‘Complexity’ will halt network upgrades in 2017

Enterprises are foregoing network upgrades because of the cost and complexity of those upgrades, putting security at risk, a Cato Networks study finds

‘Complexity’ will halt network upgrades in 2017
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Tricky network upgrades are causing many enterprises to throw up their hands and simply not do any upgrading at all, according to Cato Networks.

Nearly half of the organizations the company recently surveyed (40 percent) say they have “no plans to upgrade their network” at all in 2017. If that’s true, security will likely suffer.

The Israel-based firm, which offers security solutions that function in the cloud rather than locally, says although enterprises know there are security threats out there, such as a rise in ransomware, many are simply not going to do anything about it next year—at all.

Why enterprises aren't upgrading their networks

The reason is that it’s just too overwhelmingly thorny to upgrade networks—and that costs money to address.

It’s “likely due to a lack of return on investment on existing approaches claiming to solve for the cost and complexity conundrum,” the company says a bit confusingly in its report.

They aren't upgrading because of the excessive cost related to the complexity of hybrid security and network connectivity. It’s a case of freezing like a deer in the headlights because the work is overwhelming. 

“Complexity [is] stifling progress,” the study says. That results in “paralysis or sub-optimal investments.”

The company says its products can help—as one might expect it to say. Cloud-based firewall as a service (FWaaS) is an example of a solution it sells.

Also part of the problem is that enterprises are implementing too many solutions. “A majority of organizations are quoting between two and five [security] solutions.” A quarter “report having over five.” Bigger organizations—those with more than 1,000 employees—have even more.

The study asked 700 IT people globally about their plans for next year. And it looks good for cloud. Half aim to “eliminate” hardware in 2017, and many say the cloud can be good for infrastructure protection. Forty-one percent say FWaaS, like the kinds of solutions Cato offers, is “the most promising.”

Incremental fixes add to the complexity

To address network issues, many of those not upgrading are applying incremental fixes. Cato says that route only leads to more complexity and entanglements, even though the incremental route is seen as a way to deal with “fragments of the cost and complexity challenge.”

In other words, that won’t work, says Cato. It’ll just be expensive in the long run.

Those “incremental” solutions include “direct internet access for branch offices,” reducing branch “appliance footprints,” migrating from Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) to internet last-mile connectivity, and using SD-WAN to augment MPLS.

An IT skills shortage exacerbates the problem.

“The pace of transformation is low,” Cato says. “Too much time is spent managing the ‘as-is state.’” Its solution: “converged cloud-based network and security [that] will cut costs.”

“Current networking and security architectures are crippling business’ ability to defend” themselves, the vendor’s report concludes.

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