Three approaches IT teams should take in uncertain times

In times like these, which are extremely uncertain and ever changing, IT priorities have changed drastically over these past few months. When being asked in 2019, most IT spending expectations were positive, with even an increase. IT Teams were expecting to invest in Network infrastructure and modernization, Cyber Security or Risk Management and Cloud deployment or migration.

But then, during the Covid-19 lockdown period, IT teams were faced with new obstacles, such as Agility, Responsiveness, Resilience and the support of Teleworking. Each and every sector was faced with the need for an acceleration of their digital transformation. Think about financial services and their decline in cash flow or retail and their decline in physical store visits. The need for agility, responsiveness and resilience has led to an increase in data management, data science and data security, combined with IoT and supporting networks, AI and automation. The improvement of the infrastructure availability has become of utmost importance.

1. Responsiveness

Because the way of working and essentially the way of living (e.g. more shopping online) has changed drastically. There is more need for capacity to keep your applications up and running all the time. That is where SD-WAN comes to play. Together with virtualization technologies, SD WAN automates additional connectivity, servers and resources when needed, existing as one network. 

"The fourth annual state of the WAN report, Networking in 2020: Understanding digital transformation’s impact on IT confidence in enterprise networks", surveyed 1,333 IT professionals across the globe. They examined the 2020 challenges and digital transformation readiness of today’s enterprises. Respondents were asked about the state of digital transformation within their organisations. The results highlight the importance of considering not only SD-WAN as an MPLS replacement. Next to that, its applicability to the broader needs of the digital business, such as cloud migration, network agility, global reach and a mobile workforce. 

2. Agility

Most companies are considering or have already implemented part of their services into a cloud environment (private and/or public). This is called a 'Hybrid Cloud'. To provide agility, there needs to be the possibility to perform load balancing between your services on premise and in the cloud. However, not to forget, that when implementing a hybrid or even a full cloud, your data needs to be secured.  

A study from the Everest Group stated that 72% of the respondents' group surveyed described their cloud strategy as hybrid-first or private-first. “The companies that adopt hybrid and/or multi-cloud approaches do not want to get locked into one cloud platform. However, these companies also realize if they have to leverage native services of a cloud platform, which is increasing by the day, they need to be very smart not to hand over architectural control to any specific cloud vendor.”

The total expected 2020 spending on public cloud, according to Gartner, is $257.9 billion which would be a 6.3 percent increase compared to 2019. This includes the largest market segments, such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) spending is expected to have the biggest growth in 2020 within the overall public cloud market. This significant increase is most probably a result of the larger need for remote working in a secure way due to COVID-19.

3. Resilience

When looking at how organisations are built internally, there has risen a bigger need for a resilient organisational design. A previous Gartner organisation design survey stated that 55% of organisational redesigns were focused on streamlining roles, supply chains and workflows with the goal to increase efficiency. Although this approach increases efficiency, it does not ensure that the organisation is quick to adapt to an unexpected change. A disruptive event, such as COVID-19 has shaken quite some organisational structures to the core. 

A resilient organisation needs a resilient network, processes and roles with a focus on agility, flexibility and foremost visibility. According to Gartner, a large number of organisations were already increasingly using monitoring tools, resulting in an increase of their data collection. The pandemic has caused an even bigger increase in implementing these tools and therefore the bigger amount of data that needs to be available 24/7. To ensure this data stays available for everyone in an organisation, it is necessary to limit the network downtime. 

To increase resiliency, the used technology must feature real time detection of outages and automatic switch over (fail over) to working links. For optimal and resilient connectivity, several links via several Service Provides are used between the different datacenters and cloud environments. This way a resilient SD-WAN will reduce the network downtime to minimum.

"It is Infradata's strength to help guide organisations in their digital transformation and provide not only the necessary responsiveness, but also agility and resilience" - Nico Van Buitenen, Managing Director at Infradata.

Infradata's Software Defined WAN

Infradata's Software Defined WAN (SD-WAN) approach is a modern way to build and operate Wide Area Networks. An SD-WAN is the logical extension of virtualization in the data center and Software Defined Networking in those data centers. Augmenting your existing WAN infrastructure with SD-WAN functionality reduces WAN cost, improves availability and application performance while also simplifying management and reducing Service Provider dependence.

Infradata’s networking, cloud and SD-WAN experts can help you choose and design the best solution for your organization, either as a managed service or as a solution that you operate yourself.

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Maxine Meeussen - 17 August 2020

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