There are only two options for managing a global multi-cloud network: either by using a combination of inference, hope, and intuition or with mathematical certainty. When conducting 5 million financial transactions daily, it’s essential to operate with certainty, regardless of your network’s size or geographical distribution. Auditors don’t accept inferences; they demand certainty when determining compliance, and a poor audit can be disastrous for the business.

We recently sat down with the director of IT for a global payment processing company, and his opening remarks were, “They say a picture is worth a thousand words; an accurate network map is worth a million words because things are so complex in the cloud.” This IT leader turned to Forward Networks to help make sense of the company network to ensure it was secure and behaving as intended.

Forward Networks creates a digital twin of the network by safely collecting configuration and state data from all devices and using publicly available APIs to reconstruct cloud presence. The platform then uses header space analysis to determine every path a packet could take, which delivers the most accurate representation of network behavior. The same information is used to identify security vulnerabilities and compute the blast radius of a compromised host.

According to the executive we spoke with, “We now have an easy way to understand the day-to-day operations of the network and how routes are being propagated with accurate insight into connectivity. We know if the infrastructure is properly connected and if the infrastructure zones are connected as intended.”

This degree of certainty has enabled them to automate application provisioning. When done manually, the process took weeks and had a significant backlog. It’s now possible to instantly verify the security of a new app and deploy it. This is helping them recognize revenue faster.

Read the case study to learn more about this company and the benefits they realized from implementing Forward Networks.

The Globee Awards for Disruptors recognizes and celebrates organizations and individuals who have significantly contributed to disruptive innovation across various industries. These awards acknowledge the trailblazers who have challenged the status quo, introduced groundbreaking ideas, and transformed traditional practices through their disruptive approaches.  

Forward Networks was honored because: 

Because the tools network and security operations use to validate connectivity and security for on-premises networking are entirely different from those used for the cloud, it’s nearly impossible for teams to verify that the security policy is being enforced on-prem and throughout the multi-cloud environment.  

Deploying traditional security controls is ineffective in the cloud since defensible perimeters are erased, component virtualization and decentralization obscures visibility, and automated configuration tools are required at scale. 

Using read-only permissions, Forward Enterprise collects config and state data from all on-premises devices, such as routers, switches, and firewalls. The SaaS platform uses publicly available APIs to gather similar read-only information from public cloud accounts to create a digital network twin encompassing physical, virtual, and cloud estates. This information is presented in an integrated (and vendor-agnostic) way, enabling engineers to verify compliance throughout the estate. Anytime a non-compliant change is detected within the cloud estate, the appropriate teams will receive specific, actionable information about which instantiation is non-compliant and why, enabling rapid resolution.  

Unique Cloud Security Features within Forward Enterprise: 

Single source of truth.

Networking, security, and cloud professionals can work from a consistent, always up-to-date set of facts when troubleshooting or verifying network behaviors, drastically reducing MTTR. 

Verification that cloud security posture complies with corporate policy.  

Users gain unprecedented access to behavioral data to hasten troubleshooting, prevent incidents, and deliver timely alerts any time a cloud configuration is outside of policy. Timely alerts enable teams to quickly remediate issues and limit risk. 

Secure, automated application provisioning in the cloud.  

Organizations can ensure that the connectivity configurations of new applications adhere to corporate governance policies. Eliminating manual policy checks streamlines the process, so applications can be launched with greater confidence and speed, and companies can recognize revenue on new offerings more quickly.  

Hop by hop visibility.  

Forward computes all possible traffic flows and provides detailed insight into how on-premises devices and cloud elements transform and direct traffic.  

Search capabilities across the entire estate. 

Forward performs complete end-to-end path analyses across the network for both on-premises and cloud infrastructure. Users can locate devices and access detailed information on their location, configuration, and state in milliseconds. 

Learn more about Forward Enterprise Cloud Security by reading the use case or requesting a demo.

The cloud offers agility and speed for DevOps teams. Being able to spin up environments and create applications in a fraction of the time previously required helps organizations launch new capabilities for customers, employees, and vendors quickly. For most companies, this means reduced time to market and the ability to recognize revenue faster.

IT teams recognize the benefits of a DevOps culture, but they also know that by their very nature, new applications are prone to security errors that can put the business at risk. So, they require a security review prior to pushing new applications live. Nobody would argue with the need to ensure security compliance; however, most people would also agree that slowing down the process of launching new applications is not ideal. Companies today cannot afford to choose between speed and security — nor do they need to.

The only way to effectively address this issue is to automate the process of verifying the connectivity and security posture of cloud applications. Without automation, your IT teams cannot keep up with the demand to prove compliance for the rapidly growing volume of cloud applications.

The verification feature within the Forward Enterprise platform enables automated compliance checks for new applications in hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Developers are notified of the required changes if there's an issue, and compliant apps can be provisioned automatically with confidence. The intent and Network Query Engine (NQE) check feature also lets you continuously audit cloud configurations to prevent real-time changes from diluting security policy. If a non-compliant change is detected, the appropriate teams will receive specific, actionable data as to what the issue is and why it’s happening, enabling rapid resolution.

The ability to automate security for cloud app provisioning is just one of many powerful features in the Forward Enterprise platform that can help your organization reduce risk and enforce critical security policies as you deploy new cloud apps or migrate on-prem apps to the cloud. To learn more about how Forward Networks can help your business take the security and compliance guesswork out of cloud application deployment for good, read this use case or join our educational webinar.

Forward Enterprise Makes the Cloud More Agile, Predictable, and Secure

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Feb. 23, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Forward Networks, the only company offering visibility and intent capabilities across the entire network estate, including on-premises, hybrid-cloud, private cloud, public cloud, and multi-cloud instances, today announced enhancements to the Forward Enterprise platform. Forward Enterprise now provides unprecedented visibility into network configuration and behavior in an actionable, vendor-agnostic format, enabling all organizations to conduct business in the cloud with certainty. In addition, the new cloud capabilities give IT teams a 360-degree view of both physical and virtual environments, as well as a single pane of glass for end-to-end in-depth connectivity analysis and policy and security verification.

Forward Enterprise creates a digital twin of an enterprise environment across on-premises devices, as well as hybrid multi-cloud environments. IT teams can instantly troubleshoot, verify intent, and predict network behavior by computing all possible traffic paths. The new platform enhancements also ensure security policies are enforced and prevent costly multi-cloud routing mistakes.

"For enterprises running large and complex networks, the cloud promised agility, economics, and security, but it has delivered complexity, expense, and risk," said David Erickson, Co-Founder and CEO, Forward Networks. "Our new platform enhancements were developed after listening to our customers detail their pain points and will help enterprises take the next right step in their cloud journey. They now have the same visibility and transparency into multi-cloud network traffic as on-prem environments and can be confident that they have the necessary information to make networks more reliable and secure."

CLOUD WITH CONFIDENCE
Unlike the proprietary tools cloud providers offer subscribers, Forward Enterprise provides visibility, insight, and troubleshooting capabilities across multiple clouds. Using this insight, professionals can often remediate potential problems before they materialize, saving time and money. Forward Enterprise is the only platform on the market capable of building a software model of all major networking vendors and services at scale, including for hybrid multi-cloud environments. It also offers complete integration with the top cloud platforms, including Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). In addition, the platform computes all possible traffic paths for unparalleled insight into network behavior, including how some changes can impact network behavior and compliance verification.

The new capabilities are generally available today, and pricing is based on pay-as-you-grow cloud consumption that does not require a large upfront investment.

About Forward Networks
Forward Networks is revolutionizing the way large networks are managed. Forward's advanced software delivers a "digital twin" of the network, enabling network operators to verify intent, predict network behavior, and simplify network management. The platform supports devices from all major networking vendors and cloud operators, including AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform.

Forward Networks was founded in 2013 by four Stanford Ph.D. graduates and is headquartered in Santa Clara, California. Investors include Goldman Sachs, Andreessen Horowitz, Threshold Ventures, and A. Capital.

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