Zero Trust, cloud and remote work drive digital resiliency

UK enterprise organisations showed high levels of concerns around all aspects of digital resilience.

A10 Networks has published global research revealing the challenges and priorities of enterprise organisations in today’s post pandemic era, as we learn to live with COVID-19, and how this is shaping future technology requirements.

Of the 250 enterprise organisations surveyed in the UK, nearly all (93%) showed high levels of concern around all aspects of enterprise digital resilience. Overall levels of concern were highest around optimisation of security tools to secure competitive advantage, but organisations were also extremely concerned about utilising their IT resources in the cloud, demonstrating their awareness of the importance of balancing security and efficiency.

Private Cloud is the Preferred Environment

Rising network traffic has compounded the challenges respondents face with 82% of UK enterprise organisations witnessing network traffic increase in the last 12 months. Indeed, UK respondents reported a higher increase than other territories, with volumes rising by 59% on average compared to 47% across all surveyed countries.

When asked about the expected split of their future network environment, 76% of UK enterprise organisations said it would be cloud based with private cloud being their preferred environment. However, they are not reassured by their cloud service providers, with more than half (51%) saying that they are failing to meet their SLAs.

The Enterprise Perspectives 2022 study was undertaken by independent research organisation, Opinion Matters, among 2,425 senior application and network professionals from across ten regions including UK, Germany, Southern Europe, Benelux, Eastern Europe, Nordics, USA, India, Middle East and Asia Pacific.

The research was conducted to understand the challenges, concerns and perspectives of large enterprise organisations as they continue adapting their IT strategy and infrastructure to the rigours of digital transformation and a hybrid work environment.

Cyberthreats are Escalating

Without a doubt, the escalating threat landscape is causing a broad spread of concerns from UK respondents. Compared to other regions, UK respondents were more concerned about the impact of GDPR, and regulatory fines, investigations and lawsuits should they suffer a data breach due to a cyber attack. Other concerns included potential downtime, or a lockdown should they experience a DDoS attack, and the loss of sensitive data.

In response to these concerns, the research showed an evident shift to Zero Trust security approaches with 35% of UK enterprise organisations saying they have already adopted a Zero Trust model in the last 12 months and 12% intending to adopt one in the next 12 months. This was higher than all other surveyed territories, where the overall average was 30%.

The New Normal may Resemble the Old Normal

While there has been an infrastructure shift to support distributed home and remote work, 62% of UK enterprise organisations say all or most employees will work in offices over the long term. Only 12% say that a minority or no employees will work from the office and the majority will be remote. This runs contrary to the predictions of a seismic shift to a permanently hybrid enterprise with application and network professionals expecting the old normal to reassert itself.

Commenting on the research, Anthony Webb, Vice President A10 International at A10 Networks, said: “The world has changed irrevocably, and the pace of digital transformation has accelerated beyond expectations. But as we move beyond crisis mode, organisations are now laser-focused on digital resilience, moving to the cloud and how they can shore up their defences. There is clearly a need to support employees to work in ways they are most comfortable. And we are seeing UK organisations pivot to Zero Trust models. The movement back to the office environment could be because of the high anxiety that IT professionals have around security, cloud and aspects of digital resilience and continuity and whether their IT systems can cope.”

Technology Investment Priorities

In terms of investment priorities, artificial intelligence and machine learning have undoubtedly come of age, as has the deployment of IoT devices, with 40% of UK enterprise organisations saying they have deployed these technologies in the last 12 months. Additionally, 41% say they have deployed deep observability and connected intelligence technologies.

Interestingly, when asked about the most critical technology for business resilience in the year ahead blockchain scored highest for UK respondents, followed by IoT devices to help business functions, and a notable proportion are also exploring metaverse-related technologies.

Looking to the future, the adoption of cybersecurity initiatives will likely become higher, and this includes Zero Trust models. With more widespread implementation expected, as UK enterprise organisations become educated around the benefits. It is clear from the study that there is unlikely to be any relief from the pressure on UK businesses in the coming years.

Webb concludes: “With the escalating threat landscape, post-pandemic fallout, Brexit, the current Russia-Ukraine conflict, not to mention rising energy prices and inflation, there is much for enterprise organisations to consider. To address these issues, companies must continue to invest in modern technologies that enable automation and protection that strike the balance between defence and agility for an increasingly multifaceted infrastructure.”

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