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What’s in for the networking industry in 2017

Kareyst Lin | Feb. 3, 2017
The number of IoT devices is growing exponentially. In 2017, how will the networking industry transform to keep up with the demands of this increasingly interconnected world? CIO Asia spoke to experts from Aruba and Juniper Networks to find out.


According to Gartner, 6.4 billion connected devices are in use globally in 2016. This is rise of 30 percent from 2015. It also means that about 5.5 million new connections are being made every day through 2016.

This number is expected to continue to grow, reaching an estimated 20.8 million by 2020.

But what is notable is that, these Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices are increasingly being connected to enterprise networks.

This is making it critical for network managers to identify, connect, and protect all unknown mobile and IoT devices at the edge via enhanced security and threat remediation technology, said Justin Chiah, Director and General Manager, Southeast Asia and Taiwan at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company.

Securing IoT devices
2016 has seen botnets made up of compromised IoT devices launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on an unprecedented scale. Securing such devices would be one important area of interest to the industry this year.

But at the same time, "security solutions need to be functional yet simple enough to not be of inconvenience to users", said Chiah. "While sophisticated malware is a reality today, complicated security policies prevent users from adhering to the Information technology (IT) department's recommendations."

"The need of the hour is security solutions that provide IT departments with comprehensive information on the nature of the device, as well as the user," he added.

Automating, not just securing, IoT
Chiah also predicted that we could expect more companies to focus on security process automation to combat the threats that IoT brings.

Mobile devices have been at the forefront of the IoT revolution, and they offer the easiest route for hacking sensitive data. These devices tend to be isolated, thus presenting a massive challenge for the IT staff to identify the source of a breach, Chiah explained.

Hence, "in 2017, we foresee the security conversation shifting towards artificial intelligence and machine learning, as companies integrate automation into their security solutions," according to Jun Shi, Vice President, Sales Engineering and Chief Technology Officer, Asia Pacific (APAC), Juniper Networks.

Automation of IoT devices can also help to address the shortage of security personnel. With artificial intelligence embedded in security systems, security personnel will be relieved from manually sieving through a sea of alerts to find the truly malicious one, Shi added.

This also means they would have access to increased resources to better enforce a consistent security policy.

Network visibility and predicting network behaviour
Companies will start to demand more granular information from the devices on the network.

Such information can help to identify what devices or services that were on the ports that are being targeted in an attack. This will facilitate a review of protocols and software tools required to build IoT-ready networks, explained Chiah.


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