CISCO report on trends in networks for 2021. Resilience Workforce and workplace.

resilient cisco network

CISCO report on trends in networks for 2021. Resilience Workforce and workplace.

CISCO report on global trends in networks for 2021. Workforce and workplace.

Business Resilience Special Edition: Check out the five trends driving agility and resilience in times of disruption. Trends:

  1. Workforce – Extending security to a remote workforce.
  2. Workplace: allow safe return to local workspaces.
  3. Workload: facilitate multicloud for greater resilience.
  4. Operations – Automation of operations for faster recovery.
  5. Operations: Leveraging AI-powered network analytics for smarter insights.

The report has been broken down into two blogs, in this first part we are going to introduce the concept of resilience until we reach the concept of Business Resilience Networks, and we will address trends # 1 and # 2.

Trend No. # 1: Workforce – Extending security to a remote workforce.

Trend No. 2: Workplace – Allow safe return to local workspaces.

Introduction: from business continuity to business resilience

Neither as individuals nor as companies were we prepared for a long-term global disruption like COVID-19. Virtually overnight, the entire workforce began working remotely, with some companies rushing to push their goods and services online and others shifting strategic supply chains to new vendors and geographies.

It is understandable that the pandemic has been a wake-up call for all nations, municipalities and organizations. But what has changed? After all, it is not the first situation that companies face; 7 out of 10 organizations experienced at least one severe crisis in the last 5 years and 95% are convinced that it will not be the last.

Human-caused disruptions such as cyberattacks, regulatory mandates, and social unrest have become an increasingly common part of our environment.

To successfully address future disruptions requires IT leaders to adopt a new mindset. A renewed, agility-based mindset to achieve business resilience, rather than the more prescriptive and reactive approach that has been the foundation of traditional business planning. Unlike current business continuity efforts, Business resilience positions organizations to prepare even for the unexpected.

Business continuity versus business resilience

We will start by defining the concepts.

Business continuity: the ability of an organization to continue the delivery of products or services at acceptable predefined levels after an interruption.
Business resilience: the ability of an organization to absorb and adapt in a changing environment to enable it to meet its objectives and survive and prosper.

Figure 1. From business continuity to business resilience

Business processes depend on an increasingly complex network of digital technologies that provide the foundation for achieving organizational resilience.

The network plays a central role in helping organizations develop their resilience, as the only platform that unites, protects and enables an increasingly dynamic and distributed set of increasingly disaggregated and dispersed users, devices, applications and workloads. .

In other words, network resilience that maintains network connectivity and uptime is no longer sufficient. Businesses need the resilience enabled by an advanced network platform that can respond quickly to any circumstance, enable new operating models and services, integrate with IT processes, and protect their employees, core activities, customers, and brand. In reality, this is the same advanced network that is needed to support digital transformation initiatives.

Network Resilience vs. Business Resilience

Network resilience: the ability to provide and maintain an acceptable level of service in the face of failures and challenges for the normal operation of a given communications network, based on prepared facilities.
Business resilience networks: Networks designed to enable organizations to respond quickly, safely, and efficiently to expected or unexpected outages.

Build agility and resilience for the workforce, workplace, workload, and operations.

CISCO chooses to highlight five trends that network leaders should consider as part of their efforts to support their organization’s resilience plans. They relate to improving the resilience of four key areas:

  • labor force,
  • Workplace,
  • workload and
  • IT operations.
Figure 2. Network foundation for workforce, workplace, workload and operational resilience

Workforce: remote, secure
CISCO Network trend n. # 1: workforce: extend security to a remote workforce

Most organizations are realizing that new and more flexible work approaches will become a permanent reality for their employees.

As a result, IT faces a new set of business requirements:

  • Empower workers to be productive and collaborative from anywhere
  • Optimizing IT performance, cost, and security for every worker
  • Extend enterprise-class IT resources to the home

We well know that meeting those requirements has its own challenges. In particular, remote worker safety , as well as end-user behavior, remain constant concerns and challenges for most IT organizations.

Top 4 IT Challenges for Empowering Remote Workers:

  • Security (65%)
  • End user behavior (52%)
  • Application performance (43%)
  • IT Operations (35%)

When personal devices and connections are used to access corporate data and applications, remote workers are particularly vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks. Many bypass the VPN and connect directly to services and applications in the public cloud, which is still the most difficult environment to defend.

Network considerations: To enable secure remote work models, IT teams should take some or all of the following approaches:

  1. Scale VPNs to protect remote workers – Enterprise VPNs continue to offer one of the fastest and most effective ways to extend enterprise-level control and protection to remote workers.
  2. Use the multi-factor authentication (MFA) to protect applications: MFA, which verifies the identity of each user before allowing them on the network or access to applications and confidential data, is essential to protect the organization.
  3. Implement a border of secure access services (SASE) To help ensure protection for multi-cloud access: Cloud-based security and SASE help defend against Internet-based threats, regardless of connection, user device, or cloud environment.
Figure 3. Secure remote workforce with VPN, MFA and SASE

Workplace: safe, reliable

Cisco Network Trend No. 2: workplace: allow safe return to local workspaces

While many questions remain, it is clear that workplaces and workspaces will evolve in the wake of the current pandemic. Countless companies are in the process of pushing existing services like video conferencing and location-based Wi-Fi. Others are implementing new services and protections, such as physical distance monitoring, proximity reporting, increased workplace automation, and even robots that support human productivity and communication.

How do networking teams prepare for a safe return to the workplace?

  • 62% are implementing more widespread video conferencing.
  • 38% are implementing knowledge on social density to guarantee safe working conditions.
  • 36% focus on remote NetOps and the help desk.
  • 32% are implementing proximity reporting to maintain social distancing.
  • 30% are establishing new safety measures in the workplace, such as thermal cameras , advanced air filtration and non-contact elevator controls.

Source: “Cisco Business Resilience Networks 2020 Survey”

Network Considerations: A modern, agile network is a critical driver that facilitates the safe and seamless reintroduction of workers to facilities.

Automate identity-based secure access – Organizations need the ability to consistently manage, protect, and segment user and device onboarding and access to services, whether they are connecting from local, home, or public networks.

Improve employee and customer safety through location-based analytics – Enable monitoring, alerts, and workplace information to help protect the health and safety of employees, partners, guests, and customers by take advantage of existing Wi-Fi networks.

Conclusion: improve business resilience with an advanced network platform

In conclusion, comment that disruptive events will continue to challenge us and our networks throughout our careers. It’s time to rethink how your network strategy enables your business resilience strategy and prioritize the new network capabilities most needed to stay ahead of the next big thing.

The automation and AI-enabled information offered by intent-based networks provide a robust platform to help you adapt to any circumstance. On the one hand, they offer the agility, security, and on the other, intelligence and speed necessary to support resilience to:

Workforce – Provide workers with a secure business-like environment and access to their applications while working from home, the office, and anywhere in between.
Workplace – Allowing employees to safely return to the office with Wi-Fi enabled monitoring, alerts and information

https://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/solutions/enterprise-networks/2021-networking-report.pdf

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