Network devices

Rising number of obsolete network devices poses a cybersecurity risk

As part of digital transformation strategies, leading organizations are already using networks to enable new business models such as the Internet of Things (IoT) or optimize existing operating models such as asset tracking.

Alternatively, companies can invest in technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA), as part of their digital transformation initiatives to reduce costs and scale services in an agile manner. Whatever the reason; digital transformation helps improve the customer and employee experience, powered by the network.

These initiatives will only be accelerated with the support of relevant and secure infrastructures in the “new normal”, in particular with regard to technological, operational and financial initiatives of companies. The COVID-19 outbreak and the consequent increase in bandwidth consumption are straining the network, exacerbating existing challenges, and ultimately creating a perfect storm. With an increase in remote work, remote access, and consumption of voice and video services, organizations’ network and security infrastructure is under incredible strain.

“The network is the platform for the digital transformation of businesses. It must be ubiquitous, flexible, robust and secure to easily adapt to business changes, while increasing the maturity of the operational support environment, ”said Ron Lopez, executive vice president of NTT Ltd. “Companies that use a high-level network automation and intelligence to optimize operations will gain a significant competitive advantage and enjoy the benefits of the cloud economy safely. “

Cloud exceeds on-premises infrastructure spending

NTT this week released a new report titled “2020 Global Network Insights Report” which found that as businesses move their applications to multi-cloud environments, cloud investments exceed organizations’ on-premises infrastructure spending.

This has slowed refresh and upgrade patterns, with many companies choosing to continue leveraging network assets and slowing down investments in re-architecting their on-premises network and security infrastructure. As a result, there has been an increase in obsolete and unpatched network devices containing software vulnerabilities, introducing risks and exposing the organization to information security threats.

Commenting on the report’s key findings, Lopez noted that with businesses facing the new normal, many businesses will, if not be forced, to revisit their network architecture and security strategies, operating models and support to better manage operational risk.

“We expect the strategy to shift from focusing on business continuity to preparing for the future as the lockdown begins to ease. Network infrastructure must be appropriately designed and managed to cope with unanticipated power surges, which will require a review of cloud and on-premises infrastructure to reduce the impact and frequency of critical business failures.

Aging and obsolete devices – a safety risk in the future workplace

The report, which is based on data from technology assessments conducted on more than 1,000 NTT customers covering more than 800,000 network devices, found that 47.9% of organizations’ network assets were aging or obsolete, on a weighted average basis, which is a huge increase from 2017, when that figure was only 13.1%.

Obsolete devices have, on average, twice as many vulnerabilities per device (42.2) compared to aging (26.8) and current (19.4) devices, creating unnecessary risk. This risk is further exacerbated when companies do not patch a device or revisit the version of the operating system during its lifetime. And while updating is relatively straightforward and often free as part of a maintenance contract or extended warranty, many companies still don’t patch their devices.

According to NTT, companies facing the new normal must reinvent the way they work – it will be essential to build resilience into the organization’s operations. The pandemic will bring permanent changes to how businesses operate, including the implementation of smart workspaces that consider social distancing within their physical offices, while many businesses will continue to embrace remote working. . Meanwhile, with the growing adoption of new wireless infrastructure – a 13% year-over-year increase – and the increase in open offices and co-working spaces, a new approach to the entire network architecture will be. necessary.

“Companies will need the tools, knowledge and expertise to be able to re-architect the network for the short, medium and long term evolution of the ‘new normal’ with people working remotely and from anywhere. which device at all times, ”Lopez said. . “They will need to find strategic partners who can guide them towards what the future network looks like – not only in terms of supporting the corporate space, but also public and commercial areas where social distancing is generally difficult. to reach. For example, as we move into the ‘new normal’, AI and machine learning can be applied to help monitor social distancing measures – the network will be the catalyst for the platform. “

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