To power ever-increasing digital initiatives, enterprises are adopting technologies like cloud, mobile, and IoT at an incredible rate.

“But today’s networks are being crushed by the demands of modern businesses and the digital technologies that employees, customers and partners crave,” says Warren Gordon, Business Unit Manager at Duxbury Networking – distributors of Aruba technology. As a result, IT leaders face a number of network-related challenges that include:

  • Supporting frequent network changes with limited time and resources: IT teams are tasked with supporting unprecedented volumes of data, devices and apps that require non-stop adds and moves to the network. Given the critical nature of the network, IT leaders need easy automation for actions like configurations, deployments and upgrades.

  • Difficulties troubleshooting and resolving network-impacting issues: Organisations need better visibility into network performance to understand what is happening and where, so they can act on issues that occur. When problems arise that require a fast response, IT needs real-time, network-wide analytics, correlated to probable root cause to accelerate troubleshooting and mean time to resolution (MTTR).

  • Securing IoT, BYOD (bring your own device), and mobile initiatives: Initiatives like workforce mobility, BYOD, and IoT are widening IT security gaps. Having more devices on the network means more attack vectors, and most IoT devices lack stringent security measures. IT organisations need automated, policy-based management to isolate and secure various types of application traffic and the profiles of users who require network access.

“Many IT leaders are turning to next-gen switching infrastructure and management tools to overcome the limitations of yesterday’s networks. Making the network more responsive and intelligent with automation and analytics are driving their considerations,” says Gordon.

3 capabilities that could benefit organisations as they consider switching to a modern network

1.      Improved IT productivity and efficiency. Adopt management tools that automate and simplify common, yet complex networking tasks. “For instance, imagine being able to set the NTP or RADIUS server address for all relevant switches through a centralised console using only a few prompt-driven commands, rather than establishing them device by device with CLI,” says Gordon. Open APIs that enable the network to easily communicate with third-party apps, services, and devices can foster full programmability. This level of programmability ultimately streamlines IT workflows and ongoing network management. Ease of use is also key here, as networking teams should be able to build scripts or apps without needing highly skilled developer resources who are often in short supply or dedicated to other projects.

2.     Eliminate new security threats caused by mobility and IoT. Instead of relying on manual and static configurations to enforce network access privileges, seek solutions that provide a dynamic, role-based policy framework across wired and wireless networks. “This makes it far easier to grant proper access for any client device, user, or connected ‘thing’—regardless of the location,” says Gordon. Adopt a solution that can inspect, secure, and separate network traffic through tunnel-based segmentation. For example, an HVAC system can be restricted to send traffic to only a specified server, eliminating the possibility of it communicating with other servers that host financials or other sensitive data. This capability, known as dynamic segmentation, not only enhances security postures, but it also reduces costs and management complexity by minimising the need for expensive firewalls for first-line network defence.

3.  Proactively address issues and continually improve performance. To proactively detect, prioritise, and resolve problems, operators need instant access to network-wide insights. Look for networking infrastructure that captures and stores data natively on each node to offset the limitations of data sampling and telemetry streaming. Collected analytics should be viewable in a common, web-friendly UI, with automatic correlation to performance events and configuration changes to accelerate root cause analysis. Such analytics should also help pre-empt problems and guide improvement efforts. For instance, by understanding trends around network usage, operators can make adjustments before a service degrades and causes a poor user experience. Streamlining monitoring, troubleshooting and reporting processes not only increases IT efficiency, but ultimately drives improved user satisfaction, business productivity, and overall revenue.

Bring networking into the digital era

The Aruba CX Switching Portfolio is purpose-built for today’s digital world. “IT gains the flexibility to deploy a single architecture across the network, with intuitive management tools and distributed analytics that transform the operator experience for unrivalled agility and efficiency,” says Gordon.

“IT leaders must displace legacy networks from the past if they wish to help their businesses move forward with today’s digital technologies. Automation and analytics must be a focal point of this modernised networking strategy,” Gordon points out.

“Automation empowers IT to spend less time on tedious administrative tasks and more time on innovating and improving services for end users. Analytics can be used to quickly triage and resolve network issues as they arise, while also aiding in future planning like design and capacity requirements. The Aruba CX Switching Portfolio is positioned to deliver the automation and intelligence today’s network operators need,” he adds.

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