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What does it take to be an enterprise network architect?

This week, bloggers look into enterprise network architect qualifications, Oracle's cloud game plan and how companies view insider threats versus threats inside.

Keith Townsend, blogging on CTO Advisor, posed what he believes are six key questions companies should ask when...

they are interviewing a prospective enterprise network architect.

As IT infrastructure moves up the stack, CTOs must manage employees, vendors and equipment more efficiently. And, as a result, they seek public cloud and engineered systems vendors to pick up the slack. Yet, many of these vendors outsource lower-level system integration. That means today's enterprise network architect requires a skill set that goes beyond understanding the Border Gateway Protocol or a virtualization cluster, Townsend said.

Instead, to gauge the qualifications of an enterprise network architect, Townsend recommended asking candidates for their definition of software-defined, how they would implement microservices and how they provide available services through the public cloud. He also said he believes IT organizations should ask candidates about namespace, to explain whether developers should have API-level access and how they might configure items in a software-defined environment. Townsend said he believes these questions will help organizations get a better sense of their prospective architects through open-ended answers.

Read more of Townsend's thoughts on enterprise network architecture.

Oracle's long-range cloud strategy

Dan Conde, an analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group Inc., in Milford, Mass., examined Oracle's plan to build its cloud business through its planned acquisition of NetSuite. In his view, acquiring the software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendor is a good move for Oracle. The Redwood City, Calif., database company is not widely believed to be a viable competitor to Amazon Web Services (AWS), and in Conde's view, jumping into infrastructure as a service (IaaS) would have been difficult -- even for a firm as financially well-situated as Oracle. Oracle has tried, but struggled to compete with Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and IBM by purchasing Nimbula, as well as its IaaS and platform-as-a-service offerings.

Conde said he believes Oracle will focus on catering to end users with its SaaS applications, differentiating itself from Google and AWS. He added that NetSuite's SaaS offerings will bolster Oracle's existing suites, especially if they're unified across application tiers.

For companies in the midst of migrating their apps to the cloud, Conde said he imagines Oracle will be able to offer a powerful hybrid computing strategy. "Firms like Microsoft or IBM, which have strengths in on-premises software, seem to be well-positioned to use these transitional computing arrangements, and Oracle is now getting more game pieces in place also to make that happen," he said.

Look into Conde's thoughts on Oracle's game plan.

Differentiating inside threats from insider threats

Anton Chuvakin, an analyst with Gartner, said, while they are concerned, most organizations don't really care about the insider threat. To that end, Chuvakin estimated that cybersecurity professionals receive 50 times as many calls about threats already inside -- such as malware and hackers -- as they do about insider threats.

As a result, IT organizations are now directing their focus to threats inside -- shifting their security spending on tools that include user behavior analytics, traffic analysis, security information and event management and other applications. By contrast, Gartner estimated insider threats drive less than 10% of security spending. "For a small number of organizations, [insider threat] is a big deal, too," Chuvakin said. "For most others, this is a 'meh!' issue."

Explore Chuvakin's thoughts on insider threats.

Next Steps

How to become an enterprise network architect

Oracle cloud aims to coexist with on-premises

Understanding insider threats

Dig Deeper on Network Design

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