“The pandemic is challenging businesses to think in different ways” – By, Mr. Dhananjay Ganjoo, MD for India, Saarc, F5

  1. F5 MD for India Saarc Dhananjay GanjooCan you tell us a little bit more about F5 and its primary features?

F5 powers applications from development through their entire lifecycle, across any multi-cloud environment, so our customers—enterprise businesses, service providers, governments, and consumer brands—can deliver differentiated, high-performing, and secure digital experiences.

Our long-standing belief that applications are the most valuable assets of any organization in the digital age has been the foundation of our strategy to become the leader in multi-cloud application services. When you combine F5 and NGINX’s expertise powering over half of the world’s applications across all types of environments, with Shape’s insight from mitigating 1 billion application attacks per day, you have a company that knows how to deliver and secure more applications, and more value, than any company in the industry.

This means that we are able to deliver and protect applications—revenue-generating, brand-anchoring applications—from the point at which they are created through to the point where consumers interact with them.

  1. How has the rise in customer expectations exacerbated the security and visibility challenges? 

The pandemic is challenging businesses to think in different ways. The disruptions caused have left a profound impact on consumer behavior and preferences. While the reliance on applications and great digital experiences grew, customers are now increasingly exercising caution regarding how they transact and consume digitally.

To stay ahead and address customers’ concerns and demands, organizations have to remain committed to transforming digitally. However, while aspiring to transform digitally, many organizations are stuck somewhere between the old and new worlds—classic monolithic and three-tier architectures alongside cloud-native architectures.

While digital transformation journeys can take several forms, the outcomes organizations seek from those journeys are common: improved customer experience, business agility, and a clear return on investment. In pursuit of these outcomes, companies encounter several challenges, which lead to the number one challenge that customers face – lack of visibility. Most large organizations are unable to pinpoint how many applications they have, nor do they know which environments those applications are running in.

The second challenge customers are also experiencing is security. In particular, a huge number of data breaches in the last decade have made it possible for nearly any cybercriminal in the world to take over application accounts by checking to see where users have reused passwords across websites. Beyond monetary losses, data breaches also hurt a brand’s reputation and diminish customers’ trust in the brand.

  1. How can India further advance the development of open banking to create an innovative, collaborative, and competitive financial services landscape?

Open Banking is reshaping financial services in the digital age. Customers expect greater convenience and flexibility in accessing services due to a broader digital experience and the ability to access their financial data at any time and from any location.

According to the Reserve Bank of India, India has adopted an approach in which both the regulator and the market have collaborated to develop the Open Banking space. In India, the RBI and NPCI launched a payment system similar to UPI and released an API for banks and third-party app providers to build on. Market participants are also driving innovation, with many banks releasing their own APIs and collaborating with fintech firms to provide a better experience to their end customers.

Here are a couple of areas where India can further advance in the open banking ecosystem: –

Developing and sustaining a robust developer community: -Banks should not attempt to drive Fintech out of the business landscape but rather determine which aspects of the technology should be developed internally and partnered with fintech. Essentially, collaborating with fintech to develop a software solution that allows them to engage customers more effectively will strengthen the bank’s API offerings and ecosystem, driving customer value creation. 

In the Digital Age, security is a top priority: –To adopt open banking practices, banks must allay consumer concerns about the risk of fraud or data breaches. They must start by developing strategies to modernize their applications by implementing an application security strategy for 360-degree protection that goes beyond simply testing for software vulnerabilities.

  1. Could you provide us any background on F5’s recent purchase of Volterra? What was the added value to F5’s multi-cloud application services and portfolio? 

Already on the rise, the popularity of mobile apps is growing amidst the pandemic as we increasingly turned to mobile apps and other digital channels during lockdowns. However, it has recently become clear that COVID-19 has done more than just increase our reliance on digital services; it has also accelerated the digitalization and created a world in which we increasingly operate remotely.

The shift is posing difficulties for businesses. Delivering and securing applications necessitates traversing a variety of local and wide area networks, public clouds, CDNs, and other edge infrastructures. Today, most businesses manually connect application logic, delivery, and security technologies across these environments on an app-by-app basis. Unfortunately, this approach creates new attack surfaces, opens the door to new threats, and creates incredible operational complexity.

Volterra has built a groundbreaking platform to help fix this. Their universal, multi-cloud technology enables industry-standard containers to execute anywhere, across any public cloud, private cloud, or enterprise data center. Together with F5’s industry-leading application security and delivery technology, we have introduced Edge 2.0 platform, providing an edge that meets the demanding needs of enterprises and service providers. Our Edge 2.0 platform will go far beyond what current Edge 1.x platforms based on CDNs can provide and be security-first, app-driven, and have unlimited scale.

Volterra’s technology is designed to leverage the vast infrastructure built (and still being built!) by the public cloud providers, but it also extends seamlessly into customers’ own premises. It provides a unique combination of SaaS for seamlessly delivering networking and security offerings, and PaaS for building and running modern Kubernetes-based apps. This foundation becomes the ideal vehicle to deliver F5’s enterprise-grade application delivery and security services—extending critical capabilities that have been missing from the edge until now.

One of the most exciting aspects of Edge 2.0 is how it will advance our vision for adaptive apps. We see a world in which applications naturally adapt based on their environment—growing, shrinking, defending, and healing themselves—so organizations can focus on their core business, increase revenue, improve operations, and deliver compelling new experiences for their customers.

5. With Cloud Security being an increasingly preferred choice for the new security architecture, how can enterprises deploy, manage, and protect themselves from evolving threats?

Individuals, businesses, and governments are all concerned about cyber security. Keeping our data safe in a world when everything is on the internet, from personal information to credit card information, is one of the most difficult tasks of cyber security. Ransomware, phishing assaults, and cyberwarfare are just a few examples of cyber security threats. In fact. India ranks 11th globally in terms of local cyber-attacks and has witnessed 2,299,682 incidents in Q1 of 2020 already.

Today, organizations realize that the cloud does not lend itself well to static security controls. These concerns include authentication, authorization, accounting (AAA) services; encryption; storage; and security breaches. Adding to this array of concerns is the potential loss of control over your data. In fact

According to F5 Labs researchers, 86 percent of successful data breaches begin with compromises of the application layer services or user identities placing responsibility for app security squarely in the hands of the app owners, developers, and enterprises deploying them.

Like all other components of cloud architecture, security must be integrated into a centralized, dynamic control plane. Security solutions in the cloud must be able to intercept all data traffic, interpret its context, and then make appropriate decisions about that traffic, including instructing other cloud elements on how to handle it.

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