Why PAM Is More Important Than Ever for Large Global Enterprises and Network Operators as Interconnections Explode
By: Ali Gomulu
Equinix’s latest report, based on its annual Global Interconnection Index and published last month, predicts massive growth in the volume of data network interconnections, the traffic that flows through network intersections. This will power the digital global economy, connecting business, systems and people more continuously and contextually than we could have imagined when the Internet started its initial growth surge in the 1990’s.
As individuals, businesses, governments, organizations and society, we will be increasingly dependent on connections driven by more devices and more applications. This dependency makes the data we generate more valuable to those who wish to attack clouds, networks and systems, making the need for Privileged Access Management, among other security solutions, more important than ever.
Equinix operates more than 200 data centers in 50 cities around the world, and its third Global Interconnection Index (GXI) projects that the global interconnection bandwidth will grow at a 51 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2025, to more than 13,300 Terabits per second (tbps), or an astonishing 53 zettabytes of data exchanged annually.
Growth will primarily come from enterprise IT operations, according to the report, which included a survey of 2,450 senior IT professionals. What’s changing rapidly is the participation of enterprises in direct interconnection and peering relationships, which a decade ago were mainly in the purview of telecommunications and data network operators.
Equinix’s analysts and authors found that enterprises are thinking big when it comes to interconnection as part of the digital transformation of their businesses, especially globally distributed organizations, including trading counterparties in different parts of the world. To not only control costs but to improve security, they are developing strategies and budgets that are causing network operators and service providers to move beyond legacy business models.
Steve Madden, Vice President of Global Segment Marketing at Equinix, said the GXI data reveals “a seismic shift in all industries around the world: businesses are moving their computing from centralized data centers to a hybrid infrastructure at the edge, creating, consuming and exchanging data faster and in more distributed locations than ever before.”
The data center industry, which languished for a few years as cloud paradigms changed and big players like AWS and Microsoft invested billions in their own facilities and optical fiber networks, is once again predicted to see strong demand, even as global investors see a “compelling opportunity” in financing digital infrastructure – but not in the same ways as before.
Privileged Access Management (PAM) must be a cornerstone of every cyber security strategy for enterprises, data center and network service providers, simply because the stakes are higher. Additionally, the ability to scale PAM is critical to successfully grow and accelerate revenue, making those providers who secure access much more attractive and competitive.
The GXI estimate of 2022 traffic is 7 percent higher than the projection in the 2018 report; translated, that means the actual usage is exceeding last year’s projections, which drove the revisions upward for the most recent report.
Equinix has always focused on the Internet core, building data centers around major network geographies, including New York and New Jersey, Northern Virginia, Silicon Valley, Chicago and Dallas in the US. Twelve global metros account for 90 percent of Internet traffic, and Equinix continues to invest in more and more on-ramps and off-ramps to keep up with demand. Securing those on-ramps is mission critical.
It’s very clear that the production of data based on many new and innovative applications, including the Internet of Things, fintech applications; including digital trading, currencies, payments and more, will only be fueled further as more capacity and compute power becomes available. All this data – often personal and/or sensitive information – will need to be stored and managed securely.
PAM is an obvious place to start, as it protects massively valuable and vulnerable assets from insider threats, whether intentionally caused or unintentionally triggered when policies and governance are weak. As our clients and partners are preparing for impact in the massive growth of interconnections in the US and globally, we’re prepared to help them with PAM solutions built for this new world – software-based, cloud-flexible, easier to scale than legacy approaches, and far less expensive, especially as infrastructure and investments in infrastructure grows.
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Two-factor authentication has been around for decades – requiring an additional step between entering a username and password, for example, then entering a one-time security code sent to a mobile device – to access applications, systems and data.