Business critical applications fuel the modern data center and organizations are increasingly reliant upon more data center applications – whether in the physical or virtual realm. Nearly one-third of respondents in a recent survey on Examining the Impact of Security Management on the Business said they had more than 100 critical business applications in their data center (32%) and nearly one in five (19%) had responsibility for more than 200.
This is all fine and good, but where it gets a bit messy is that while these applications are at the heart of the data center (and ultimately what allow the business to run), many organizations are struggling to deploy new applications and make updates to existing applications “at the speed of business”.
A major reason for the hampered agility is that the typical business application requires connectivity across numerous servers, databases, endpoints, etc. and traverses multiple firewalls and routers. This layer of complexity needs to be abstracted or else it ends up eating major chunks of IT teams’ time. Not only does this impact agility, but without understanding the security policies and how those rules relate to each application, the opportunity for error increases big time. Too often applications are deployed, updated or decommissioned in a way that creates unnecessary risk. This may be due to poor visibility of application connectivity needs, the underlying security policy, the impact of making an application connectivity change, and poor processes for performing all of these tasks.
The ability to efficiently deploy and manage connectivity has clearly not kept pace with the rapid growth in numbers of critical business applications, with serious consequences for business agility. Organizations should look to take an application-centric view of their data centers and work to improve alignment across the different stakeholders involved in deploying and updating these applications. This type of approach provides the opportunity for everyone to win – with tighter security and more agility.
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