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Federal IT: Why the Edge is the Pivot Point for Your Next WAN and Security Transformation

By Dolan Sullivan, Vice President of Federal at HPE Aruba Networking (Retired)

Watch our Federal CTO Tech Talk: Edge is the Pivot Point for WAN and Security Transformation for a lively discussion with David Hughes, Aruba CTO and founder of Silver Peak, and Conrad Menezes, VP of strategic initiatives at Aruba. Register for the webinar on October 19, 2021 at 11am PT/2pm ET.

The Edge – where technology meets people – is the new pivot point for the next evolution of networking. The Edge might be a teleworker’s home office, a neighborhood cafe, an administrative building, a military base, or a hospital. The Edge is wherever personnel are, accessing their applications and devices, in support of their mission objectives.

For the last 18 months, telework has been a primary driver of technology transformation at the Edge. Fifty-nine percent of Federal employees teleworked at the height of the pandemic, up from a mere 3% prior, according to the Office of Personnel Management. Beyond the health and safety aspects, the success of secure remote work changed the perception of how jobs could be done outside the walls of a government facility.

The pandemic also accelerated cloud adoption, with Federal spending up 8% in FY2020, according to Meritalk. There’s no slowdown in sight, with Federal cloud spending on a 10% growth trajectory to FY2023.

Federal leaders also have high expectations for how smart, connected IoT devices can transform operations. In fact, nine out of 10 say that Edge solutions are very or extremely important to meeting their agency’s mission needs, according to Accenture research.

That’s because IoT has broad applicability as digital is increasingly used to control the physical world. Advanced analytics can provide real-time insights and actions. Surveillance cameras provide situational awareness, smart building controls create more sustainable and comfortable office spaces, and virtual reality transports military trainees into an array of environments.

As more personnel and more devices access more applications, whether from on-premises data centers or the cloud, how network and security services are delivered is more critical than ever.

Operating the Levers of Network Transformation

The Edge is not only the intersection of people and technology, but it is also a vital pivot point for handling application traffic from users and IoT devices to their applications and workloads.

The traditional security perimeter has been dissolving for some time now, and the rise of remote work, cloud and IoT only hastens the dissolution. When staff are working from home, sharing the Wi-Fi with their kids who may inadvertently download malware-laden games and movies, it’s abundantly clear that the notion of a creating a “good” inside and a “bad” outside is outdated.

More data is being collected, stored and analyzed at the Edge. Applying policies and enforcing security at the Edge, rather than at a central location, ultimately creates a better user experience, strengthens security, and enhances operational efficiency.

Aruba is Leading the Edge Transformation

That’s why Aruba is leading the transformation of networking and security at the Edge.

We think it’s far more efficient to apply policies and security directly at the network Edge—where the users and devices are located. The Edge is the point of maximum leverage—where traffic from users and IoT devices can be intercepted, analyzed, and have the appropriate policies applied to deliver better, more secure user and device experiences.

Delivering network services at the Edge is far more efficient than the traditional method of hauling application and service traffic from many different locations back to the data center for centralized security inspections, even if the traffic was headed for the cloud, and adding latency to the response time. Hair-pinning traffic in this way not only puts a heavy load on the network, unnecessarily consuming resources, but also impacts the user experience and productivity.

The Edge is the most efficient place to make the policy decision as to whether traffic should be broken out to a local connection, sent to the data center or cloud instance, or if the traffic is compromised, blocked entirely. This approach enables optimal performance, scale, and security, which is especially important as cloud adoption accelerates across government.

At Aruba, we also know that it’s critical for Federal IT to modernize their networks at their own pace, with a choice of on-premises and cloud solutions, to mitigate the risk of change. With Aruba solutions, IT can choose the best approach to support their mission operations, from the teleworker and small offices to administrative complexes and bases and across the WAN.

Don’t Miss Our Federal CTO Tech Talk on the Edge

Want to learn more about why we think the Edge is the pivot point for WAN and security transformation, the role of a secure access service Edge (SASE), and the importance of choice?

Watch our Federal CTO Tech Talk: Edge is the Pivot Point for WAN and Security Transformation for a lively discussion with David Hughes, Aruba CTO and founder of Silver Peak, and Conrad Menezes, VP of strategic initiatives at Aruba. Register for the webinar on October 19, 2021 at 11am PT/2pm ET.