New research conducted on behalf of Barracuda has revealed concerns amongst businesses about their ability to cope with ever increasing IT demands on existing business networks.
Businesses were asked about the impact of evolving business practices on existing IT infrastructure in mid-sized businesses in the UK, France and Germany and of those cited, the three deemed to be having the biggest current impact were:
The growing use of cloud services for business critical functions such as email and CRM (69%), the increase in remote and mobile access to business networks (62%) and thegeneral increase in volume and diversity of network traffic (58%).
However, the areas causing problems now aren’t the ones the businesses are worrying about in the future. When asked what they most anticipated to cause problems in the future the answers were very different, and included:New/changing compliance regulations (34%) the use of cloud based infrastructure (34%)and M2M connectivity and the Internet of Things (32%).
As you can see cloud is the area that users singled out for concern both now and into the future and its likely to stay that way as businesses get even more use from the cloud. The upshot of all of this change With network demand continuing to increase, the study identified network performance (74%), network reliability (66%) and security (66%) as the current areas most impacted. Despite businesses becoming increasingly intolerant of issues relating to any of these areas, it appears many are yet to commit to making the necessary infrastructure investments required. This reticence is inevitably causing concern amongst those tasked with maintaining the networks effectively, further evidenced by the fact that over 61% of respondents felt making the business case and obtaining funding was currently a significant inhibitor to network modernisation.
When questioned about their confidence in the ability of existing infrastructure to cope with the new pressures placed on it, 94% of respondents alluded to some level of uncertainty or doubt in at least one critical area. The most uncertainty was found to be around the prospect of accommodating new compliance regulations, with 63% not fully confident in meeting increasingly stringent future requirements with existing systems.
However, compliance was far from the only area of concern, there were doubts across the board. Less than half of those questioned were confident in meeting increasing demands in one or more areas relating to general business growth (45%), business critical connectivity (46% average), or the use of cloud-based infrastructure (47%).
This uncertainty surrounding the evolving requirements of the business is leading to an increasing number of IT professionals anticipating the need to get smarter with the way they approach the issue. 56% of those questioned already see a need for more specialised/advanced solutions, with a further 34% saying this this would be required in future. Furthermore, 51% highlight a current need for new architectural approach, with 32% saying this will likely be necessary down the line. Many of those interviewed also believed that new ways to monitor and manage the network (60% now, 26% anticipating) would become increasingly important in order to maintain performance as demands increase.
“This research shows a discrepancy amongst mid-tier businesses whose existing IT infrastructure is already at capacity, yet is expected to accommodate a host of new demands without compromising security or performance,” said Dr. Wieland Alge, VP and GM EMEA, Barracuda Networks. “Many businesses know this is a problem, yet they lack the knowledge or the resources required to implement an IT network solution able to cope with new business technology and trends.”
“The effects of rapidly evolving business practices on existing infrastructure are clearly highlighted in the findings of this research,” said Tony Lock, IT Industry Analyst, Freeform Dynamics. “With almost everyone we spoke to having concerns, it is clear that a large proportion of mid-level businesses have significant work to do to improve their capabilities and prepare for the future.”