Organizations with hybrid, multi-cloud environments that require many operators across disciplines will reap the greatest rewards today from using a digital twin.

by Chiara Regale, Network Computing

The increasing complexity of networks today requires IT teams to oversee network connectivity, cloud migration, mobile integration, security, and more, despite the IT staff shortage crippling progress for many organizations. The sum becomes a herculean task as a typical enterprise network spans multiple locations and thousands of devices, each with its own proprietary operating system and configuration rules. IT teams need a solution that oversees these complexities in a way that doesn’t inhibit growth, increase risk, or rely on regressing back to on-premises, centralized systems. Some wonder if a digital twin is the answer.

A digital twin is an exact virtual reproduction of an organization’s entire network environment that can model network behavior. In its Emerging Technologies and Trends Impact Radar report, Gartner predicts digital twins will fundamentally change the way enterprise networks are managed due to the host of benefits they provide organizations...

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Your network, security, and cloud teams spend a lot of time and energy trying to extract timely insights from your enterprise network data, so your organization stays on top of risks and continually improves network performance. But what if they could quickly search your network environment like a database to better understand everything in it — and whether those objects were operating as they should?

Forward Networks’ Network Query Engine (NQE) not only makes that possible — but also easy. NQE is a unique, user-friendly, end-to-end experience in the Forward Enterprise platform, and it’s a powerful tool for surfacing your network data gold, so you can use it to your advantage. The insights you can bring to light with NQE can help you make more informed decisions to improve the health, functionality, and security of your enterprise network environment, including your hybrid and multi-cloud environments.

We developed NQE a few years ago in response to requests from our customers who wanted to do more with the configuration and state data that our platform collects, parses, and normalizes. NQE provides an open platform for accessing structured data about your enterprise network as human-readable, JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) data in a fully parsed form. By structuring and normalizing this data, NQE makes it actionable for your entire IT team — as well as for other key stakeholders in your IT organization who need quick answers about network behavior, security, and more.

NQE query results can be turned into verification checks that the Forward Enterprise platform runs with every snapshot it takes of network configurations and device state, so you can monitor trends over time. Importantly, once NQE queries are written, they will continue to perform as the network changes and ages. (NQE also integrates with data about your network that you already have!) 

This Thursday, July 28th at 11am PT, Dr. Andreas Voellmy, the inventor of NQE himself, will be discussing how NQE is used to automate design validation, inform decision-making with accurate inventory, and proactively check for misconfigurations to prevent incidents. Register for Dr. Voellmy’s talk here!

If you’d like to learn more about NQE — including why it’s unique and the many benefits of using it for your business — check out our new white paper, Make the Impossible Possible With Forward Networks’ Network Query Engine (NQE). It includes real-world use cases that highlight the bottom-line business value that organizations are realizing by using Forward Networks’ NQE. (For one of these companies, that value was over $6 million in savings from identifying and eliminating unnecessary IT costs!)

When you’re ready to see for yourself how the NQE feature included in the Forward Enterprise platform can help you surface your enterprise network data gold faster while easing the workload burden on your teams, you can schedule 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.

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