May 13 2013

Moving to the Cloud? Here Are Three Tips for Reworking Your Network

What you need to know about cloud computing's affect on your network.

As organizations have begun to move applications to the cloud, network managers are relieved that they no longer have to worry about them. Moving apps to the cloud, however, requires rethinking some things at the network layer.

Bandwidth Management

One usual side effect of cloud computing is an increased requirement for Internet bandwidth and reliability. Network managers should keep service-level agreement (SLA) metrics, such as bandwidth, latency and availability, in mind when they upgrade Internet connections. Adding those metrics to a contract may be difficult for most ISPs.

No matter whether the SLA is part of the contract, the networking team should be evaluating these metrics and self-reporting how well the Internet connections are holding up as applications move outside the building.

Encryption Increase

Many network and security managers have been able to apply security controls, such as data loss prevention, intrusion prevention, URL filtering and application layer controls, because traffic in the LAN may not have been encrypted. When applications move to the cloud, though, encryption is a clear requirement. Security managers will have to figure out how to do their job, typically using tools such as next-generation firewalls (which can handle SSL decryption), as encryption usage skyrockets.

Access Controls and Authentication

When all of an organization’s network traffic resided on a LAN, network and security managers could be sloppy about access control policies by depending on known IP addresses to define permissions within the network. When applications move to the cloud, these controls must be reconsidered, because IP addresses should not be used across the Internet to define security permissions.

Network and security teams should look at network access control to re-establish access control policies based on a user’s identity and group affiliations. Cloud-based applications also must be online and integrated with the organization’s authentication and authorization system, such as Windows Active Directory.

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