AIOps adoption accelerates to improve network experiences

Research reveals heightened level of confidence and trust as companies invest in artificial intelligence to make their IT operations – networks in particular – smarter, faster and more secure

Research from software-defined network and cloud platform Masergy has revealed that businesses are embracing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to improve network performance and security.

In the State of AIOps study, conducted in August 2021, ZK Research surveyed more than 500 IT decision-makers in US-headquartered businesses across seven industries.

The top-line finding was that there were clear and demonstrable strong adoption rates, and a heightened level of confidence and trust, for AI for IT operations (AIOps) technology, and network and security automation were found to go hand-in-glove. More than half (55%) of the companies surveyed were already using AIOps across both network and security, and 94% believed it was important or very important for AIOps to manage network and cloud application performance.

Masergy noted that with more employees using third-party cloud applications from numerous locations and devices, IT leaders, tasked with securing corporate information everywhere, cannot afford to trade working from home flexibility and performance for security, and according to the research, they are using AIOps to help manage those trade-offs.

The study found that the reasons companies use AIOps are tightly intertwined with network operational efficiencies, faster security threat identification and faster security threat response.

More than two-thirds (73%) of survey participants identified software-defined network modernisation and virtualisation as the top IT investment required to prepare for AIOps. Masergy said today’s businesses see SD-WAN’s virtualisation and orchestration benefits valuable in managing distributed networks and security policies. In fact, most businesses are putting more assets into the cloud, with 67% citing cloud migration as another top investment making them AI-ready.

“While digital transformation was already in motion prior to the pandemic, work-from-home business models demand a whole new level of application performance and security measures to power and protect multicloud and hybrid work environments with no physical boundaries,” said Terry Traina, CTO of Masergy. “The study reinforces that we are at a pivotal moment where automation and AIOps are no longer a nice-to-have but rather a strategic imperative for successful, secure business operations.”

Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst at ZK Research, said: “The vast majority of IT leaders have already embraced AIOps, and they are pointing to benefits such as productivity, cloud application performance, and security improvements. Clearly, the business value of AIOps is justified. The era of AIOps is here, and anyone without a strategy will quickly be left behind.”

As many as 84% of survey respondents regarded AIOps as the path to a fully automated network environment, with 86% expecting to have a fully automated network within five years. Asked about the confidence they have in trusting AIOps tools to act on their own recommendations and create fully automated systems, 97% said they are confident they can be trusted. Also, 77% agreed that AIOps performs better with a secure access service edge (SASE) architecture, where SD-WAN and security are all in one platform.

Traina added: “The new wave of opportunity comes when SASE and AIOps unite in a single solution. IT executives need overarching insights where AI is deeply embedded into a unified platform, and this is precisely how Masergy is helping our customers transform with certainty.”

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