Networking News

Networks Get Younger as Organizations Embrace Mobility, IoT, & SDN: Dimension Data Report

Networks are getting younger as the number of enterprises with at least one of security vulnerability is the highest in five years

Enterprises across the globe are refreshing their network equipment earlier in its lifecycle in a move to embrace workplace mobility, Internet of Things, and software-defined networking strategies. In addition, their equipment refresh is more strategic, with architectural vision in mind. But despite the higher refresh rate, networks are getting less secure, largely due to neglected patching.

These are some of the highlights in the annual Network Barometer Report today by Dimension Data. First published in 2009, the 2016 Network Barometer Report was compiled from data gathered from 300,000 service incidents logged for client networks that Dimension Data supports. Dimension Data also carried out 320 technology lifecycle management assessments covering 97,000 network devices in organisations of all sizes and all industry sectors across 28 countries.

Brent Angus, General Manager – Networking, Dimension Data Asia Pacific said, “Since 2010, networks had been ageing. This year’s Report reverses that trend, and for the first time in five years, we’re seeing networks age more slowly. Ageing networks are not necessarily a bad thing: companies just need to understand the implications. They require a different support construct, with gradually increasing support costs. On the other hand, this also means that organisations can delay refresh costs,” says Angus, and points out that ageing networks are unlikely to support initiatives such as software-defined networking and automation, or handle traffic volumes necessary for collaboration or cloud.

According to the Report, in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Australia enterprises’ network age reduced in line with the global average, while in the Americas, the number of ageing and obsolete devices decreased much faster, from 60% in the 2015 Report to 29% in the 2016 Report. This can be attributed to the release of pent-up spend following four years of financial constraint. Angus said clients in the Americas appear to be refreshing networks with the new generation of programmable infrastructure. In Asia-Pacific and Australia, equipment refresh occurred as part of data centre network redesigns.

In contrast to the global trend, in Middle East and Africa, the network age increased, possibly the result of economic uncertainty, particularly in South Africa. Meanwhile, of the 97,000 network devices that Dimension Data discovered, the number of devices that have at least one known ¹security vulnerability increased from 60% in the 2015 Report to 76% in the 2016 Report – the highest figure in five years.

In Asia-Pacific and the Americas, networks are slightly less vulnerable – respectively 49% and 66%, compared to 61% and 73% in the previous edition. In Europe the rise in network vulnerabilities has been very steep over the last three years, hiking from 26% in 2014 to 51% in 2015 and to 82% in the 2016 Report. Network vulnerability has also risen in organisations in the Middle East and Africa over the last three years. In Australia, 87% of network devices have at least one known vulnerability.

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