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Network security challenges remain a top concern for IT pros

In networking news, security remains a top concern for IT pros; ExtraHop integrates with Microsoft Azure; and Barefoot Networks unveils developer tools for programmable ASICs.

As enterprise networks expand, network security challenges are a top concern among IT and telecom leaders, according to a study released this week. Fraud and the proliferation of communications channels were also cited as top challenges. However, companies are also considering emerging technologies to improve security, control and network evolution.

In an Oracle survey of 277 global IT, telecom and network decision-makers, 91% of respondents ranked security as a top-three challenge, particularly in Asia and Latin America, where mobile usage is most popular. More than one-third of respondents ranked network security challenges as their top concern when planning, deploying and managing enterprise networks. As mobile devices continue to expand and redefine the network edge, network security challenges remain a top issue, the study found.

Additionally, 83% of respondents identified several types of network and telecom fraud as serious issues. More than half of IT pros cited identity fraud as a primary concern in relation to real-time communications. The expansion of communications channels -- such as voice, email, video, chat and in-app communications -- also affects network complexity, deployment, management and what defines the network edge. 

To combat network security challenges and improve control, IT pros said they would consider emerging technologies, such as biometrics, artificial intelligence and blockchain. The survey, dubbed Enterprise Networks in Transition: Taming the Chaos, also highlighted software-defined WAN as a technology that could help enterprise networks evolve. Yet, according to the survey, North America lags other regions in software-defined networking deployments.

ExtraHop network traffic analysis integrates with Microsoft Azure

ExtraHop Networks, a provider of analytics for security and performance management, has integrated its network traffic analysis platform, Reveal(x), with the Microsoft Azure cloud. Reveal(x) for Microsoft Azure, made available this week, provides real-time threat detection and investigation across a hybrid enterprise attack surface.

More specifically, Reveal(x) for Microsoft Azure natively integrates with Azure Virtual Network TAP, a new service announced this week that enables out-of-band monitoring of all network traffic. Reveal(x) can classify network traffic traversing the Azure environment, including rogue compute instances, to offer real-time visibility. That data is correlated with event data from Azure Security Center to create a unified analytics and investigation source for enterprise security teams.

Reveal(x) for Microsoft Azure is available for remote site deployments, which helps extend network visibility from the data center to the branch office to the cloud. ExtraHop's network traffic analysis platform uses machine learning to detect high-risk threats and create automatic responses to them across the network.

Reveal(x) for Azure is available in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace, an online store providing apps and services for use on Azure.

Barefoot Networks unveils developer environment

Barefoot Networks, a provider of programmable networking services, announced this week Barefoot P4 Studio. The new software development environment is designed for users to develop, debug and optimize P4 applications in order to accelerate the adoption of programmable forwarding planes. Ultimately, too, this enables smoother integration with the network operating system control and management planes, Barefoot said.

The P4 Studio uses the Barefoot Tofino series of P4-programmable application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs). The environment offers a modular infrastructure, production-ready P4 applications, and a set of APIs and data plane visualization tools. With the P4 Studio and Tofino, an end-user programmable Ethernet switch ASIC, users can develop switch systems to build scalable networks.

The P4 Studio includes a suite of tools, including the following:

  • An updated P4 compiler features enhanced compilation speeds, automatic debugging capabilities, and support for P4-14 and P4-16 versions of P4 language.
  • Simulation model software for ASICs and visualization tools allow developers to prototype P4 applications before deploying them on hardware.
  • A P4 program-independent API enables communication between the control plane and forwarding plane in a scalable manner.
  • A Python-based test framework validates the functionality of P4 applications at all API levels.
  • A single device driver supports current and future Barefoot ASICs.

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