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SN blogs: Hybrid approach to corporate WAN merits study

This week, analysts examine the advantage of hybrid WANs and discuss the emergence of Microsoft as a viable MDM provider.

With all the attention being paid to hybrid and SDN-WAN technologies, networking expert Ivan Pepelnjak has a few things to say about the use of hybrid services in a corporate WAN environment.

Yes, replacing Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) with the open Internet can result in unreliable services, reduced security and other glitches. But as long as enterprises take steps to protect themselves, a hybrid WAN can be a viable alternative.

"It's amazing how well the Internet usually works, so it would be a shame not to use it" as a component of a hybrid WAN, Pepelnjak says. "Most traffic transported across the enterprise WAN is not really mission-critical, and it's a waste of money to transport it across high-quality infrastructure."

That said, IT managers must keep two key considerations in mind when designing a hybrid WAN. First, redundancy is key. Second, when disasters occur -- and they will -- keep calm and protected.

Get Pepelnjak's take on the hybrid WAN.

Microsoft ready for prime time for MDM?

According to Matt Craig, research lead at Mokena, Ill.-based Nemertes Research, it's time for enterprises to take another look at Microsoft as a mobile device management (MDM) provider -- especially now that the vendor is meshing its desktop and mobile applications into a single code base and expanding its suite of enterprise mobility management (EMM) offerings.

Both the MDM and mobile application management (MAM) marketplaces are undergoing dramatic shifts, Craig says, so enterprises are compelled to re-evaluate their current MDM and MAM deployments. As a result, "those who use Microsoft for desktop and application management should evaluate its EMM offering," Craig says.

Find out what Craig says is happening in the EMM space.

Threat intelligence apps need fine-tuning

Jon Oltsik, analyst at Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), comments about the challenging state of threat intelligence programs and what enterprises are trying to do to improve the information they are now receiving.

With more than 70% of cybersecurity professionals telling ESG that they plan to increase spending on threat intelligence platforms over the next 12 to 18 months, the need for such support is apparent, Oltsik says. But enterprises are often paying for the same information from multiple providers, making the process cumbersome and ineffective.

The answer might come from so-called threat intelligence consolidation and analysis platforms (TICAPs), which can comb through various intelligence feeds and allow CISOs to determine which services are most effective. That said, TICAPs are still in their infancy, which means most enterprises will have to contend with their current threat intelligence options for years to come.

Read what Oltsik has to say about the value of TICAPs.

Want your IT to be more productive? Add automation

Steve Brasen, an analyst at Enterprise Management Associates Inc., wonders why today's workforce -- while putting in more hours and more effort than ever before -- is still not completing as many tasks as it would like. IT is a key productivity enabler, but in order to ensure that IT systems perform as expected, automation has to be employed as strategically as possible. For these tools to be most effective, Brasen writes, they must anchor several key operations -- including asset management, role-based policies, patching and updating, and incident monitoring and remediation.

"With the right automation in place, workers no longer need to jump through hoops to initiate IT-related tasks," Brasen writes. "Instead, they can focus their attention on accomplishing job requirements and achieving business goals."

Check out Brasen's advice on the value of automation tools.

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