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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Overcoming Manufacturing Security And Connectivity Challenges With Sase

For manufacturers, the challenges of maintaining connectivity and security for remote workers, branch offices, and supply chains are no secret. For many, a converged network and security solution are necessary to deliver on these goals. However, traditional networking and security architectures were not designed to handle the growing digital business transformation demands. As a result, many organizations need help with transitioning to SASE.

Zero Trust Networking Architecture (ZTNA)

The modern manufacturing network is interlaced with factories, supply chains, contractors and partners – all of which must be securely connected to keep them operating at peak performance. Manufacturers use technology to streamline production, automate order processing, predict equipment service needs in advance, and more. These advancements have led to a massive increase in connectivity and data demands. To address these challenges, manufacturers need a secure cloud-based network to scale and protect against increasing cyberattacks. A SASE network architecture helps overcome these security and connectivity challenges by providing an integrated set of technologies that secure the entire enterprise.

One of these technologies is the zero trust networking architecture (ZTNA). ZTNA abstracts direct application access by securing the network layer with a tunnel to the corporate environment, enabling companies to create an identity- and context-based, logical access boundary around an application or set of applications via a trusted broker.

A zero-trust implementation can only be successful if it’s part of the network strategy from the outset. It’s a slow, long-term metamorphosis that requires adopting company-wide processes that treat all network entrants as hostile until explicitly proven otherwise. A ZTNA solution is necessary for any global manufacturer looking to protect their network from attacks that target vulnerable devices, unpatched endpoints and cloud applications. It enables the rapid authentication of users and ensures that all content is fully inspected at runtime with the help of providers like Versa Networks.

Unified Management Console

The emergence of digital business transformation demands an agile approach to networking and security. Employees are increasingly working remotely, applications are rapidly moving to the cloud, and legacy perimeter security approaches are no longer effective or affordable. A modern SASE platform enables IT teams to manage SD-WAN, SWG, CASB, FWaaS and ZTNA through unified management across networking and security, freeing administrators to focus on other more pressing needs. It reduces complexity and improves the user experience for remote and hybrid workforces.

Gartner defines a SASE architecture as a single unified platform that consolidates software-defined vast area network (SD-WAN) capabilities with additional network security functions, such as secure web gateway, firewall as a service, cloud access security broker and zero trust network access.

SASE solutions also include the ability to deliver end-to-end visibility and control for users, data, and applications. This capability allows organizations to identify, apply and enforce security policies. The resulting security and connectivity framework is utterly scalable as organizations grow, making it possible to accelerate digital transformation and increase the number of devices connected to the network. Selecting a vendor with a native global cloud architecture that delivers networking and security in a distributed fashion close to the endpoint is critical. It will ensure traffic routes through worldwide points of presence, high-bandwidth backbones and peering partners.

End-to-End Visibility

The evolution of remote work and a cloud-first culture has brought about new challenges that require more security and connectivity controls. Fortunately, SASE has several capabilities to help businesses overcome these challenges while maintaining operational efficiency and IT agility. A global manufacturer, for example, could have multiple locations that are part of its supply chain and a large pool of mobile employees and branch offices with remote sales representatives. As a result, managing these remote users and locations requires a secure network that performs at a high level.

It requires monitoring tools that provide comprehensive visibility across diverse technologies, including endpoint devices, WiFi, LANs, internet links, VPNs, firewalls, and cloud and application servers. These tools also need to be able to correlate performance metrics to identify digital experience problems, such as slow or unresponsive sites and services.

However, many existing monitoring tools don’t have the necessary visibility, access or control to address these issues. It creates a significant challenge for IT teams to diagnose, remediate and resolve problems promptly.

SASE’s unified networking and security functions are designed to address these challenges and deliver a solid solution for organizations. This integration of comprehensive WAN and network security functions reduces the complexity and functional overlap that typically comes with implementing multiple specialized cybersecurity systems. It enables flexible architecture as functionalities can be dynamically activated when needed.

Security Rule Set Validation

One of the most exciting aspects of implementing a SASE is discovering that most security-related issues can be traced back to misconfiguration. For instance, a user may have forgotten a security key resulting in compromised sensitive data being passed to a third party. A clear policy and procedure are the best way to mitigate this risk. The most prominent is SASE, which provides a framework for implementing enterprise-class security with a single mouse click. It allows for streamlined security architecture and improved operational efficiency.

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