Posted on Feb 06th, 2020 by Thorsten Geissel
digital transformation

Achieving digital transformation is the nirvana for today’s organizations, defining the leaders, or conversely, the laggards.  The digital transformation journey takes organizations along a continuous path of reinvention.  Reinventing how customers interact with the organization, how employees interact with employees, or how products are transformed to solutions, are just a few examples of the changes digital transformation can exact.  In some cases this reinvention has disrupted entire industries.   Amazon, Uber and Airbnb have completely disrupted traditional business models with digital transformation that drove speed and transparency for customers.  Tesla is disrupting the dealership-to-car-owner relationship with their automated and direct over-the-air updates.  Digital transformation is shaping today’s leaders.   

Definition - Digital Transformation (dij-​i-dl tran(t)s-fər-ˈmā-shən): the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers.

Digital transformation is enabled by automation, automation that improves the speed, ease, transparency or efficiency of traditional business transactions.  An ultimate goal for organizations is to develop the ability to react to small changes in the market and actions by competitors, quickly, while maintaining a flawless user experience.  The speed of reaction and change, dependent upon automation, defines an organization’s agility.  

With automation, organizations can achieve heightened levels of business agility

The widespread emergence of DevOps proves the value of agility; however, security often prevents full realization of DevOps’ benefits.  Network change requests can take weeks to approve, introducing delays of the supposedly agile releases.  How can an organization be agile and automated, yet suffer the delays of security?  The DevOps model, involving continuous updates, reacting to ever-changing market forces, is facing a security bottleneck. Legacy network security processes hinder agility by forcing a tradeoff between speed and security. The DevOps benefits require changes to be rolled out to the network at the rate of DevOps releases. Furthermore, manual and piecemeal work is inefficient and error prone.   Luckily, there is a solution. Security policy and network change automation allows security to move at DevOps speed.   

Today’s businesses can’t keep up if they are part agile, and part traditional

Network automation enables the digital business.  With immediate provisioning of network change requests, applications can be deployed as soon as they are ready.

Network automation allows network change provisioning to be completed within minutes.  With a robust automation solution, furthermore, the DevOps team can be empowered to deploy their own code, while maintaining compliance with network standards.  Policy-based network automation enables continuous delivery of dev team output, securely. IT can govern, yet be removed, from the deployment process for enhanced business agility, without compromising network security. 

With policy-based automation, organizations can accelerate network connectivity without increasing risk. When automated provisioning is guided by the organization’s security standards, all connections will be in compliance with the business’ policies. 

Eliminate the trade-off between agility and security, instead, increase both

For many enterprises, digital transformation doesn’t mean they can leave behind all legacy infrastructure and processes. In most cases they will end up operating a hybrid environment of on-prem and cloud, and a mixture of IT operations and DevOps. Typically, IT operations tends to be more secure but also slower, while DevOps is speedy but more compromised. Policy-based automation allows IT operations to implement network changes in minutes instead of days while maintaining a fully documented process and embedded security controls. It allows accelerating delivery and increasing productivity within the boundaries of an effective change management process. For the DevOps team, policy-based automation offers security guardrails that ensure policy compliance without interrupting continuous delivery.  

To find out more on the importance of automation, download the ESG research report on “Network Security Operations Transformation: Embracing Automation, Cloud Computing and DevOps”.