Approximately every ten years, we have seen the technology market undergo radical changes. In recent decades, mobility and the cloud have driven these changes. Now we are about to get into the next change: the age of data. But we\'re not talking about data that\'s generated in a cloud or data center, but data that\'s available where business is generated—where users, devices, and things converge. We call it the periphery.
But what exactly is the periphery? It can be a workspace, a hospital, a large sports stadium, a school or the home of a remote worker. In these environments, users, devices, and things generate massive amounts of data. Organizations that successfully leverage this data—analyzing and acting on it in real time—can disclose valuable information and provide new services. What\'s more, they can delight their customers or produce better results. They can win. And those who don\'t make it will lose.
So, there\'s a lot at stake. And the question would be: do you have the right basis to succeed on the periphery? The network is critical to making use of all this data and will be the one that distinguishes business leaders from the laggards.
CHALLENGES ON THE INTELLIGENT PERIPHERY
Like all the technological transitions that have occurred in the past, moving to a data-driven periphery changes the role of your infrastructure and introduces new challenges. Corporate networks play a key role in moving data and connecting people to their applications and services, as they have always done. However, with the periphery, the network is even more important and network requirements go beyond the standard connectivity and access technologies of the past.
Think about the incredible amount of things that connect to corporate networks today. According to IDC, there will be 55 billion connected devices within the next two years and is expected to generate 79.4 ZB of data by 2025. When you combine that with irreversible shifts to a distributed, remote workforce, you can see that network and IT need the right tools to keep pace. Despite all this, today\'s networks depend on human experience and capacity: they are as agile and secure as the operators that manage them. With this huge volume of data on the periphery, today\'s networks and the equipment that manages it is making a great effort to keep up with the circumstances.
IT leaders should carefully evaluate their operational and infrastructure models to ensure that the network, tools, and expertise of operators are prepared to foster business success in this new era, while enhancing resilience and business continuity. They need to consider the following challenges:
- Isolated administration
Independent management of wireless, wired, or WAN networks across remote worker locations, data centers, branch offices, and campuses creates communications delays and isolation of troubleshooting, reporting, monitoring, and provisioning tools. According to Enterprise Management Associates, about half of organizations use 11 or more tools, which results in a higher likelihood of service interruptions or issues.
- Lack of visibility and information
In today\'s hyper-distributed environments, performance issues can occur anywhere. Unfortunately, IT\'s visibility into existing or potential issues decreases as more infrastructure and more users move away from the walls of a traditional office or data center. Network information that IT can collect through third-party reporting and monitoring tools is generally not actionable, either because data granularity is poor or because operators must correlate events manually across multiple areas and tools to diagnose the root cause. This is particularly problematic on the periphery, where there are usually no IT staff on site to solve problems.
- Largely manual processes
IT needs to address day-to-day networking operations and try to avoid performance issues with your personal expertise, outdated tools, and tedious workflows. According to Gartner, more than 65% of network operations activities in enterprises are manual, leading to human error and downtime. And in the data age, with an explosion of devices, things, and locations connecting to the network, manual operations make it difficult for IT to be aware of everything. Gartner also found that "automation reduces manual errors by more than 75%, while increasing operational efficiencies."
- Security threats are everywhere
New and complex security threats arise every day. In 2019, security flaws increased by more than 11% compared to 2018, resulting in the theft of 33 billion records, and this is estimated to cost companies $6 trillion annually by 2021. IoT devices are not equipped with strict security measures and it is easy for hackers to take advantage of it. Meanwhile, workforce mobility and work scenarios from home continue to expand the IT perimeter, as employees often access corporate resources on their personal devices and from unsafe public Wi-Fi networks. Finally, with more applications moving to the cloud (whether IT-sanctioned or not), protecting an organization\'s data has become even more difficult.
- Unfavorable factors for resources and the economy
Adapting to new business requirements is always complex for organizations of any dimension. There is usually a need for equipment acquisition, new processes and, in some cases, more resources. These difficulties are even greater in times of economic uncertainty, where investment capital is scarce and IT resources are limited.
In the next installment, we\'ll be delving into the strengths and qualities that make Aruba ESP a high-level solution that you need to incorporate into your company to definitely make the qualitative leap that will make it different from your competition.