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Network Visibility in 2019: Trends You Need to Stay Ahead Of

Jose Anes By: Jose Anes March 14, 2019

Network visibility goals never change—you want to deploy the right combination of network taps, network packet brokers, and bypass switches to eliminate performance-draining blind spots.

But just because your goal remains the same doesn’t mean you can take a set-it-and-forget-it mindset. As new tech trends are introduced, your network visibility strategy must constantly adapt to meet the changes in performance and security expectations.

We believe that in 2019, the following 5 trends are among the most relevant in the context of your network visibility strategy

1. Increased SD-WAN Adoption

Software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) were the hot technology of 2018. And in 2019, we can expect adoption to move beyond early adopters and reach mainstream organizations.

IT leaders won’t be able to pass up the ability to automatically load balance data usage across multiple links from a central controller. And by spreading connections across MPLS, broadband, public internet, and more, you’ll be able to meet ever-increasing availability demands from business users.

Many industry leaders will point to network visibility as a benefit of SD-WAN solutions. That may be true, but there’s another side of the narrative. SD-WAN will only deliver its promised benefits if it has 100% network visibility at deployment.

If you’re trying to deploy SD-WAN solutions in 2019, be sure to make sure to eliminate any network blind spots. If they exist, your SD-WAN solution won’t be able to make the most effective decisions in dynamic traffic routing.

A virtual tap is an excellent choice giving you network visibility inside public and private clouds.

2. Automated Network Maintenance

Many IT teams are stretched so thin that they spend most of their time completing more tactical tasks just to keep the lights on rather than the strategic ones that enable growth. It’s always been a good idea to automate these tasks and free up valuable resources for more innovative projects.

However, there’s a disconnect between the desire for automation and the actual ability to deliver. One report found that 35% of IT leaders consider automation a top trend compared to just 15% who think their organization is prepared to execute.

Part of the problem is that automation solutions take IT away from the control of strictly on-premises infrastructure. Making the kinds of changes necessary to implement widespread automation (preparing for SDN and NFV, for example), if done incorrectly can diminish visibility, hurt IT performance, or increase the risk of downtime.

The only way to successfully automate IT tasks is to have a pervasive visibility layer as the foundation for modern solutions. This layer must also be flexible and adaptable enough to enable the maintenance. For example, a bypass will allow you to perform maintenance on your security appliances in a seamless way.

3. Network Traffic on the Rise

This tech trend shouldn’t come as a surprise. Global IP traffic has been increasing exponentially year after year. And according to Cisco research, you can expect a 23% compound annual growth rate every year through 2022.

If your IT management infrastructure is already stretched thin, don’t wait until next year to make changes to your network visibility layer. You know that more traffic means more blind spots and increased load on your toolsets. Now is the time to address them as you continue deploying innovative new technologies.

It’s easy to get trapped in the never-ending cycle of trying to keep up with increasing traffic and data volumes. But if you take the time to plan an adaptable visibility strategy, you’ll set yourself up for success both in 2019 and in years to come.

With extra network traffic, you have higher requirements. A packet broker can help you load balance the traffic passed to security and network management applications, allowing you to re-use your existing security and management assets and grow your network with the applications your workforce is already trained for.

4. More Sophisticated Cyber Attacks

Sometimes cybersecurity can feel like an endless battle. Every time you update your defenses and address one vulnerability, attackers find new vulnerabilities and devise new threats to bypass your systems.

Every year, data breach statistics reach new heights. But as we head into 2019, the situation might get a bit worse.

There’s growing excitement among industry leaders for the rise of AI-based cybersecurity systems. The ability to automatically identify new threats and proactively patch vulnerabilities is attractive to any IT leader struggling with network defense. But there’s a dark side to artificial intelligence in cybersecurity—attackers can use it, too.

The same way that you can use AI to defend your network, attackers can use it to rapidly spot new vulnerabilities. And with so many kits readily available, it’s easier than ever for them to create targeted threats to exploit your systems.

Network visibility has always played a key role in cybersecurity. As threats become more sophisticated in 2019, that role will only increase. If you’re deploying new cybersecurity solutions, make sure you do so with visibility and flexibility in mind. You need to make sure you can deploy them and change/replace them when needed without network downtime. Also, you need the tools that allow you to send the right traffic to the right tool.

Another area where you need to invest is on decrypting the traffic going to your mission-critical applications and performing security analysis on it. Without it, you are blind to some of the most sophisticated attacks happening now.

5. The Great Cloud Migration

It’s no secret that cloud computing is taking over the IT world. In 2019, spending on public cloud services alone is expected to grow 17.3% to $206 billion. And infrastructure as a service (IaaS) spending, specifically will reach almost $40 billion this year.

Migrating workloads to the cloud can increase IT agility, make your business more flexible, and improve the cost-efficiency of your operations. But it also completely changes the IT infrastructure in a way that creates blind spots. Because you’re moving workloads off premises, you lose a certain level of control over the traffic.

Your traditional network visibility strategy was built for the North-South traffic of on-premises data centers. Now, with cloud computing on the rise, East-West traffic will continue to increase and force you to change your strategy.

As long as you plan for visibility every time you consider a cloud migration, you should be able to reap the benefits without creating costly blind spots. Just as when managing the SD-WAN a virtual tap can greatly enhance your network visibility strategy.

Get Pervasive Network Visibility That’s Built to Last

You should never make changes to your network or IT infrastructure without considering network visibility. Even doing so just one time can create a blind spot that prevents visibility into any number of security and monitoring tools. And all it takes is for one malicious packet or one outlier data set to go unseen and cause problems for both revenue and workforce productivity.

For many IT leaders, achieving pervasive network visibility proves easier said than done. When your budget is limited and you have to keep pace with all these networking trends, adding more tools to the visibility layer can be challenging.

That’s why we’re here to help. If you want to learn more about building a cohesive network visibility strategy for 2019 and beyond, contact us today and find out how you can.

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