(A recent Enterprise Management Associates survey of 253 enterprises about their use of application-delivery infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic found that changes in how users access applications has forced adjustments to that infrastructure. The results are published in an EMA report \u201cApplication Delivery Infrastructure for Multi-Cloud Enterprises.\u201d This article by EMA Vice President of Research Networking Shamus McGillicuddy discusses the results of the survey.)\nNinety percent of enterprises have made changes to their application delivery infrastructure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including strengthening security and increasing capacity.\nApplication-delivery infrastructure provides Layer 4-7 services such as load balancing, application acceleration, SSL offload, and web application firewalling in data centers and public clouds. These technologies include load balancers, application delivery controllers, service mesh software, and cloud-based services such as AWS Elastic Load Balancing.\n\nWe asked enterprises what changes, if any, they have made, to this critical infrastructure in response to the pandemic. The average enterprise has made at least two adjustments to their application-delivery networking.\nRamped up security\nForty percent have added new security functionality, such as web-application firewalls or distributed denial of service (DDoS) protection. EMA believes these added security capabilities are driven by multiple factors. Anecdotally EMA has observed increases in malicious activity since the pandemic began, and some enterprises may feel the need to tighten security for their critical applications.\nAdditionally, EMA suspects that some applications that were previously only accessed internally are now being accessed by the surging population of remote workers, creating a new attack surface that must be protected.\nScaling up via the cloud\nEMA found that 39% of enterprises have increased the throughput or bandwidth capacity of their application-delivery infrastructure. Also, 38% have scaled up session capacity. These changes suggest that enterprises are experiencing a surge in application traffic and users.\nEMA also found that 35% of enterprises had added application-delivery infrastructure in new public-cloud environments, suggesting that enterprises have expanded their use of public-cloud infrastructure during the pandemic. There is clear evidence that data-center infrastructure projects have stalled during this crisis. In response, companies that need more capacity are expanding their use of public cloud resources, either temporarily or permanent.\nNetwork operations enhancements\nThirty-eight percent of enterprises have increased their use of infrastructure automation during the pandemic. IT organizations have been reinventing service delivery on-the-fly for the past few months as businesses have had to adjust to massive disruptions. With skilled personnel stretched thin, automation can help streamline operations. EMA found that companies that increased their budget for application delivery infrastructure in 2020 by 10% or more are more likely to invest in this automation.\nFinally, the least common response in the pandemic is the implementation or expansion of the native observability and analytics capabilities offered by application-delivery controllers. Only 27% have taken this step. Either companies were already using these capabilities, or they\u2019re trying to get by with their existing IT operations monitoring tools, such as network performance monitoring and application performance-solutions.\nOverall, it is quite clear that very few enterprises have been able to ignore this critical infrastructure during the pandemic. The changes brought by this crisis have forced IT organizations to manage capacity, increase security, and optimize operations. Many these changes will probably be permanent, especially since experts are predicting that the pandemic will permanently change aspects of society and the economy.