This rushed digitisation meant a patchwork response which has not only problematised security, but also resulted in high maintenance costs and overly complex networks. For many businesses, visibility into data-in-motion across its IT infrastructure was impacted by increased traffic from personal and unsecured devices, leaving blind spots, and thus opening the door to vulnerabilities and performance issues. In fact, Studies from Deloitte show that home working resulted in a major increase in a variety of cyber threats, including a 47% rise in phishing attacks, and one in seven businesses experiencing a data breach.
As businesses embrace a fluid working norm, further digital transformation initiatives will need to be prioritised. Many organisations are shifting to a cloud environment – often in a hybrid or multi cloud infrastructure – and it’s therefore crucial that businesses look for long-term solutions to ensure network visibility, which in turn can help to overcome the increasing complexity of IT environments.
The path to automation
NetOps teams are being forced to contend with an ever-expanding volume of data caused by the global 5G rollout as well as the large amounts of new traffic joining corporate networks from personal devices. This surge of traffic is inevitably having negative consequences on network efficiency, especially if monitoring tools are left un-optimised. The data deluge is now at a point far too vast for human analysis alone and automation has a vital role to play. According to a recent survey, 97% of IT leaders agree that process automation is an essential part of digital transformation. While it may seem like a daunting concept, automating the delivery of data to service triage and performance management tools is a surprisingly simple process. What’s more, data-in-motion can ultimately be a hugely important asset for developing insights that will improve processes and mitigate cyberattacks, so automating data analysis can be an invaluable move for NetOps teams.
As a fast and efficient way to identify bottlenecks in business infrastructure, automating data intelligence can also be an effective way for organisations to free up the IT team and allow them to focus their energy in more productive ways. As budgets remain tight, every business decision and investment will be scrutinised by financial decision-makers and the executive board. Each tech solution must deliver a measurable ROI, and as automation not only optimises network efficiency, but also frees up NetOps teams under pressure, the financial benefits can be twofold. Considering the pervasive issue of the digital skills gap and the chronic lack of workers entering the industry, network automation is likely to become indispensable to enterprises over the next few years.
Achieve full visibility
When introducing automation, or embracing any digital transformation initiative, total visibility can be the difference between success and failure. Establishing a clear line of sight into a network is vital, not just for regaining control over data-in-motion, but also transforming it into a business asset. Visibility should span on-premises, public, private, multi and hybrid cloud infrastructure. All traffic, including encrypted data, should be in view.
To enhance visibility, businesses must take a holistic approach to managing IT infrastructure, with all technology assets monitored via a single pane of glass. It is with this clear view of network traffic that pressure on IT teams can be reduced and business processes streamlined; without visibility, automation will remain un-optimised and likely cause more issues that it solves. In the past, visibility has often been implemented on a more ad-hoc, project-by-project basis, yet as more organisations embrace a hybrid-cloud infrastructure, visibility must be implemented from the start so that multiple tools are able to see and secure the network.
The need for digital transformation is greater than ever. NetOps teams will be expected to make the most of reduced budgets and achieve high-quality results. With the traditional workforce changed forever, it’s vital for organisations to have an experienced and skilled IT team working in tandem with technological solutions to ensure productivity and successful collaboration can continue long term. However, while network automation can act as an enabler for IT teams as they struggle with an increasing workload and labour shortage, it is essential that visibility is prioritised in order to future proof business operations and secure digital transformation success.