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As digital transformation and network transformation continue to evolve, what should enterprises and service and technology providers be thinking about in the new year? MEF senior staff members share their 2022 industry predictions.
Cybercrime is on the rise, and security is top of mind within the C-Suite
Pascal Menezes, MEF CTO
With increasing and more sophisticated security threats and denial-of-service attacks focused on specific user applications carrying through from the enterprise into the cloud, security concerns will grow in 2022.
Traditionally security is designed within the perimeter of enterprise sites to keep out threat actors. However, that model is turned on its head thanks to work from home (WFH), where company boundaries are removed yet organizations must still provide the same level of security for the home office as for the larger office sites. Secure SD-WAN, SASE, and Zero Trust approaches ensure remote workers can securely access company resources from any location and device. As organizations adopt these new approaches to networking and security, standards and certifications that assure products operate as expected and have the same service behavior, attributes, and policies becomes even more important.
In 2022 and beyond, many secure SD-WAN and SASE deployments will be offered as managed services from a service provider with cloud-native technologies. With available MEF standards and new standards coming in 2022 to define SASE and Zero Trust, service providers can reduce their own attack surfaces and those of their customers and partners in a scalable way to protect against constantly evolving cybersecurity threats. In addition, customers will be better informed to compare services and understand key definitions and frameworks when purchasing secure SD-WAN and SASE managed services.
End-to-end ecosystem automation takes off
Kevin Vachon, MEF COO
Enterprise customers expect service providers, cloud providers, and technology partners to collaborate and offer a single interface, one-stop-shop for purchasing managed connectivity, compute, and storage services. For service providers to deliver those complex, high-value services to enterprises, they must rely on an increasingly large ecosystem of technology, service, and cloud providers. However, business interactions with wholesale partners involve lengthy, often error-prone manual/human intervention. For the supply chain to scale and meet service provider needs it must be based on open, standardized APIs that can enable digital service providers to create and automate the dynamic high-value offerings in real time. In 2022 and beyond look for more end-to-end ecosystem business automation and for MEF to help bring together the pieces to automate business and operational transactions in the supply chain.
MEF in 2022 will continue to introduce a rich portfolio of APIs, services, programs, and resources to accelerate the implementation of LSO APIs for service providers and their partners, including the launch of the MEF LSO Marketplace. Implementing LSO APIs allows service providers to introduce new revenue streams, accelerate service delivery, accelerate time to revenue, and improve the customer experience.
Service providers begin to learn importance of blockchain for complex digital supply chains
Daniel Bar-Lev, MEF VP Strategic Programs
As digital services and products become increasingly complex and sourced from many different suppliers, service providers (SPs) will increasingly need to manage digital supply chains and rely on shared ledgers based on blockchain and federated trust between buyers and sellers of services. The year 2022 will bring to light more use cases that rely on blockchain and their importance in driving new revenue streams.
These new uses cases will motivate SPs to use smart contracts on ledgers shared with partners blockchain, requiring a shift in the usual way of doing business. Mold-breaking approaches will emerge within finance, legal, and sales departments, beginning with education and how privacy and commercially sensitive data can be safeguarded. Processes and workflows will need restructuring to take advantage of blockchain-based opportunities, as they shift away from manual processes for legal and financial engagement with partners. Replacement of traditional enforcement of agreements with standardized software-based smart contracts on decentralized data repositories will require bold incremental progress structured to minimize risk in compelling pilot projects without losing momentum. First movers in 2022 will have a strong advantage.
Growth markets will require new technical skills and training
Kirby Russell, MEF Director of Professional Certifications
Simplified operations and management, along with the ability to build cost-effective, scalable networks with flexible connectivity, make virtualized SD-WAN networks and managed services attractive. As SD-WAN becomes more critical to an organization’s WAN strategy, skilled professionals well versed in the common language and underlying technology for SD-WAN will be critical. Companies and professionals responsible for implementing SD-WAN services and technologies should consider professional training and certification to bolster technical skills and proficiency. Implementing and integrating SD-WAN can be complex; training and certification provides proof points for the engineers, architects, and product managers charged with developing and deploying SD-WAN solutions to demonstrate their expertise. In 2022 those organizations that engage in professional training and certification will realize advantages for both employees and employers.
MEF offers professional certification programs for Carrier Ethernet, SDN/NFV and SD-WAN, with additional technologies (e.g., SASE) on the horizon. MEF’s SD-WAN Certified Professional (MEF-SDCP) program verifies knowledge, skills, and abilities of SD-WAN domains. The exam is a vendor-neutral technical certification recognizing expertise in SD-WAN concepts, components, functions, configuration, security, monitoring, troubleshooting, optimization, and resiliency.
Tags: LSO APIs, sd-wan, certification