Bart Salaets, EMEA Field CTO at F5
The CIO’s job certainly isn’t getting any easier.
Those at multinational organisations in particular need to deal with an ever-changing, increasingly complex, and varied web of regulations. What data is stored where, and how exactly it is secured, are now critical questions that cannot be avoided.
A widening skills gap is another issue as companies embrace new development environments. The pool of available talent is simply not growing fast enough to keep pace with technical specialist demand. It’s harder than ever to find the right talent and retain them in a fiercely competitive market.
What’s more, if you sub-optimally address any of these problems, you are at the risk of creating another headache. For example, multi-cloud networking can provide the interconnections needed within an application that may be spread out across different environments for regulatory purposes. But it also means a more complex job to secure the application at the front and back-ends, as well as the “in-between” where the two connect. What’s more, if application security and networking are run by separate teams, it can become a messy co-ordination process of conflicting responsibilities.
Confusion can also arise from the desire to put more decision-making power in the hands of developers. This is good for speed, agility and keeping people happy, but it can result in individual teams using their own tools and processes, which can become uncontrollable. When talent is scarce, organisations understandably want to give people the working environment of their choice, but that must be balanced with governance needs at the organisational level.
Ultimately, it is down to the CIO to ensure that an organisation can harness the benefits of modern tools and methods without creating needless complication or an environment they can no longer effectively govern. By all means, seek dynamism and flexibility, but not at the cost of compromised security or operational inefficiency.
So, how can you simplify things and satisfy different priorities in parallel?
Different vendors and teams can lead to competing tools, systems, and protocols, with people in the middle needing to configure everything and paper over the cracks.
A better approach is a single solution with one dashboard that provides end-to-end visibility and consistent policies – regardless of where an application is hosted.
Automation tools can also help with the interface between networking, security, and application development, ensuring that different teams work at their own pace without having to slow down for others.
For CIOs today, it is a constant race to keeping up with changes outside their organisation while also maintaining efficient operations internally.
However, complicated problems do not always require complicated solutions. That is why we are seeing a trend towards unifying approaches for multi-cloud networking, application delivery and application security that avoid unnecessarily complicated siloes. Visibility, simplicity, and flexibility are becoming the watchwords for IT leaders. The more advanced technology becomes, the more important it is to keep everyone and everything on the same page.