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Network growth brings management challenges

As enterprise networks grow, so do the challenges of managing them effectively, says a report compiled by Oracle’s communications unit

As the size and scope of enterprise networks increases, the challenges of effectively managing enterprise networks are growing as well, with network managers worried about security, fraud and complexity resulting from proliferation of network channels, according to a new report from Oracle Communications, entitled Enterprise networks in transition: Taming the chaos.

Oracle polled almost 300 IT, telecom and network decision-makers around the world, and found many were looking to take advantage of emerging technologies such as biometrics, artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain as a means to seize back control of their networks.

“In today’s digital economy, enterprises face increasing operational complexities, heightened customer expectations and an unprecedented amount of chaos in the form of security breaches and communications overload that require a higher level of network sophistication than ever before,” said Doug Suriano, senior vice-president and general manager at Oracle Communications.

Maintaining the security of business networks was predictably named as the most pressing concern, particularly in regions where mobile usage is most popular, notably Asia and Latin America. Just over 90% of respondents ranked security as a “top three” challenge, and a third ranked it as their top challenge specifically in relation to network planning, deployment and management.

Related to security, 83% of respondents also identified network and telecoms fraud as a serious issue, with worries zooming in on identity fraud as a serious concern in relation to real-time communications.

Complexity was also found to be driven by the growing proliferation of communications channels running over enterprise networks, with 76% of respondents saying that the breadth and reach of their networks was expanding as users have more communication options available to them.

Voice and email were still the predominant communications channels, but video and other application-based communications platforms were growing increasingly popular, making it harder for network owners to deploy and manage their infrastructure, and blurring the lines around what defines the network edge.

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When it came to regaining a semblance of control over enterprise infrastructure, decision-makers were quick to identify a number of technologies that could offer a solution, with software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) described as “critical” by 71%, rising to 88% among respondents from globally distributed organisations.

Those considering SD-WAN deployments reported that convenience and ease of deployment was the most popular driver, followed by improved reliability and the potential for traffic-related flexibility.

Other respondents said they were considering biometrics for network security use cases (69%) and AI (57%). AI and machine learning techniques were thought to be key technologies to help support QoS and cost efficiencies (30% in both cases), and blockchain was cited by 27% as a top technology to improve network control.

Read more on Software-defined networking (SDN)

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