Identify, Connect & Protect at the Edge


By the Structured Enterprise Networking Team

In modern network architectures, more and more data is being generated, analyzed and stored at the “edge” — not in a traditional data center. That edge better serves users of ubiquitous mobile devices like laptops, phones, and tablets because it puts them closer to their applications and data. But it also serves a proliferation of harder-to-manage IoT devices such as barcode scanners, medical devices, robotic equipment, and even weather sensors and traffic signals.

A distributed architecture means data generated by these endpoints often flows through the cloud (public and private) in addition to private networks. To ensure all data is properly managed and protected, organizations must rethink their WLAN, LAN, WAN, and SD-WAN infrastructure by prioritizing security, visibility and manageability.

How the Edge Is Changing Our Networks

It’s no secret that the benefits of edge computing are incredible. This architecture has the power to deliver real-time data insights while simultaneously decreasing the amount of storage and bandwidth required, saving significant costs.

And that’s just the beginning. The practical application of edge computing is really only limited by the human imagination and the technology it invents. Edge computing currently helps power smart cities and critical services, improve customer experiences for retailers, and provide predictive maintenance analytics to manufacturers, just to name a few things.

However, there are networking challenges involved, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many organizations added considerable network complexity as entire teams moved to remote work, adding to the burden of managing existing mobile users and IoT devices.

For example, classifying and securing each endpoint — such as an IoT sensor, a mobile phone, or a tablet — can be incredibly difficult to do. And providing reliable and secure access to each and every device found on the edge requires considerable effort from your IT team – not to mention ongoing monitoring, maintenance, and troubleshooting.

As more and more applications powering critical endpoints require low latency and real-time analytics to be effective, the more our old methods of transmitting data and authenticating endpoints need to change.

Distributed Networks Can Result in Subpar Visibility

Distributed networks can be opaque, inefficient and difficult to manage. They are complex, almost always composed of numerous technologies, operating systems, locations and siloed management tools.

Lack of visibility and cross-functionality greatly affects your IT team. It hurts their ability to identify root cause and wastes their time, leading to fatigue and even burnout. It also can adversely affect your business processes and the experience delivered to your users and customers. Enterprise security is another casualty of unmanaged sprawl at the edge.

Organizations must make a change in how their distributed network is managed to remain competitive – and more secure. According to Aruba, a leader in edge-to-cloud solutions, over 75% of enterprises are using four or more network management tools. And 25% use 11 or more.

What’s one solution? The ability to identify, connect, and protect all devices and networks from a holistic platform.

Gain a Competitive Edge with Aruba ESP

Aruba ESP (Edge Services Platform) is a cloud-native, AI-powered platform for managing devices across your campus, branch, data center and remote worker locations. How does it work? Aruba ESP combines AIOps, Zero Trust security models, and unified infrastructure management to deliver on three specific elements:

  1. Connect: Aruba ESP enables you to onboard and provision appropriate access to devices and IoT across all environments and networks, including wired, wireless and SD-WAN. By eliminating management silos, you can more easily authenticate and control all users and devices entering and traversing a network.
  1. Protect: Aruba ESP provides edge-to-cloud security with built-in foundations for Zero Trust and SASE frameworks, including role-based access control. You can easily limit network access via Aruba Dynamic Segmentation and identity-based intrusion detection to further protect your critical business data.

  2. Analyze and Act: Aruba ESP is driven by Aruba Central, a cloud-native single-pane-of-glass management tool. Aruba Central relies on AI, machine learning, and telemetry data to identify the root cause of network issues – often before the impact is felt by end users. The platform, which is always learning and peer benchmarking, can auto-remediate some issues and speed time-to-resolution for your team (as much as 90 percent for common issues, according to Aruba). Aruba’s AIOps also boast greater than 95% accuracy and can integrate with many 3rd party solutions via APIs.

Conclusion

The proliferation of users, devices and data outside the traditional corporate data center calls for a new approach to network management – one that puts processing power and security closer to the people and devices that need them. Edge computing is a new paradigm with a lot of promise, as well as practical use cases for today. The key is to harness this power with a centralized management tool that can deliver positive experiences for users; stronger security at each endpoint; and more intelligent, predictive, and time-saving assistance for your IT team.


Could You See Your Network More Clearly with Aruba ESP? Allow Our Team to Help!

Is network complexity resulting in subpar visibility, weak security and poor customer experience at your organization? If so, the enterprise networking experts at Structured can help.

At Structured, we have the ability to design secure, stable, manageable and performant networks for the modern age. We’re an award-winning solution provider with 30 years of experience supporting organizations ready to harness the true power of their IT. We’re also a proud partner of Aruba Networks and have the experience necessary to help you implement Aruba ESP within your organization. To learn more about our services or to see if Aruba ESP is the right fit for you, give us a call at 1.800.881.0962 or email info@structured.com.