Network management teams now focus on quick responsiveness, performance, agility, and low cost of ownership. That’s why they’re turning to cloud technologies like software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions that provide flexibility at an affordable price point. SaaS can quickly deploy and customize for specific needs, giving time-saving features such as automation and event correlation across heterogeneous networks.
The network management industry is constantly changing and evolving in a tech-driven world where more data is created daily. Network managers use artificial intelligence (AI), automation, analytics, machine learning, and cognitive computing to improve service delivery—it’s all about the customer experience.
Core Areas of Network Management
There are several core areas within network operations management, and each has its responsibilities. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) defined five areas of function in network management:
- Fault Management: Diagnose, correct, or work around a device or network system problem. Identify and isolate faults before they cause significant disruptions.
- Configuration Management: Keep track of configuration settings, so devices remain consistent with one another while enabling customers to update settings when necessary.
- Accounting Management: Track usage patterns to help businesses bill clients accurately based on what services were used and how much bandwidth was consumed during these periods.
- Performance Management: Determine how well a network is performing, identify potential bottlenecks, and troubleshoot any issues which may arise.
- Security Management: Ensure compliance with regulatory requirements by deploying security tools that ensure reliable protection against external attacks on systems and protect against accidental damage.
Also see: Best Cloud Networking Solutions
Enterprise Network Management Trends: Key Takeaways
See an in-depth analysis of these network management trends below. Here’s the brief version:
- AI and ML will play a significant role in automating network management tasks.
- The rise of 5G will bring new challenges and opportunities for enterprises in managing their networks.
- SDN will continue to grow in popularity, as it offers more flexibility and agility.
- Cloud-based network management solutions will become more common as organizations look to improve efficiency and lower costs.
- Smart devices like sensors and connected vehicles will create huge volumes of data that need processing. Data analytics technologies will be an important part of any network management strategy.
Also see: Best IoT Platforms for Device Management
8 Enterprise Network Management Trends
Network management trends are shifting considerably. The rapid increase in data center traffic and the resulting need to deal with growing network complexity and volume will continue to be the main drivers of innovation and change in network management.
New technologies such as software-defined networking (SDN) and the Internet of Things (IoT) are expected to drive the adoption of new concepts and increase focus on standards and interoperability in the future.
1) The rise of cloud computing
One of the most extensive network management trends is the rise of cloud computing. With cloud computing, businesses can access their data and applications from anywhere. This gives them a lot more flexibility and scalability than traditional on-premises solutions.
Cloud computing is more cost-effective since users only pay for what they use. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that over 100 zettabytes of data will be stored in the cloud by 2025, and global data storage is expected to exceed 200 zettabytes of data.
That’s an incredible amount of data and represents a significant shift in how we approach managing networks. The move to the cloud makes it much easier for companies to scale as needed without increasing costs, making it one of the most critical changes in the industry.
Increased reliance on cloud services means local servers and storage needs will decrease. Network managers should start thinking about how they’ll provide reliable connections to their clients with these new approaches to cloud computing. They also need to stay ahead of the curve regarding cybersecurity, which presents its challenges.
2) Intelligent networks
In the next few years, we will see a significant shift towards intelligent networks that can self-configure, self-optimize, and self-heal. This will be made possible by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and software-defined networking advances. These technologies will help reduce human error, lower costs, and improve efficiency.
This capability is critical for businesses with large, global networks as they try to keep up with increasing customer demands while reducing operational costs. Moreover, intelligent networks promise improvements to the user experience because self-configuring networks allow for more predictable network behavior and continuous optimization. The result is an automated infrastructure that makes networks faster, safer, and more reliable than ever.
3) The growth of mobile devices and BYOD
The trend of bring your own device (BYOD) has exploded in recent years as more and more employees use their smartphones, laptops, and tablets for work. This has led to a need for better network management tools that can help IT professionals keep track of all the devices on the network and ensure they are all properly configured. A study by Mordor Intelligence found that 85% of organizations implemented BYOD policies because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s essential for organizations with large BYOD programs or who have only just begun exploring this area to develop strategies now, so they’re prepared when it becomes necessary to implement new policies and procedures down the road.
They should also invest in an organization-wide technology platform that provides mobile device management functionality to help simplify security while giving IT administrators greater control over employee access to company data on mobile devices and other endpoints.
With enterprise mobility management (EMM), organizations can see exactly what their users are doing across the entire enterprise and quickly pinpoint any potential security threats before they become serious.
4) Zero-trust architecture
One of the top network management trends to watch out for is the rise of zero-trust architecture. This security model assumes all users are untrusted and verifies each user before granting them access to company resources.
This approach is becoming more popular, as traditional security models are no longer effective against today’s sophisticated cyber threats. Zero-trust architecture’s benefits include improved security, reduced costs, and increased efficiency. With this new strategy, IT departments can better track their employees’ activities by monitoring their internet usage and location data.
In addition, staff who have left the company will be unable to access any sensitive information they may have accessed, as they can no longer be verified as a trusted employee. Overall, this trend helps organizations stay ahead of security breaches.
Also see: Top Zero Trust Networking Solutions
5) Agile workflow methods and packages
With the increase in data traffic and large datasets, network management has become more critical than ever. Proper network management can help ensure data is secure and networks run smoothly. According to the World Economic Forum, the amount of data generated daily will reach 463 exabytes globally by 2025.
One thing that needs to be considered when addressing these numbers is how to store this much data and how it’s distributed across a complex network infrastructure. One way to always be prepared for new technologies is by adopting an agile approach to managing networks.
Traditional approaches for managing networks take too long before significant changes are made, which leaves organizations vulnerable to disruption. Agile methodology allows employees to iterate quickly on products and services without waiting for approval or input from stakeholders with different goals. It also allows them to respond rapidly if the market changes to stay ahead of competitors without wasting time on non-viable products or services.
Creating agile packages is one of the keys to success with an agile approach. These packages include solutions that provide immediate relief for problems like increased data traffic or security breaches and long-term strategies to prevent those problems from happening. It should be noted that implementing agile methodologies requires a significant change in culture and mindset, but the benefits are worth it.
6) Cloud-based analytics
The rise of cloud-based analytics tools has made it easier for businesses to track and manage their networks. This trend is driven by the need for real-time insights, the flexibility of the cloud, and the ability to scale quickly. With analytics solutions, IT teams can monitor all aspects of application performance, from infrastructure problems to user experience issues.
As a result, this allows IT teams to detect problems before they impact business operations or end users. With big data analytics at its core, these tools provide a complete picture of what’s happening with the network at any given time, making it possible to take action before service degradation occurs. It also provides valuable insights into how applications are performing on the network to identify potential bottlenecks that could lead to downtime.
7) Software-defined networking (SDN)
In a software-defined network, the control plane and data plane are decoupled, and the control plane is implemented in software. This allows for greater flexibility and agility when it comes to managing networks.
SDN will become increasingly important as we move into the future, allowing for more complex networks to be managed more efficiently. With this technology, companies can choose their hardware or vendor while still having a lot of control over their network configuration.
With SDN, organizations have much more autonomy in setting up their networks, from the type of switches they use to how much bandwidth they allocate. Organizations can also take advantage of automation capabilities that come with SDN, which make large-scale operations like upgrading software quicker and easier than ever before.
8) Automation and AI
In the next few years, we will see a continued rise in the use of automation and artificial intelligence in network management. This is due to the increasing complexity of networks, the need for faster issue resolution, and the desire to reduce operational costs. As these technologies become more sophisticated, they will be able to handle more complex tasks and provide even more value to businesses.
For example, automation tools can replace routine tasks such as setting up new services or updating software by using an API (application programming interface) to access the company’s systems. Meanwhile, AI-powered analytics and optimization algorithms can monitor day-to-day operations across multiple devices with little or no human input.
Their ability to quickly analyze data helps them recognize patterns that humans might overlook otherwise. Automated tools will take on more responsibilities while people focus on high-level decision-making.
Also see: Top Managed Service Providers