Attacks on networks are increasing. This requires rapid diagnosis and recovery.
Networks are exposed to various threats, and resilience is now more critical than ever. However, working from home, edge computing, and cyber-attacks quickly become a stress test for the infrastructure. A look at the most vital trends in network technology shows well-known topics: hybrid working, edge computing, cyber defense, or automation will also be the dominant buzzwords in 2022. A reliable, secure, and resilient network plays a central role in all of them, which is why companies have to bring their infrastructure into shape.
Hybrid working models require IT that is available at all times.
Hybrid work models have been part of everyday life in many companies, at least since the pandemic pushed employees to work from home. However, as the number of endpoints increases, the network becomes more heavily loaded, while stable bandwidth is necessary for an optimal video conferencing experience and other remote services. This means that the administrators have to ensure that the infrastructure and applications are available at all times and that the employees are not hindered in their daily processes by delays or long loading times.
The role of network administration is thus increasingly expanding to include the entire employee experience. Traditional remote maintenance solutions help solve problems without an IT employee’s physical presence. However, these tools repeatedly struggle with security gaps and are only software-based. In addition, they only work if devices are switched on, functional and reachable via the network. If this is not the case, solving the problem is almost impossible.
IoT and 5G move the network to the edge.
The Internet of Things (IoT), in combination with 5G networks, enables new application scenarios – from intelligent factories and automated production lines to robots in health care and augmented reality scenarios to autonomous vehicles. For 5G to reach its full potential, computing at the network’s edge is essential. In addition to the shortened response times and the solved latency problems, this enables immediate use of the data. However, edge computing challenges data centers – a distributed network with many remote locations inherently has more vulnerabilities. At the same time, companies will have to manage an increasing number of business-critical systems and devices and vast amounts of sensitive data, which must be available at all times in a fail-safe manner.
Red alert: Danger from hackers is increasing.
Even if it lasts just a few minutes, a network outage can have a massive impact on a business. On the one hand, the reasons for an interruption lie in human operating errors; for example, when an administrator misconfigures the switch or an employee makes a typo when entering data. Software updates that went wrong can also threaten uptime. On the other hand, hacker attacks have become the greatest threat to corporate networks. They never had more sophisticated malicious programs registered than in the past few months. DDoS attacks, for example, require a quick response. One of them is shutting down affected systems to prevent attackers from gaining access. Especially in the case of DDoS attacks, rescue operations via existing network connections are usually not possible because servers and networks are overloaded by a large number of connection requests and can no longer be addressed as a result. Administrators need an independent management level if the productive IP network has already been affected.
Network automation is not an option, and it is a must.
Networking is fundamentally about connecting point A to point B and maintaining that connection securely and reliably, regardless of all influences. However, many administrators are faced with vulnerable, complex networks – a result of years of manual infrastructure management via Command Line Interfaces (CLI). Installation, operation, and troubleshooting often occur ad hoc and without a real plan. As a result, any disruption requires human intervention, which limits the scalability and stability of the network.
The topic of NetOps will become all the more critical for companies in the future: Automation helps to complete repetitive tasks and processes faster, more efficiently, and with fewer errors. That Netop is not an option but a must for a long time is undisputed. Ninety-seven percent of recent network managers surveyed in the Opengear study see the NetOps approach as the prerequisite for planning their network infrastructure. Accordingly, most companies have invested in NetOps in the last two years.
“The combination of diagnostics and rapid recovery is critical to ensure a resilient network. However, many companies keep postponing necessary investments hoping that a power failure will never happen to them. However, due to the increasingly complex IT infrastructures, but also the enormous dangers posed by cybercriminals, the quick identification and resolution of connection problems for companies is perhaps the most important task,” explains Dirk Schema, Sales Manager Europe at Opengear. “Smart out-of-band management – OOB for short – ensures stability and reliability. OOB allows administrators to manage critical IT components remotely and without interruption. If the primary network fails, a failover solution is available via a second or cellular network. Modern console servers, which are equipped with x86 processors, also use the common NetOps tools and thus combine smart OOB and automation in one piece of hardware.”