One critical aspect of The New IP is the need for the growing amount of data that traverses the network to be secure, both in transit and in storage. As a society, we are all too regularly made aware of how easily data breaches occur, as they are routinely reported in the media. But as an industry, telecom tends to play its security cards close to the vest -- is that going to change in The New IP world?
One company intending to position itself for the new security demands is Wedge Networks , which this week joined the MEF and laid out its strategy for securing what the MEF calls The Third Network (which looks a lot like The New IP to me.) (See Wedge Promotes Third Network Security.)
Wedge is a security specialist and sees the need for security to be provided as a service in the same way that most network offerings are moving to the cloud model. The old days of protecting a defined network perimeter are rapidly evaporating as enterprises want to enable productivity across its remotely located and often mobile workforce, while not putting its data and applications at risk, notes Hongwen Zhang, CEO at Wedge.
The move to software-as-a-service and virtualization has transformed what was a complex electronic activity network into an IT network, where control can be delivered quick quickly, Zhang notes, and this should be applied to security as well.
"The intelligence of security will be delivered as a service from the operator cloud centers," he notes. "That is the underlying technology trend that Wedge Networks is representing."
The security industry has been moving in this direction for some time and the technology exists and can be built into the next generation of networks, he notes, but that needs to happen from the ground up, and not be something that is bolted on after the fact.
End-users need to have assurance that not only is security built into a network, but that it scales up with that network, Zhang says, and that's a challenge when service providers don't know in advance how much scaling will be required.
"That is why security for the cloud network needs to be elastic and embedded in the network, not in end-user devices -- it can't be based on a lot of hardware," he says. Instead security must be provided in software that can be provided in virtual instances and replicated as needed.
The backdrop to all of Wedge's thinking about this security-as-a-service architecture, however, is that the conversation about how to provide this pervasive security has to happen now, and not later, after the networks themselves are architected. The company's participation in the MEF activity is intended to promote that conversation.
It will, of course, take more than one company willing to have the public conversation about the security risks of network virtualization for that conversation to truly accomplish its intent. And that will likely take a lot of telecom folks outside their comfort zone.
— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading