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2023 Predictions: Intelligent, Cloud-Defined and Security-First Connectivity

Mark-Daley

“We can anticipate to see a rise in networking solutions with a flexible network infrastructure and reliable underlay.”

Mark Daley, Director of Digital Strategy & Business Development, Epsilon Telecommunications

The networking and connectivity market is constantly adapting and growing with new insights and technology developments in the face of evolving enterprise IT demands.

2023 will be no different. We can expect more enterprises to push forward with an intelligent, cloud-defined and security-first approach as they continue to shape their business operations with up-and-coming technologies.

For service providers providing connectivity solutions, whether directly or indirectly to enterprise customers, staying up to speed with technology trends is vital. Customer demands can change at the drop of a hat, and service providers need to be adaptable in their approach to stay competitive and meet their customers’ needs.

With hybrid working here to stay, we can expect the coming year to have a strong focus on enhancing global networking solutions to achieve lower latencies, stronger cloud capabilities, heightened security, and automated decision-making through Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Here are some key trends set to drive the networking and connectivity market in 2023:

Overlay and Underlay Integration

A stronger focus on the integration between overlay and underlay transport networks for technologies such as software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN) is to be expected.

Enterprises will increasingly be looking at tailoring their architecture based on their mission-critical applications, cloud strategy, business needs and objectives. We can anticipate to see a rise in networking solutions with a flexible network infrastructure and reliable underlay, supporting a growing mix of private and public cloud services across different locations.

SD-WAN can either co-exist with legacy Multi-protocol Label Switching (MPLS) networks or enable MPLS to be completely replaced with Ethernet or cost-effective Broadband Internet, which provides comparable Quality of Service (QoS) at reduced cost and complexity. 

For enterprises with a multi-cloud and multi-site network, overlaying SD-WAN on low-cost internet-based services may not work for every application, user and location. However, for other enterprises, Ethernet and Direct Internet Access (DIA) underlay options can easily support different levels of application and user experience performance requirements, while maintaining cost efficiencies.

AI on the Rise

The coming year will also present more opportunities for the integration of AI functionality into networks and solutions. This will play a vital role in creating truly smart networks with autonomous controllers and programmable logic blocks for intelligent and automated decision-making.

Investments into AI and Machine Learning will continue to grow, and a growing number of organisations will be using and building on that intelligence to improve the performance of their businesses. This intelligent software can strategically guide the network to behave and support the business in achieving its goals.

Expanding Cloud Footprints

Cloud service providers will continue to expand their geographic footprints. This will include more hard-to-reach, yet digitally emerging, destinations such as Indonesia, the Philippines, and South Africa. Some cloud service providers have already begun to enter such destinations, and it will only be a matter of time before other providers follow suit. 

More on-premises cloud technologies will also be explored in local cloud deployments, either on owned premises or in remote third-party data centres. This form of cloud edge computing will extend cloud data closer to where it is being consumed, for better user experiences globally. 

Cloud-Defined Networking

Cloud-defined networking solutions and virtualised networking functions are expected to grow to support the adoption of multi-cloud. With this growth, IT experts will be re-engineering their networks and applications to enhance cloud capabilities.

As cloud networking takes prominence, we are likely to see more mergers and acquisitions in this space, with newer cloud networking providers being funded or acquired.

Security-First Connectivity

2023 will see a much stronger focus on security, and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) components will become more complex. Using cloud-native security features including secure web gateways, firewalls, and zero-trust network access, SASE combines network security functions and SD-WAN capabilities in a comprehensive network fabric. With more SASE options offered by all kinds of providers, more enterprises will focus on understanding this approach and how to implement it in their organisation.

Two-Factor Authentication is another security function which is likely to grow in use not only by consumers, but also businesses. With security breaches on the rise year-on-year, adding additional security layers onto business applications, platforms and portals has never been more important. 

Network Adaptation for Hybrid Workforces

Companies will increasingly be re-engineering their network architectures as hybrid working becomes a permanent fixture in many companies. They will need to account for less bandwidth use in the office and grow their unified communications strategies to ensure seamless and secure teamwork across remote locations.

The need for a more application-oriented architecture continues to emerge as the cloud becomes the centre of the network universe, with the offices, devices, and users revolving around it.

Transformational Connectivity

Today, intelligent networking solutions allow geographically dispersed enterprises to realise the transformation promise of cloud computing, while lowering capital and operational costs and providing high performance without sacrificing security. 

The year ahead will provide the transformational connectivity needed to take businesses to new heights in today’s hybrid working environment, with a greater focus on underlay and overlay network integration, plus advanced automation, AI, cloud capabilities and security.

Enterprises should utilise cutting edge technologies to push their business to the next level and improve performance and efficiency. There is much to gain for service providers to boost their portfolios through enhanced and new solutions to meet customers’ changing demands.

Author:

Mark Daley, Director of Digital Strategy & Business Development at Epsilon Telecommunications

Mark Daley plays a leading role in identifying and developing Epsilon’s cutting-edge cloud and communication strategies, with a focus on market and customer needs.

A veteran telecommunications professional, Mark served 14 years with Telstra and other high profile telecommunication companies such as NTT and eircom. Mark held leading Products and Marketing roles in Telstra’s move into the European market in the mid-1990s and wrote NTT’s European ICT strategy in the mid-2000s which they continue to deliver today.  

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