CIOs implementing a digital transformation strategy are facing new technology challenges and choices. Migrating to new platforms such as cloud, supporting global connectivity (including mobile platforms), and securely managing and making sense of the ever-increasing amount of data, all needs focus.
CIOs that know their organisations need more exibility and agility to succeed, are already taking advantage of cloud-based IT services and applications. But they are struggling to get their infrastructure to deliver the rapid response, easy collaboration and constant innovation the digital business needs.
Going beyond today’s automation to true secure agility
Agility; flexibility; more visibility; control with embedded security: who doesn’t want more of these qualities when managing their digital infrastructure? New levels of intelligence and industry standardisation of services mean this is going to be reality.
Managing networks today is a complex task. Updating routing and firewall policies, for example, and keeping the network estate consistently updated takes a lot of time, process and skill. The automation of tasks we see today, will evolve to the overall orchestration of a network. Using more and more sophisticated software, the underlying network components and policies will be combined to create truly intelligent networks.
More control, visibility and agility for your business. Pre-empting and reacting to problems at incredible speeds, with the distinction between network and security disappearing as security is embedded as standard. Less technical intervention and a hugely superior, secure, dynamic end-user experience.
Action: Assess where you are in your journey to agility and partner with an organisation that has the insight, expertise and service offering to help you shape your digital future.Back to top
A new era of agility beckons new commercial models
Flexible benefit or outcome led pricing models become the reality for your business. Networks will move away from connectivity and kit pricing to models built upon application and end-user experience.
Action: A move away from traditional CapEx models will encourage change and free up budgets to invest in wider innovative services.Back to top
Operational agility through insight-driven decision making
Increased insight-driven data analysis and subsequent decision making is good news for businesses. It will speed up time-to-market and make it easier to personalise services for end users.
This will enhance the end-user experience for your business and prevent performance issues. It will also optimise costs as acceleration will only be used when truly needed.Back to top
Skillsets split into ‘modellers’ and ‘hard-app’ specialists
Ultimately, two different layers of skill emerge. Those that ’model’ things that are already templated with pre-defined policies and those that understand the physical hardware and the applications in detail. This will impact how IT departments are structured, decentralising procurement with a shift to smaller, ‘asset-light’ IT departments.
Even though some organisations may view networks as a utility, the underlying infrastructure will only get more complicated. For those choosing to do the management in-house, the skills needed will be sophisticated and sparsely available.
We will ultimately see two different layers of skill emerge. Those that ‘model’ things that are already templated with pre-defined policies and those that understand the physical hardware and the applications in detail.Back to top
Mobile 5G will be a must-have access option
5G will be a key part of the enterprise network strategy. Some will use it as back-up for sites, others so that applications can simply follow you across networks. It will make the network even more pervasive, which means its security will need to evolve.
5G will make an organisation’s network even more pervasive, and, as such, the security focus will need to evolve. We will need to understand the security posture of any device in any location – so endpoint protection becomes more important. You will need to control what people are doing in these areas and protect the rest of your technology. Understanding your appetite for risk will become increasingly important.
IoT and 5G give the potential to create greater business flexibility. With this you risk relatively dumb devices running DDoS attacks, so you will need to restrict access to devices to prevent them accessing the wider network.Back to top
Whether personal or business, we want the same application experience
It’s all about performance. Users want to see level parity in personal and business application capabilities, while businesses expect best quality, security, resilience and availability for their applications no matter where they are or what devices they are using.
The prime focus for businesses will be on applications and the end-user experience. The network will provide the platform for applications to work, and you are likely to start with buying a combined application and network solution.
The rapid move to cloud provisioning means we can’t only consider end-user performance/experience but must also ensure security for the application. For example, with collaboration technology, it’s common for users to download plug-ins like WebEx. How do you know what is safe and secure? You need a regime where you run a penetration test that checks that plug-ins are fit for purpose. This approach must be built into general updates so that the end user is oblivious to what is happening.Back to top
Network components become commodities
This is not because they are no longer a critical part of a business, but because they are always expected to work – like switching on the lights. With simpler software components networks may look more straightforward, but managing them may become more complex given the plethora of evolving vendors along with all the added security issues.
Given your focus is on creating a digital business, simplifying the network and buying services will be good news as they gain the necessary agility. Organisations will care more about the ‘things’ that can be tagged on to deliver the business outcomes you need; for example, big compute power with lots of small devices attached.
Action: Simplifying the network and buying services rather than network technology will help fuel your digital transformation. However, quality and security will always remain key.Back to top
Hybrid networks evolve and are the norm
The prevalence of hybrid networks will continue to increase. Hybrid will come to mean different things at different layers based on the needs of the end-user experience around availability and security. Agile, flexible networks will make it easy for organisations to turn up the bandwidth, add new sites and prioritise traffic and core applications.
Action: Put the right traffic over the right network, but make sure your security analysts understand how applications work across hybrid networks and the potential new vulnerabilities.Back to top
The security attack surface will explode
With edge computing and the move to hybrid networks, there will be more points to attack and a continued shortage of cyber security skills to deal with the attacks. Therefore, automation will be key in how you deploy security and we will see ‘orchestrated micro-perimeter-isation’ take over.
They are having to ask big questions of their networks. Is the data secure? Can it be breached? How is data held in third-party services, in transit, or on devices outside the perimeter kept secure? And how is GDPR going to impact my business?Back to top
The growth of self-healing networks
Edge computing drives decentralised decision making
Edge computing means control moves wherever time, users and workload dictate. The delivery of functions becomes virtualised rather than a piece of hardware, bringing new possibilities to the business.Back to top
Radical reassessment of network management
Riding the wave: How CIOs are shaping their networks for a digital future
We spoke to CIOs and CEOs to understand what is driving their decision making over the coming years. Our insights are summarised in this white paper.Download the white paper
New networking technologies have huge potential to improve performance, boost efficiency and agility, as well as easing visibility and control.
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