No one can accurately predict the future of networking, but they can make strong assumptions based on previous trends and current information. Despite that, we do know one thing for certain—organizations that plan ahead and embrace upcoming trends see an average gross margin of 55% compared to the 37% growth of those that don’t.1
The numbers are clear. It’s important to embrace a digital network transformation. We’ve highlighted the trends we see playing large roles in the upcoming world of business and their networks. By focusing on these aspects as you build your network, we believe you can strategically prepare your infrastructure for the evolution of business while maintaining everything you want and need for your network today.
This isn’t to say your organization should adopt an agile approach to everything, go all in on SDN (Software-Defined Networking), or move partially or entirely to the cloud. Organizations are unique and there are always some organizations that have no need for one or more of these solutions.
But what is truly important is to be aware of what’s going on so you can make the most informed decision possible for your network needs. So let’s get started.
Cybercrime is Rising for All Networks
Damages from cybercrime are expected to cost businesses $6 trillion by the year 2021.2 It’s not just large enterprises either. Cities are being attacked, too. The town of New Haven recently coughed up $2,000 to “restore access to its computer system after a ransomware attack.”3 The attack came from outside the U.S.
One of the driving forces behind the increase in attacks and the costs associated with them are IoT devices. The more devices connected to your network, the more entry points there are for hackers.
Prepare your network for the growth of IoT and the potential cybercrime associated with it.
IoT Security and Management is Increasing in Complexity
As previously mentioned, many industries are quickly adopting IoT devices in their everyday business operations. Retail, healthcare, and manufacturing are all using the data collected from devices to streamline their services and business operations. Collecting, storing, managing, and analyzing that data presents both practical issues and security concerns. There’s also no governing body over the world of IoT devices at the present moment. The security standards and formats used—if used—are up to the manufacturers.
Prepare your network for the growth of IoT devices, fluctuating security standards, and all the data that will be collected, analyzed, and stored.
The Revolution of Analytics and Machine Learning Has Begun
More enterprises are using analytics and machine learning to monitor, manage, predict, and prevent network failures. The number of large and medium-sized enterprises using machine learning will double in 2018 compared to 2017.4
Ensure your network is capable of handling the bandwidth needed for the future of analytics and machine learning.
Automation is Rapidly Taking Over Processes Once Performed by People
Most network operations are manually executed using the command line interface. This leads to human errors, which results in misconfigured network devices, security risks, and outages. Because of this, businesses are transitioning to automation services that will take complete this for them with fewer errors and time spent. Nearly a quarter of all “infrastructure services will have autonomous, self-managing capabilities by 2021 to speed business outcomes and mitigate the risk of human error.”5
Consider how you will handle a shift towards automating if/when someone higher up requests it.
Wireless Bandwidth Use Will Rise Dramatically Between 2019 and 2021
With 802.11ax, or Wi-Fi 6, expected to take over as the primary wireless standard within the next few years, networks need to prepare for a rapid increase in bandwidth. One estimate projects a fourfold increase in the average amount of throughput each person will use.6 The new Wi-Fi 6 is designed for high-density environments, such as public transportation, hotels, malls, stadiums, and other public venues. It will also be used to handle cloud solutions that include both on-location and virtual applications.
Anticipate heavy bandwidth needs within the next few years as content, customers, and businesses capitalize on new wireless capabilities.
Edge Computing will be the New Norm
With the rapid growth of IoT devices and sensors, more of the computing work will be performed on the edge of a network. Ultimately, this will cut down on the amount of data networks will need to handle, reducing latency and the overall cost to run a network.
Identify and anticipate your expected network needs based on newer edge computing devices.
More Companies are Shifting Toward Cloud, Multi-Cloud, and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
While prem, cloud and hybrid IT strategies are the mainstays of networking, more and more network administrators are turning to Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas) for IT resources, such as compute, storage, and networking. IaaS is highly scalable and makes it easier to mix and match different technologies and services from different vendors, allowing network administrators to choose the cloud services and networking products they want.
Take into consideration both CAPEX and OPEX when considering migration to IaaS.
IoT Security and Management is Increasing in Complexity
Unlike Virtual Machines (VMs), containers can all use the same OS and run multiple applications using the same hardware. In fact, it’s possible to run up to as many as eight containers on the same hardware that normally only handles one VM. Because of how cost-efficient they are, more enterprises are implementing containers in their networks. In the past, containers have been used in virtual networks, but they’re starting to make their way toward the edge computing space.
Ensure your network is prepared for the adoption of containers over virtual machines.
1. Boulton C. ‘Digital laggards’ must harness data or get left behind [Internet]. CIO. CIO; 2016 [cited 2018Nov6]. Available from: https://www.cio.com/article/3122806/it-industry/digital-laggards-mustharness-data-or-get-left-behind.html
2. Ventures C. Cybercrime damages are predicted to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021 [Internet]. PR Newswire: press release distribution, targeting, monitoring and marketing. 2017 [cited 2018Nov6]. Available from: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/cybercrime-damages-are-predicted-to-cost-the-world-6-trillion-annually-by-2021-300540158.html
3. City pays $2,000 in computer ransomware attack [Internet]. AP NEWS. Associated Press; 2018 [cited 2018Nov6]. Available from: https://apnews.com/49c15737cbfa4627be170a9e5fcb7c3e
4. Technology, Media and Telecommunications Predictions 2018 | Deloitte China | TMT Industry [Internet]. Deloitte China. 2018 [cited 2018Nov6]. Available from: https://www2.deloitte.com/cn/en/pages/technology-media-and-telecommunications/articles/tmt-predictions-2018.html
5. 6 Hot Tech Trends That Will Impact the Enterprise in 2018 [Internet]. Network Computing. 2018 [cited 2018Nov6]. Available from: https://www.networkcomputing.com/data-centers/6-hot-tech-trends-will-impact-enterprise-2018
6. Weinberg, Neal. “What Is 802.11ax Wi-Fi, and What Will It Mean for 802.11ac.” Network World, Network World, 27 Feb. 2018, https://www.networkworld.com/article/3258807/what-is-802-11ax-wi-fi-and-what-will-it-mean-for-802-11ac.html