Network Security in 2024: Artificial Intelligence, Observability, Simplicity, and Beyond
This article was originally published on The Fast Mode
Looking back on this past year, the network and security space has experienced a series of major advancements, as well as brand new challenges. The innovation and increasing integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in network operations has created new opportunities for increased efficiency and innovations, yet it has also heightened complexity and potential vulnerabilities in network architectures. The past year also saw a significant shift from fragmented security approaches to more unified and streamlined solutions, addressing the growing demand for operational simplicity and efficiency.
As we look ahead to this new year, these trends will continue to evolve rapidly. AI integration into network security will progressively increase and enterprises will continue to look toward more streamlined and simplified solutions. Additionally, 2024 will see an increased emphasis on observability, simplified operational models, and holistic security solutions that align more closely with business objectives. The role of managed service providers (MSPs) is also expected to become more prominent, shaping the enterprise’s approach to networking and security. Here we will dive into some of these topics further, exploring what the future of this quickly evolving space might hold in 2024.
#1: OBSERVABILITY’S GROWING IMPORTANCE
Observability will continue to rise in significance for enterprises, especially as emerging technologies further unlock its potential. With AI becoming more prevalent, observability will be a crucial component for successful business operations. The combination of observability and Unified SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) provides comprehensive analytics for a proactive approach to network performance and security. This is crucial in an environment where real-time management and security of networks are paramount, due to the increasing prevalence of AI. The ability to observe and analyze network performance in real time allows enterprises to rapidly identify and respond to potential security threats, ensuring more resilient and robust network operations.
#2: OPERATIONAL SIMPLICITY AND HOLISTIC SECURITY SOLUTIONS
In a world marked by network and security complexity, the trend of simplification will take precedence over mere cost-cutting measures. While cost cutting will still play a crucial role in enterprise decision making in 2024, there will be a significant shift away from traditional, fragmented network and security architectures towards more unified and operationally simple approaches. Enterprises will prioritize simplifying their tech stacks more than anything else, moving away from siloed point solutions that end up causing more confusion and mess overall. Unified approaches like SASE will gain further traction as organizations seek to streamline network and security management, not only for cost saving purposes, but also to deliver better customer experiences.
Organizations will also prioritize solutions that reduce the operational challenges associated with managing multiple security technologies, thereby enhancing overall efficiency. There will be a growing trend towards holistic security solutions that can effectively address multiple security challenges simultaneously and offer integrated approaches to access control, threat protection, and data leakage prevention, amongst other challenges. Going this route will contribute to a more cohesive and robust security posture.
#3: BUSINESS-CENTRIC SECURITY SOLUTIONS
In 2024, there will be a swath of organizations that will move away from a technology-centric approach to security problem solving and instead focus on a business-centric approach. To that end, enterprises will increasingly adopt Unified SASE architectures. SASE combines network and security functions with Wide Area Network (WAN) capabilities to support the dynamic, secure access needs of organizations. The emphasis here will be on further understanding and solving common business problems related to security. Using this approach will help security leaders attract more investment from senior leaders, so they can better protect their organizations and function more efficiently.
#4: CONSOLIDATION OF TECH STACKS AND CONVERGENCE OF STATEFUL INSPECTION AND PROXY TECHNOLOGIES
Historically, there has been a clear divide between Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) technologies with stateful inspection, and proxy technologies with Secure Web Gateway (SWG). In 2024, this divide will diminish due to advancements in computing and the evolution of consumption-based models toward “as-a-service” offerings. A single-pass architecture is emerging at the forefront of this transformation, allowing organizations to benefit from both stateful inspection and proxy-based deep analysis. This development will eliminate the need for organizations to choose between these technologies, as required in the past, offering a more integrated and comprehensive approach to network security.
#5: INCREASED RELIANCE ON MANAGED SERVICE PROVIDERS (MSPS) AND THE ROLE OF AI
With the growing technical complexity and tightening budgets, enterprises will increasingly rely on MSPs to manage and monitor AI technologies. MSPs with expertise in AI technologies will play a key role in spotting errors and ensuring the smooth integration of AI into IT workflows, allowing enterprises to focus more carefully on growing their businesses. AI, in turn, will play a crucial role in enhancing real-time network security by providing advanced monitoring, analysis, and error detection capabilities. This increasing reliance on MSPs and AI signifies a notable shift towards more intelligent, automated, and responsive network and security strategies, capable of adapting to the dynamic nature of modern cyber threats.
As 2024 unfolds, it is clear that the network and security landscape is set for significant changes, with exciting technological advancements, as well as difficult new challenges. Beginning a fresh, new year provides a terrific opportunity for organizations across the globe to closely reassess and strengthen their network and security postures, ensuring they are well-equipped to handle the quickly evolving demands of the digital age. To succeed in 2024, it is important that businesses keep these key areas in mind and prepare accordingly to safeguard their digital infrastructure and maintain resilience in an increasingly interconnected world.