Corporates need more effective day-to-day network management

June 8, 2015 0 comments

Remote monitoring and automated management reduce the time to troubleshoot faulty networking devices by a massive 75% as per the Network Barometer Report from Dimension Data. Consequently, it takes 32% less time to repair such devices than those not managed in this way. Furthermore, it shows a strong correlation between the failures caused by devices and their lifecycle stage. The research looked at corporate networks in organizations of all sizes and all industry sectors across 28 countries.

According to the report, networks have continued to age for the fifth consecutive year, making 53% of the over 70,000 technology devices that were analyzed either ageing or obsolete – up by two percentage points since last year. There’s also been a slight drop in the percentage of obsolete devices – down to 9% from last year’s 11% – while the percentage of ageing devices has increased by four points. The percentage of the current devices analyzed is at its lowest in three years.

Andre van Schalkwyk, Consulting Practice Manager for Dimension Data’s Networking Business Unit said, “During the seven-year history of the Network Barometer Report, the average tolerance level for organization’s obsolete devices in their networks has been around 10%. Rarely do organizations allow this to increase beyond 11% before they refresh the relevant devices. The conventional assumption was that an overall technology refresh was imminent, but our data shows that organizations are refreshing mostly obsolete devices, and are clearly willing to sweat their aging devices for longer than expected. Organizations therefore focus their refresh initiatives mostly on technology that has reached critical lifecycle stages when vendor support is no longer available,” explains van Schalkwyk.

Based on its experience in evaluating organizations’ operational support maturity, Dimension Data says that on a scale of five, some 90% of organizations are still at the first or second level of maturity. These levels are characterized by a lack of standard processes, ad hoc troubleshooting tools, and ambiguous roles and responsibilities for IT staff, resulting in extended network downtime and increased operational costs. This is also the reason why 30% of all service incidents are still related to human error.

Van Schalkwyk points out that mature monitoring, support, and maintenance processes allow for a higher tolerance for ageing devices in the network. This proves the viability of managing an older network overall. “That’s provided there’s sufficient visibility of the lifecycle status of all devices, an understanding of their risk profile depending on their criticality to the infrastructure as a whole, and the proactive management of that risk. Overall, we’re seeing a growing need for more effective day-to-day network management across all corporate networks.”

Other key highlights:

  • There’s a slight improvement in the security status of networks: the percentage of devices with at least one vulnerability is down to 60% from 74% last year. This is because organizations refresh obsolete devices which have more identified vulnerabilities. Replacing them leads to fewer vulnerabilities in the network overall.
  • Despite the general tendency to sweat assets, organizations are slowly expanding the wireless capabilities of their networks. However, 74% of the wireless access points are still older models that don’t support a solid mobility strategy. In addition, majority of the devices are not IPv6-capable yet, many of which require a simple software upgrade to be so.

These factors point out that organizations are not yet giving the impact of enterprise mobility, collaboration, and the Internet of Things on the network due strategic consideration.

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