Achieving network resilience by design
In today’s interconnected world, network downtime can be disastrous for any organization, from retailers to hospital systems. Yet, many organizations are still operating with outdated systems that can slow down productivity, increase security risks, and limit growth. It’s time for network modernization.
Modernizing your network is not just about upgrading outdated technology. It’s also about improving network resiliency.
With cyber threats on the rise and natural disasters becoming more frequent, a resilient network can mean the difference between business continuity and downtime. By implementing new security measures and redundancies, you can prepare your network to withstand unexpected disruptions and keep your business running smoothly. Don’t wait until a crisis strikes. Invest now in network modernization to increase resiliency and protect your bottom line.
What is network resilience?
Network resilience is the ability of a network to withstand and recover from unexpected events or disruptions (these include cyberattacks, hardware failures, or natural disasters) while maintaining reliable and secure connectivity to its users.
What makes a network resilient?
A resilient network is designed to be flexible, scalable, secure, and reliable. Further, it has redundant components, robust security measures, and effective monitoring and analytics capabilities. It can quickly adapt to changing demands, recover quickly from unexpected events, and protect against potential threats. By maintaining a resilient network, organizations can minimize downtime, maintain business continuity, and ensure that their critical operations and services are available to users.
Implementing a resilient network requires a proactive, comprehensive approach that involves ongoing investment in technology, training, and planning.
Steps to ensuring network resilience
We like to look at building network resilience in the context of six “abilities.”
Data breaches in any industry can be costly. A report from IBM shows that the global average cost increased 2.6% from $4.24 million in 2021 to $4.35 million in 2022—the highest it’s been in the history of IBM Security’s “The Cost of a Data Breach Report.”1 This underscores the importance of having reliable communication systems in place to prevent data breaches and protect the company’s assets.
In healthcare, for example, reliable communication helps ensure that critical information is delivered accurately and promptly. This arms clinical and operational decision makers with the right information. It promotes collaboration, enhances productivity, and strengthens relationships between administrators, caregivers, and patients.
The global market size for unified communication and collaboration (UCC) solutions is expected to grow from $76.7 billion in 2022 to $141.6 billion in 2027, according to a report from MarketsandMarkets.2
The global market for video conferencing is expected to reach $18.56 billion by 2030, according to Precedence Research. That’s a compound annual growth rate of 11.71%.3
This growth is being driven by the increasing demand for flexible communication solutions. For the manufacturing industry, flexibility refers to the ability to support a wide range of communication channels, technologies, and devices on the factory floor and in the field. This includes everything from back-office communications to voice and video conferencing for remote training and repairs. It also includes Internet of Things-based asset management.
Scalability refers to the ability to expand or contract communication capacity quickly and easily in response to changing organizational needs.
The global cloud computing platform market size is expected to grow from $545.8 billion in 2022 to $1,240.9 billion by 2027, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.9% during the forecast period, according to a new report by MarketsandMarkets4. This growth is being driven by the increasing demand for scalable, cloud-based communication solutions that can support the needs of businesses of all sizes.
For retailers, scalable communication systems enable businesses to add or remove users, services, and features as needed without disrupting existing operations or incurring significant costs.
Controllability refers to the ability to monitor, manage, and regulate communication activities. This includes the ability to restrict or block certain communication channels or devices.
Clearly, network security is top-of-mind. A survey of IT professionals by Cisco, for instance, found that 90% of IT professionals are concerned about security of communication systems, with 87% indicating that security is a top priority for their organization.5 This underscores the importance of control in communication systems to help companies prevent security breaches and protect their assets.
A full 89% of organizations experienced one or more successful email breaches during the previous 12 months, according to a report from Osterman Research.6 This highlights the importance of controlling communication systems to prevent security breaches.
In the financial services industry, for instance, this involves controlling the use of their communication systems to prevent security breaches, enforce policies, and ensure that employees are using communication systems in a responsible and productive manner.
By investing in controllable communication solutions that can restrict or block certain communication channels or devices, companies can prevent security breaches, enforce policies, and maintain the trust of their customers and partners.
Visibility is critical in designing a future-forward communications network for transportation and logistics companies. Visibility refers to the ability to monitor, track, and analyze communication, including the ability to communicate with drivers, monitor and track their loads and activities. Much of this is enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT).
An IoT network and the devices that connect to it are dependent upon network reliability, 5G enablement, and cloud connectivity. With these technologies combined, organizations are able to gain insight into how communication systems are being used, identify security risks, and improve operational efficiency from the operations center to the road and customers.
By investing in communication solutions that provide visibility into communication activities, organizations can gain insight into how their communication systems are being used, identify and address security risks, and improve the overall performance of the company.
In a healthcare environment where communication among caregivers and with patients is key to collaboration and decision-making, accountability ensures that communication is accurate, timely, and secure. This means that employees, patients, and partners can trust that the information being shared is reliable, and that the organization is committed to transparency and ethical conduct.
In the context of communication systems, accountability refers to the ability to track and audit communication activities, including who sent or received messages, when they were sent, and what information was shared. This enables organizations to identify and address issues such as data breaches, compliance violations, and other risks that can compromise the security and integrity of their communication systems.
By investing in communication systems that can track and audit communication activities, healthcare organizations can improve their security, compliance, and overall business performance.
Technology is changing rapidly and with that comes higher demands on your network while pushing bandwidth requirements to its limits.
Network resilience vs. network redundancy
Network resilience and network redundancy are related concepts that are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing.
Network redundancy refers to the use of backup components, such as power supplies, routers, or data centers, to minimize the impact of a single point of failure. Many companies have considered a certain level of redundancy through secondary backups such as AT&T Wireless Broadband. This adds another layer of redundancy to AT&T Dedicated Internet, which has its own wireless backup feature, and AT&T Business Fiber, which already provides 12-to-24 hours of battery backup. This redundancy is an important aspect of protecting your business from downtime.
Resiliency, on the other hand, refers to the ability of a network to recover quickly from unexpected events or disruptions while maintaining reliable and secure connectivity. It’s a broader concept that encompasses redundancy, but it also includes other factors such as scalability, security, monitoring, and disaster recovery planning.
A network can be redundant without being resilient, but a resilient network must have redundancy as well as other key characteristics.
Obstacles to implementing a resilient network
Implementing a resilient network can be challenging due to a variety of obstacles, including technical complexity, resource constraints, and dependency on legacy infrastructures.
Without the right solutions, providers, and technical consultants to help, establishing a redundant and resilient network can seem overwhelming. Providers need to understand your business, help you evaluate where your network is vulnerable, and then make a plan for redundancy, scalability, security, monitoring, and disaster recovery. Resource constraints, such as budgetary limitations, can also be a barrier to moving forward, which can put your business operations at risk.
Companies also struggle with having the right expertise on site to assess, evolve, and maintain their network efficiently. As a result, they rely on trying to get the most out of their existing architecture, which becomes more difficult over time. And although many operations rely on cloud connectivity, there may be reservations about this shift despite how it enables a business to move from capital expense-based to operational expense-based operations.
Additionally, trying to get the most out of legacy systems can be an obstacle, as some organizations may prioritize what seems like cost savings over long-term resiliency. But as legacy networks and communications systems age, they become more expensive to maintain and repair. What seems like short-term cost savings comes at a mounting long-term cost.
In addition, legacy networks cannot deliver the bandwidth requirements for new and emerging technologies that are becoming necessary. Healthcare, for example, relies on imaging systems for patient care and manufacturers are increasingly using augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) and robotics for better accuracy, efficiency, and to address worker shortages.
Overcoming these obstacles requires a commitment to resiliency from top management, a willingness to invest in technology and personnel, and a focus on long-term planning and management of network infrastructure.
Design for network resilience now
Implementing a resilient network requires a comprehensive approach that includes several key steps. Here are some things you can do now to get started:
- Conduct a network assessment. Begin by conducting a comprehensive assessment of your network infrastructure to identify potential vulnerabilities, points of failure, and areas for improvement.
- Develop a resiliency plan. Based on the assessment, develop a resiliency plan that outlines the specific steps needed to improve network resilience, including redundancy, scalability, security, monitoring, and disaster recovery measures.
- Invest in the right technology. Consider investing in technology solutions that can help you achieve your resiliency goals, such as network modernization, cloud services, and cybersecurity services.
- Train your staff. Ensure that your IT staff has the necessary skills and expertise to manage and maintain a resilient network, including expertise in areas like cybersecurity, cloud computing, and data backup and recovery. It is important to continuously monitor and improve your network infrastructure to ensure that it remains resilient in the face of changing threats and demands.
Overall, implementing a resilient network requires a proactive, comprehensive approach that involves ongoing investment in technology, training, and planning. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your network is prepared to withstand unexpected events and disruptions, while maintaining reliable and secure connectivity for your users.
AT&T Business has a team of expert consultants that can help simplify your road to network modernization, redundancy, and resiliency… no matter which industry you’re in. Learn more about our consulting and professional services or contact your AT&T Business representative.
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