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Remote access in a software defined world

When I first ventured into technology, I wish someone gave me a heads-up about the bevy of acronyms to remember. It feels like every day a new acronym related to technology is formed. It's hard enough remembering names within my family. During Thanksgiving with a full house, I struggle to remember even my own name! When I first heard of SDN - software defined networking, I was still working for a mobile technology vendor. That was a world where even network elements had acronyms (SGSN, RNC, GGSN, HLR, etc). SDN hadn't found adoption as much as it did within the enterprise/data center space. SDN is the separation of the network control plane from the forwarding plane, moving it to a centralized point where the control plane (represented by a controller) orchestrates several forwarding devices. This separation, while leveraging network virtualization, allows for optimization of control plane workflows and also aims at making the network agile and flexible. I was enamored with the concept. For one, I could count down to days when I no longer engaged in the manual, error-prone and time-consuming process of logging into each network device via the command line interface (CLI) to program the control plane of network devices. I still wonder how I remembered the CLI commands during my networking certification exams and system administrator days.

The days of VPNs are numbered

We have been talking about how it's time to re-evaluate giving full access to the corporate network for some time. In fact, Akamai's Sr. Director of Enterprise Security & Infrastructure Engineering talks about one of his core goals--No VPN--here.

Over the last few days, I am sure many teams who are taking the No VPN route are even more thankful. The recent news about yet another patching fire drill--this time due to a vulnerability in SSL VPN functionality of a popular security appliance--has left many security and IT teams dismayed.

There has to be an easier way, right?

Trusted access to Wordpress /wp-admin for content Authors

WordPress started as just a blogging system, but has evolved to be used as a full content management system, and so much more through the thousands of plugins, widgets, and themes. One of the main challenges I have seen with customers is to provide secure access to /wp-admin or /wp-login.php to content authors so that they can make the desired content changes. It seems straight forward, but the real challenge comes when you want to keep your published url https://website.com for your main organization's website and https://website.com/wp-admin or https://website.com/wp-login.php protected with authentication. 

Akamaizing Your Dev & QA Environments

Over the last few months, I've been talking to many development and test teams who deliver their sites and applications through the Akamai Intelligent Platform. One common challenge they face is how to test their Akamai delivery configurations on the Internet against their private development and QA environments behind the firewall. Most operate on a DevOps model with the goal of performing end-to-end testing throughout the software development lifecycle in order to find bugs and interoperability issues (e.g. misconfigured headers) earlier in the development process. As noted by Ron Patton in "Testing Software", the cost of finding a bug increases logarithmically as the development process progresses, so finding these issues early on in the process saves a lot of time and money. The historical challenge these teams have faced has been how to allow the Akamai delivery configuration access to these development and QA environments. Typically private and not exposed to the internet, the common approach has required a move into the DMZ.

Akamai's Leading Role in the DNS Renaissance

In case you haven't been paying attention, an unlikely technology, the Internet's Domain Name System, or DNS, is experiencing a renaissance. For much of its existence, DNS has maintained a simple and singular function - to resolve Internet names to IP addresses. Over the past several years, however, DNS, or more specifically, the recursive DNS (rDNS) resolver, has assumed a number of new roles, made possible by the fact that it's used by almost every Internet-connected device. rDNS is now a services platform. It's a security agent. It's a tool for optimizing delivery of Internet content and offloading traffic from ISP backbone networks. In short, the people who best understand rDNS have not only figured out new ways to use it, they've figured out ways to monetize it.

Taking the Fight Where It Belongs

This Guest blog was written by Robert Mahowald, a Group Vice President at IDC who leads IDC's Worldwide Applications research practice, in addition to co-leading IDC's Cloud Services: Global Overview program.

A surprising set of facts emerged from the most recent quarterly installment of IDC's CloudView 2017 survey (February 2017, n= 6,212 tech buyer respondents in 31 countries): Year-over-year, the percent of organizations sourcing their tech capability from cloud providers grew 137%.

 But that's not all that's new:

  • In large companies, respondents choosing net new and replacement technology for their companies stated that they will go with "cloud-first" for these services, rather than cloud-also and cloud-last
  • The percentage of organizations that are "multi-cloud" is on track to grow from 70.6% today to 91.7% within 24 months
  • For the first time, respondents pointed to "security" as the #1 driver for their company's use of cloud technology

This Guest blog was written by Martha Gomez Vazquez, a Senior Research Analyst for IDC's Infrastructure Services research practice focusing on Security Services and Hardware & Software Support and Deployment.

The widespread success of security breaches over the past few years has proven beyond a doubt that the security threat landscape continues to evolve on a daily basis, forcing organizations to constantly rethink their security posture. At the same time, many organizations are also on a digital transformation journey, one that relies on technologies such as cloud, big data and analytics, mobile, and social. These technologies are rapidly changing the ways we connect and work; they are also changing how organizations now view network perimeters and security. By 2020, IDC predicts that digital transformation will shift to an entirely new scale and 50% of global companies will generate half of their business from digitally transformed offerings, operations, and supplier distribution and customer networks.

Access and Delivery different sides of the same coin

We are often so caught up in our own realities that we miss obvious similarities or synergies. Luckily when various people look at the same situation, different perspectives emerge. I was reminded of that recently during a conversation with one of our large pharma customers.

Akamai helps our customers fully embrace the transition of their users and applications to the cloud. For most, even if their apps aren't in the cloud yet, end users expect to access them from their favorite managed and unmanaged devices as if they were.

Enterprise Security: EAA Exceeds Compliance Standards

I sat down again with John Payne, Akamai's Chief Architect of Infrastructure and Security, as well as Keith Hillis, Director IT Risk & Security. We spoke about enterprise security compliance, and how Enterprise Application Access (EAA) exceeds Akamai's requirements and simplifies the process for auditors.

In an earlier blog, "Remote Access no longer needs to be Complex and Cumbersome", I wrote about the new game-changing remote access solution available from Akamai called Enterprise Application Access (EAA). My thesis was that in our cloud-first, mobile-dominated world, providing access to behind-the-firewall applications need not be as complex as with today's traditional DMZ/VPNs infrastructure.

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