What IT Will Look Like for the Rest of 2020
Sep 02, 2020
2020 has been filled with nothing but uncertainly, unfamiliarity, and a never ending feeling that we need to stay on our toes. None of us had 2020 pegged as the year that IT teams would be challenged, strained, and then placed at the center of the operational success of their organization. It’s been a nonstop barrage of needing answers at the drop of a hat, transitioning workplace norms overnight, and giving employees the resources to be successful. But, there is one thing that seems to be for certain, the rest of 2020 will be filled with many strategic focuses.
76% of organizations saw a push for more or faster cloud adoption during 2020. Whether its new cloud platforms, moving on-premises applications to the cloud, or accelerating cloud-driven business policies. Multi-cloud has also become highly prevalent and as enterprises consider those remaining on-premises applications and equipment, we’ll see continued adoption of cloud platforms. This mass migration to the cloud has been highly accelerated and ultimately will shift priorities going into 2021 to further that adoption.
With 70% of IT expecting to see a decrease in budgets going in to 2021, orgs are pushing for new ways to incorporate automation into their business processes. Any way to remove the barrier of manual effort to speed up workloads is key to being able to handle the increased pressure and requirements the team is seeing. Much of that pressure is also being placed on managed service providers to supplement the teams effort without increasing headcount or requiring more budget resources.
Staff at Home
Not only does Gartner predict that 30% of staff that has gone to work from home will stay home, but at least for the foreseeable future, we’ll continue to see vast amounts of remote employees. This has a number of implications that many enterprises got quick awaking around earlier in the year, but will mean long-term focus on these issues to keep remote users connected. This includes focusing on end user experience, i.e. ensuring their video conferencing is performing, they can still access their applications regardless of the location, and if they’re connecting via VPN or connecting to on-premises applications that the connection is solid and not slowed.
When staff went home, nearly overnight, it was a rapid shift to identify ways to secure staff on their personal devices or home networks. VPNs were a hot topic in Q2 and Q3 as organizations did all they could to immediately address security concerns. However, that quickly gave way to issues like overloaded firewalls as traffic bottlenecked trying to communicate back to the corporate office. We’ve really seen the security perimeter change away from being centralized at the branch to needing to exist wherever the user is. Furthermore, the focus around identity and access controls will become a higher focus and will be paired with a need for visibility and analytics.
Adoption of SD-WAN and SASE
The latest developments around the edge network are focused on meshing the performance that SD-WAN has to offer with the security that enterprises are in need of to keep their dispersed network in line. This combination has led to the entire SD-WAN market and the security marketing folding in together to deliver SASE, the Secure Access Service Edge. One of the key features that SASE focuses on is delivering a solution directly to the end user either by way of an agent on their device or extending the perimeter to include those dispersed devices. SD-WAN also enables the adoption of the cloud by direct-connecting to a number of platforms therefore bypassing the need for cloud traffic to have to run through the branch and ultimately slow it down.
One thing that has proven difficult during 2020 is the ability to get cross-platform visibility. Especially when an entire team was in the office, digging into various platforms at the same time might have been easier when an event comes up. However, when everyone is working from home, it’s a slower process to identify issues, communicate across the team, and follow processes. Adopting better visibility tools or leveraging cross-platform integrations can really streamline the way information is transmitted. It can be a big help when suddenly an alert goes off and its all hands on deck.
To wrap up the theme of 2020, IT has really shifted away from the focus around the branch and re-routed efforts that focus on the user themselves. Many enterprises saw SaaS licensing skyrocket to enable their remote users, they’ve rapidly adopted new security protocols focused on end-user devices, and have invested in giving users a business-quality setup for their home offices. This will continue to be the focus as users settle into their remote offices or adopt a hybrid approach of going into the office.
Keeping IT teams sane through the rest of 2020 will be dependent on the speed at which they can adopt and change to embrace this new workplace environment that was thrust upon their organization. The more agile the organization to be willing to move on these digital transformation initiatives will see better success going into 2021. Relying on a managed network services provider, like QOS Networks, can also be instrumental in rapid adoption of new technologies, implementing automation, and seeing faster results for your new processes.