Analysis

Business applications under stress, finds Freeform Dynamics survey

Brian McKenna

Business applications are coming under increased performance pressure as organisations evolve remote working practices in step with the demands of a modern economy.

A survey of more than 400 small, medium-sized and large enterprises has indicated that business growth and increased use of information is making managing application performance, availability and security a significant problem, due to “disjointed, complex and hard-to-manage” environments.

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The survey, conducted by Freeform Dynamics on behalf of Barracuda Networks, set out to identify issues affecting the performance of critical business applications.

Tony Lock, programme director at Freeform Dynamics, said the network perimeter today is very ill defined. Remote workers, mobile devices, partners, customers and suppliers all are trying to access company resources that have traditionally resided behind a corporate network firewall. 

“If you have too many holes in a wall, it gets really hard to keep the bad guys out and the critical data in," he said.

“The survey indicates that people know things have to change. You have to build security around the data and the applications rather than around the network.” More effective use of analytics can help with that, he said.

“Mobility and user expectations have changed. That’s usually considered from the device management side, but it is also tied in to the data and the applications. You cannot protect all data equally, so why try?

“For the first time [in Freeform Dynamics surveys] ever [security] threats from outside the business are reckoned to be greater than the insider threat.”

The survey found poor application performance is causing a problem, or at least a distraction for almost two-thirds (65%) of those surveyed. Application outages are badly affecting businesses, causing disruption for 64% of those surveyed.

In addition to performance and availability issues, those surveyed also indicated that changes in work patterns and user expectations are having an impact on information and application security. Almost two-thirds (63%) stated that changes in how data is used and moved pose a significant problem when it comes to the security of accessing applications.

The survey base was 404 IT professionals in the UK, Europe, the US and the rest of the world, from a cross-section of organisation sizes and industries.

The survey found that 11% of the respondents had shifted mindset from network to application and data security. One-quarter were moving that way, the survey found.

Application outages are badly affecting businesses, causing disruption for 64% of those surveyed

Freeform Dynamics

In the report, Lock said: “The trouble is that both requirements and technology evolve continuously, and we often forget (or don’t have the time) to revisit older systems and infrastructure to make sure they are still current from a technology perspective and are still meeting business needs effectively. The result is that systems gradually fall behind in terms of fitness for purpose and operational efficiency.

“Most investment intentions currently revolve around tactical requirements, such as the replacement of obsolete equipment or implementation of new applications. When making architectural and technology decisions a conscious effort must be made to think of the bigger picture, and move progressively and proactively towards a more coherent access infrastructure capable of dealing with future needs.

“People haven’t had the time to look at the problem as a whole.”

Wieland Alge, vice-president and general manager EMEA at Barracuda, said: “Everything is increasing – the traffic, the data, the access points, and the number of users and devices. The survey results underpin how important it is for companies to consider all of these points in order to scale their network infrastructure.”


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