Is Your Network Prepared for the New Year? 5 Key Questions to Ask.

By Timothy Sherbak | January 15, 2020

blank wall small-1Among all the tasks vying for an IT managers’ time, reviewing current network infrastructure, evaluating networking spend and anticipating future needs are often neglected. Nonetheless, it is a good practice to periodically perform an internal audit to ensure your network is up to the task and will not be your next big crisis.

Consider all the moving parts within your application infrastructure,- a continuing focus on data analytics, digitization of information, workflow automation, plus software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions and hybrid and multi-cloud platforms, over and above your in-house projects. That’s adding up to a whole lot of data and a lot of it moving around, making your network the central piece of the IT puzzle.

Are you and your data growth part of these trends?

Secure Data Growth - Per IDC in a report sponsored by Seagate, worldwide data creation will grow to an enormous 163 zettabytes (ZB) by 2025 - 10 times the amount produced in 2017! The study goes on to say that by 2025, almost 90 percent of all data created requires some level of security, but less than half will be secured.

Business Network Traffic - According to Cisco, business network traffic (internal and external) is growing at a rate of 23% per year through 2022.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to understand if you are prepared for your future growth.

1 Are your services rightsized to your business?

As your business evolves, your networking needs must evolve as well. Often, long term contracts are overlooked as an opportunity for potential cost savings. In many cases, older, high-priced contracts are allowed to continue after expiration, just because of a basic lack of attention or minimal time to address. Plus, new products and competitive pressures establish new capabilities and price models in the market that supersede your current capabilities. Changes in your environment over time can leave you either way over-provisioned in networking bandwidth, at the cusp of exhausting your bandwidth or even experiencing a bandwidth bottleneck that is stealthily impacting productivity.

2 Do you have command of the options available and which are best for you?

With so many carriers and products in the marketplace, it is hard for organizations to keep up with all the viable options available. What products are available from what carriers? What services are provided to my locations? From whom can I get fully redundant, diverse paths between my critical sites optimized for both bandwidth and latency? Who are the most reliable vendors and are those the same that are responsive and easy to work with?

3 Are you spending too much time managing your carriers and services?

It’s one thing to be spending too much money on telecom services. Worse yet, is to be spending too much time managing your vendors and services. Your team’s efficiency is drained resolving billing issues, tracking down open support tickets, and working with your vendors to make sure that their contracted service levels are being met.

4 Are you prepared to meet your future needs?

The Internet of Things and data analytics initiatives, software-as-a-service solutions, a mobile workforce, cloud workloads, plus increasing data security and compliance concerns, all figure in on the fact that your distributed network is a critical part of your IT infrastructure. Without it, IT falls to pieces. Meeting the demands of these often conflicting needs warrants a hard look at how your current environment needs to evolve. Your team may have excelled at delivering a highly available network, but at the expense of network security as well as emerging needs, incurring technical debt, vendor lock-in, and a culture of risk avoidance along the way.

5 Does it make sense to get external help and advice?

With the myriad of vendors and product options, plus the many other priorities competing for your time, seeking counsel with outside advisers that you trust can be a valuable exercise. Auditing your current capabilities and networking spend is a good place to start, followed by some consideration on how your future projects are going to impact the security, performance, and availability needs of your network.

Markley Network Services provides telecom expertise, design services, and a comprehensive suite of offerings from our extensive carrier ecosystem. We reduce the cost and complexity of meeting your telecom needs as your single service supplier. With transparent pricing, consolidated billing, and 7x24 support, our network services complement our position as the region’s largest mission-critical data center, main carrier hotel, and an innovative provider of hybrid cloud solutions.