Security and Networking Consolidation Needs Concrete Examples

Summary Bullets:

S. Schuchart

• Security and networking are converging, the evidence is clear, both from a technological and strategic standpoint, with security threats increasing.

• The enterprise needs tools to manage the human aspects of security and networking convergence and the fist instrument they need is real industry examples proving the trend from vendors, ITSP, carriers, and industry analysts.

By design and necessity, the security and networking industries are moving towards consolidation. Security companies are buying networking resources and networking companies are snapping up security vendors left and right. If you address a room full of vendors from the security and networking markets and proclaim that the two markets are converging, you will get heads nodding sagely. But the reality on the ground is much more complicated. Much like a stone arch, something has to move before things begin to fall in the direction gravity is pulling them.

The split between security and networking is deeply entrenched in not only the industry, but in the IT department itself. Networking teams and security teams work together, but are rarely under the same direct leadership outside of the CIO. While it may seem petty and insignificant, managing the optics and politics of merging these two groups will determine the level of disruption that will ensue. Neither team can been seen to be absorbing the other, with one descendant and one ascendent. This would lead to senior staff packing their things and finding other jobs. In today’s job market, senior security and networking personnel are in high demand and hard to replace.

The first thing that enterprises need in order to make this change is examples from peer organizations. If analysts, the press, vendors, ITSP, and carriers all see the trend, somebody has to make a move to unify the teams. Enterprises will *not* lead this charge. It’s up to the rest of the industry to not only lead by example, but help enterprises make the transition on the human side. No enterprise is going to take this leap without proof that this is really how the industry is changing.

We need to show them first the technical. Integration of networking and security allows for not only the fast detection, but fast remediation of rapidly escalating security breaches. To work with the most control and efficiency, there needs to be artificial intelligence at the heart of the solution. Not two AI, one for network and one for security. Second, the integration is already happening at the largest enterprises and at IT and carrier service providers. They are using APIs to create integrated systems out of multi-vendor security and networking products. Lastly, those that serve the enterprise, the ITSP, the carrier service provider, the vendor, and yes, the industry analyst community need to step up. If we are going to predict this consolidation and tell everyone about it, then we all need to put our money where our mouths are.

What do you think?

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