delivery Platform, the world's largest and most trusted cloud delivery platform, to achieve the scalability, availability, reliability  and performance needed to deliver superior digital experiences and maximize customer engagement and revenue.

 

It's no secret that businesses are rapidly adopting Cloud Service Providers such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform for cost efficiency, agility, scalability and global distribution to serve their customers more easily. A recent IDG survey indicates that 70% of businesses have at least 1 application in the cloud and 16% plan to take their first app to the cloud in the next 12 months.

Gaining new customers and retaining existing ones is at the core of every business. In the past few years, two major trends have emerged in this drive towards customer centricity

  • To meet the ever increasing customer demands, most modern digital applications leverage microservice architecture to achieve scalability, agility and reduce time to market. These are ideal for DevOps teams that need continuous deployment workflows. But all this comes at a price, as it increases the complexity of these applications.
  • Many companies are adopting public cloud platforms for their growing infrastructure needs for cost efficiency, agility, scalability and global distribution to serve their customers more easily. But cloud adoption has its own challenges. As you move applications and workloads to the cloud, there must be thoughtful consideration for what supporting services to keep on-premises, what to take with you, and what to replace entirely with a cloud service.

Why moats and castles belong in the past

We are all familiar with the enterprise security approach of treating an organization like a castle, and protecting it with a moat. Moats have been used for perimeter defense since ancient Egypt. While the moat and castle enterprise security approach has worked well in the past it is starting to show its age.

There is no inside...

I recently spent time with Joe DeFelice. Joe is a Sr. Director Enterprise Security & Infrastructure Engineering here at Akamai. He is responsible for IT risk and security, Akamai infrastructure architecture and engineering (network, voice, video, platform, messaging, etc.), as well as our Akamai On Akamai initiative, which is a program built around sipping our own champagne or how we can best utilize Akamai products in the enterprise.

As we know, enterprises have come a long way from the days when a few remote users needed access to a handful of applications. Now, applications can live in data centers, in AWS, in Azure - in reality, anywhere on the Internet.

So who really needs to access these enterprise apps?

One of the sessions at the upcoming Akamai Edge Conference 2016 will be 'Exploring User Expectations for Business Critical SaaS Applications'. This session will be hosted by Robert Mahowald; Group Vice President at IDC who leads IDC's worldwide application and cloud services practices. Robert will share findings key insights from the recent Akamai sponsored IDC 2016 SaaS User Requirements survey. We caught up with Robert recently to learn more about the survey and what he would be sharing with Edge attendees.

Providing employees with secure access to enterprise applications deployed behind the firewall is a core requirement for all businesses. Increasingly, businesses must also deal with delivering third-party access to critical applications whether hosted in the public cloud or a private data center.

Your cloud-hosted workloads are your "main event". They are your commerce website, your CRM application, your collaboration tools, your partner portal, your corporate website, etc - the engines that drive your business and enable your organization to connect, collaborate, and transact business across a broad group of employees, customers, partners, suppliers, and more. Unlike the making of a motion picture, where you can rehearse and do as many re-takes as needed, your cloud-hosted workloads need to be up-and-running 24 x 7 x 365. Downtime is not an option for your end-users. When operating in the cloud, this is easier said than done. The availability of the IaaS/PaaS services are completely out of your control. So how do you ensure your workloads stay online, even when your cloud provider goes down?

Do you remember playing capture the flag as a kid? I sure do! My friends and I would split up into even teams - usually about 6 kids per team. Then each team would hide our precious flag on our side of the backyard. Now the important "strategery" comes into play once the game actually begins, as I found the winning formula was to make sure my teammates all spread out and stayed as far away from each other as we could. That way, we avoided getting caught when we entered enemy territory (i.e. the other side of the backyard). Some teams would stick together in groups of 2-3 to chit-chat while they snuck around the backyard, making them an easy target! The principle here is a familiar one: don't put all your eggs in one basket. Well, cloud computing has created the largest IT egg basket the world has ever known. The aggregation of thousands and thousands of workloads into a few, very large data centers has made these workloads sitting ducks for attackers. Just like my chatty friends, cloud-hosted workloads are easy to find and much more vulnerable than in the old days when each company kept their workloads in their own private data centers. I'm certainly not proposing that we go back to the old days of IT, but it's important to consider how we can combine the cost and efficiency benefits of cloud without increasing our attack surface and adding new vulnerabilities into our security perimeter.

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