Network evolution key to competitive strategy

Network evolution key to competitive strategy

Technological trends present significant challenges due to increased complexity, scale and cost for existing networks. But there are solutions available, says Niall Lynch, Enterprise Networks Specialist at Cisco

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25th April, 2021

Digital transformation drives exciting new competitive strategies that transform business models and revolutionize customer experiences. Indeed, network users today expect secure access to any application, from anywhere, on any device, at any time.

Brilliant! So, what’s the catch? Well, associated technology trends – namely mobility, IoT, cloud and security – present significant challenges due to increased complexity, scale and cost for existing networks.

Luckily, as a global leader for over 30 years, Cisco knows a thing or two and understands network evolution is explicitly linked to competitive strategy success.

It’s no surprise that over 100,000 customers recently tuned into Cisco Live! to learn how Cisco’s latest technology innovations will help them compete successfully into the future. Here’s a brief mention of just three aspects.

Firstly, Cisco Intent-Based Networking addresses complexity, scale, and cost challenges, freeing up the network and operational teams to introduce new innovative business-relevant technologies.

Cisco DNA Center is the network management and command centre controller for Intent-Based Networking. It takes desired outcomes (the intent) and orchestrates the network to fulfil this intent.

It collects and analyses contextual operating data from the network and ensures the intent as specified is being met, making adjustments as necessary, and pinpointing abnormal or suspicious activity.

This is achieved through comprehensive automation, analytics and assurance, and security. Cisco has implemented Intent-Based Networking across all network domains, including campus/branch (wired & wireless), SD-WAN, private and public clouds.

Secondly, Cisco ThousandEyes ensures visibility to SaaS and cloud-based services. This is important in an increasingly cloud-first world.

Superior scale, agility and flexibility is driving cloud as the new data centre, internet the new network, and SaaS the new application stack. It’s vital to ensure visibility to SaaS and cloud-based services that are critical yet outside IT’s direct control.

By combining ThousandEyes’ deep and far-seeing observability with the most widely deployed Catalyst campus and branch office switches, organizations gain immediate insights into service delivery, from devices, switches, out to SaaS, multicloud and everything in between.

ThousandEyes is now integrated directly into Cisco Catalyst® 9300 and 9400 switches so there is no need for additional software or hardware.

Existing sites with Cisco DNA Advantage or Premier subscriptions can immediately take advantage of the increase in end-to-end observability into their network and beyond.

Thirdly, Cisco ensures a trusted return to the workplace. To feel safe, employees must be assured that the workplace is thoughtfully managed and provides multiple options for seamlessly working from anywhere within the office, on the road, or at home.

For those with children, you can probably relate more than most to the widely quoted, “Wifi went down for five minutes so I had to talk to my family, they seem like nice people”.

Well, wifi is also critical to creating a trusted workplace which is enabled by leveraging wifi access points, video endpoints and cameras, and IoT sensors that can all feed data about people and environmental conditions into Cisco DNA Center and Cisco DNA Spaces.

These services provide operations teams with the ability to remotely monitor occupancy, density, and track room and desk availability. A significant aspect of ensuring a workplace is “trusted” in the minds of the workforce is to provide proactive messaging to inform, direct and protect the returning workforce.

Cisco DNA Spaces has the ability to alert employees about over-capacity work areas, unoccupied conference rooms to use, and even the best times to visit the cafeteria or gym. This in turn gives people peace of mind that the workplace is invisibly at work protecting them.

As sensors and next generation wifi are deployed to enable a trusted workspace, there is also an opportunity to make the workspace more efficient and engaging.

The network is the primary method to intelligently connect, and in many cases power, the majority of devices and operational technologies, such as LED lighting, that make a building “smart”.

The savings from this approach can be immense. Pine Bridge Investments, for example, cut its construction costs in half and power costs by two-thirds by leveraging the intelligence and power delivery capabilities of the network.

For details e-mail: [email protected]

Notes:

1. 5-7X business mobile traffic growth through 2022. 2019 Cisco VNI: Global Fixed and Mobile Internet Traffic Forecasts.

2. 28.5 billion networked devices and connections will exist by 2022.12019 Cisco VNI: Global Fixed and Mobile Internet Traffic Forecasts.

3. 93 per cent of public cloud users have two or more providers. 2019 Gartner survey: Why choose multiple clouds.

4. 50-70 per cent of web malware will be encrypted. 2017 Gartner: Gartner Predicts 2017: Network and Gateway Security, December 13, 2016, ID G00317597.

5. 3:1 is the ratio of OpEx to CapEx on network operations, labour and tools. McKinsey Study of Network Operations for Cisco, 2016.

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