2020 State of the Network Study

In the age of disruption, comprehensive network visibility is key.

Over 400 IT professionals weigh in on the workloads, challenges, data sources, and team collaboration required to drive service delivery in this age of disruption.

We examined the impact of widespread remote working transition on IT operations, as well as emerging technologies, application and network issues, and cross-silo collaboration.

The study shows that IT teams critically require better visibility into the network driven by a number of factors, including tremendous disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic, relentless technological advances, remote working reaching an all-time high and the expanding security threatscape. Indeed, 73 percent of respondents said security professionals need comprehensive visibility into network infrastructure to enhance cybersecurity efforts and speed remediation.

During the global pandemic, infosec professionals are reporting a rise in cyberthreats. And as enterprises increase connectivity, networks are even more exposed to vulnerabilities. More than half of respondents (54 percent) have already deployed IoT devices. While another 24 percent of respondents plan to do so in the next 12 months, only 57 percent of them have a mechanism in place to monitor those devices.

In an age of dynamic disruption, IT is increasingly challenged to maintain optimal service delivery, while implementing remote working at an unprecedented scale. It’s not surprising, then, that nearly 60 percent of study respondents cite the need for greater visibility into remote user experiences. For the first time in 13 years of the State of the Network study, the top challenge for troubleshooting applications is the ability to understand end-user experience (nearly 47 percent).

Results were compiled from more than 400 respondents, including network engineers, IT directors, security engineers and CIOs from around the world. In addition to geographic diversity, the study population was evenly distributed among networks and business verticals of different sizes. Study questions were designed based on a survey of network professionals.

Study Highlights:

Understanding End User Experience is a top challenge: For the first time in the 13-year history of the survey, “understanding end-user experience” is the top challenge for troubleshooting applications followed by the previous 12-year leader “problem domain isolation”.

The remote working transition exposed lack of visibility: The surge in remote users is challenging network and security teams—almost 58 percent are seeking more visibility—to manage bandwidth load, monitor application performance, and avoid VPN oversubscription.

NetOps and SecOps roles converge: NetOps teams are feeling the pressure with this year’s respondents stating more than 1/3 of their time is now consumed by  security issues, a dramatic jump from 2019.