As the speed of business increases, enterprises often require new hybrid network architectures that combine on-premises data centers with hybrid clouds to improve productivity. With users working from anywhere and applications distributed across multi-cloud\/SaaS environments, traditional network design can lead to poor user experiences. Security is vitally important not just in terms of protecting resources and assets, but also to enable the network to accelerate and adapt without introducing unknown risks. To be truly successful, organizations that are expanding their digital transformation efforts need reliable, energy-efficient, and secure underlying technologies.\n6 security tips for hybrid networks\nHere are six recommendations for successfully securing hybrid architectures.\n\n Invest in the right next-generation firewall\n\nOrganizations should invest in a next-generation firewall (NGFW) that includes technologies such as SD-WAN, universal ZTNA, in-line sandboxing, and SOC-as-a-Service. These technologies help improve WAN connectivity by providing a better user experience with direct internet access. At the same time, LAN and WLAN provide faster access to local devices and users.\n\n Ensure networking and security is integrated\n\nAdding security as an afterthought almost inevitably leads to problems. When security solutions are not well integrated with each other or the underlying network, security risks and gaps can arise as the attack surface expands and adapts. These security gaps can be vulnerable to sophisticated multi-step attacks and are part of the reason for the increase in successful ransomware attacks. Organizations should converge their networking and security and consider a unified security framework that can deliver automated and reactive security that spans the entire attack surface.\n\n Incorporate zero trust strategies \n\nNew network edges are constantly being created on-premises and in the cloud, so the convergence of networking and security is critical. Consistent security and networking should be combined with universal zero-trust network access (ZTNA) to secure application access and provide continuous verification of users and devices anywhere they might work.\n\n Centralize and automate management \n\nAs the number of network edges, cloud platforms, and tools increase, there is a corresponding increase in operational complexity. And poor network visibility, analytics gaps, and manually performed tasks can degrade the quality of the secure end-to-end digital experience.\nAll of these issues increase the time to configure, manage, and troubleshoot security and the network. They also reduce flexibility and contribute to an increase in costs and errors. Centralized and automated management that includes a dashboard that spans the entire network and security stack can help expedite the delivery of network services across their entire life cycle. Taking manual configuration out of the equation can reduce downtime and security breaches.\n\n Use end-to-end digital experience monitoring \n\nNetwork operations center (NOC) teams that use traditional network performance monitoring, IT infrastructure monitoring, and application performance monitoring often suffer from limited visibility as they need to pull data across dispersed siloed tools to gain user-to-application visibility. Without end-to-end visibility, frontline NOC and help desk teams often don\u2019t have the information they need to ensure a consistent and seamless user experience for business-critical applications. A digital experience monitoring (DEM) platform provides visibility into the user\u2019s digital experience and enables teams to resolve performance issues before users are affected. NOC teams can observe any application across any network leveraging several different vantage points to understand the root cause and remediate issues.\n\n Simplify operations\n\nBy adopting modern networking technologies with integrated security, organizations can enjoy a better return on their investments than if they used point products with limited security. In addition to simplifying operations, integrated security can help improve employee productivity.\nInvest in a modern architecture\nUsing a traditional architecture to connect offices to the data center for application access can be an obstacle to digital acceleration. For better user productivity and secure network edges, organizations should invest in a modern hybrid network architecture and work with a vendor that offers solutions that can protect any edge at any scale.\nLearn more about how the Fortinet approach to network security converges networking technologies with AI-powered security across all edges to close security gaps and help organizations achieve better user experience.