As best as I reckon, for nearly a year, industry and economic pundits alike have been theorizing over the changes in how organizations do business or need to plan their business for the future given the recession we have had to endure. There is virtually no industry or geographic region that has been untouched by this phenomenon. These experts have created catchphrases such as "flat is the new up". Much as we saw during the recession in the early 1990's companies are "right sizing", "redeploying" and "refocusing" resources all in the attempt of being able to best ride out the economic storm and come out ahead.
This noble cause has taken on new meaning when architecting our networks. When times were better than they are now, many companies experienced healthy growth of their business. When an IT problem crept up, it was easy to throw money at the problem and make it go away. But now, money is not being thrown around as fast. What security and IT administrators are now realizing is that throwing money at a problem often didn't solve it, but rather put a band-aid on it or perhaps pushed the problem to a different place in the network. In many organizations, significant costs have also crept in as a result of deploying disparate products that cannot work well together, multiple operating systems or one operating system with multiple release trains, and lack of a single way to view and manage or control the network. Now that the proverbial tide has gone out, all of these inefficiencies and costs have become very apparent and many organizations are realizing the full extent of them for the very first time.
In order for organizations to make it through these difficult times, it is important that the IT services used by employees, customers, prospects, partners and subcontractors must be rock solid, highly available, fast and secure regardless of where the person is located or conditions on the network. This starts with efficient network designs that are consistent, integrated with one OS and able to be administered through a "single pane of glass". The network must support a multi-vendor environment and eliminate lock-in scenarios. And finally, costs must be controlled both from an operational and capital expenditure standpoint.
No one asked for nor enjoys the current economic climate, but it can give us pause to re-examine the inefficiencies that may have crept into our business over time and retool where appropriate. Addressing these issues now will allow us to take advantage of the opportunities that will present themselves when "up is the new up" once again.
Discussing a wide range of topics impacting enterprises and data center security.