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Resilience in the Face of Change

resilience

resilience

Solutions Review’s Expert Insights Series is a collection of contributed articles written by industry experts in enterprise software categories. Payal Kindiger of Riverbed examines how resilience starts with a solid foundation that includes network monitoring in the bedrock.

Expert Insights badgeThe onset of the pandemic introduced major complications for IT leaders. What had been modest nudges toward IT transformation became business imperatives. Mostly on-premises work gave way to remote work, which gave way to hybrid work. Everything that was slowly going to the cloud now rushed there as if shot out of a clown car. Meticulously built stable supply chains became brittle, fractured, and broken. Additionally, the rise of ransomware attacks is more costly than ever. The rapid building and rebuilding of the IT landscape poked fissures in network reliability that became big cracks in network performance and gaps in cybersecurity. It is little wonder that even the most stoic of IT leaders had moments when they thought about pulling their hair out, especially the grey ones.

An Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) survey on 2023 Technology Spending Intentions found that over 28 percent of NetOps professionals surveyed listed improving operational resilience against cyber-attacks as one of their top spending drivers for 2023. Greater operational resilience was secondary only to spending drivers like improving customer experience (32 percent), data analytics (30 percent), and automation (29 percent).

Creating increased operational resilience improves the customer experience. And one of the bedrocks for increased operational resilience, network performance management, relies on improved data analytics, security response, and automation.

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Resilience in the Face of Change


Identifying the Problem to Solve the Problem

In a recent report by Gartner, they stated that the cost of recovery and the resulting downtime in the aftermath of a ransomware attack, as well as the reputational damage, can be 10 to 15 times more than the ransom.

You can’t fix what you can’t see, and shining a light into blind spots and closing cybersecurity doors requires using observability tools to take a proactive approach to monitoring, optimizing, troubleshooting, and reporting on the health and availability of a company’s hybrid network. Companies should be planning how to build a stronger, more resilient network that can prevent attacks and deliver a consistent digital experience if an attack occurs. In other words, resilience planning should aim to thrive, not just survive. NetOps teams should look to increase visibility into their applications, servers, and cloud-native environments. This has become more difficult than ever, but some preparation can go a long way in surviving ransomware attacks.

Customers and employees aren’t concerned about the challenges IT has keeping the business running. But IT teams are concerned about business resilience operations because unhappy customers and employees affect profitability and an enterprise’s reputation.

Here are four basic steps for improving business resilience:

  1. Develop a comprehensive network performance management plan and strategy: Not having a plan is planning to fail. The current networking environment was spun up quickly in the last few years to meet evolving needs, and now it’s time to create a plan to make sure that business resilience gets built into the current network infrastructure as well as future modifications. A concrete plan would include clear objectives, metrics, and processes for monitoring and optimizing network performance, compliance, and security.
  2. Make sure you have the right tools in place: Effectively managing your network means thinking about the tools that you use. It means selecting observability solutions with a focus on the specific requirements of your network and choosing network performance management tools that focus on packet capture, flow monitoring, and device metrics. As you evaluate observability solutions, be sure to evaluate whether they deliver high-fidelity, full-stack telemetry. Remember, monitoring tools that rely on events do not provide the full picture for accurate decision-making and automation.
  3. Look to automation: The great promise of automation is relieving humans of performing repetitive and mundane tasks. Of course, as you automate, you have to ensure that human intelligence is in the loop as a supervisor, ensuring everything is operating properly. Robust Observability platforms that offer intelligent automation don’t require enterprises to “rip and replace” their monitoring tools. Instead, they extract insights across operational tools and silos to drive cross-domain troubleshooting and remediation. And because these automations mimic logical, expert decision-making, IT can shift further left, freeing up their time for higher value work.
  4. Build a culture of security: While tools are necessary to stave off cybersecurity threats, effective risk management involves everyone within the organization. The human link is still the most fragile part of a company’s cybersecurity framework. Smart organizations build a culture of education and trust, which enables employees to report suspicious behavior and immediately raise red flags. Additionally, the right observability solutions can provide rich data to supplement security intelligence for traditional security tools. Observability tools that offer security incident response can collect relevant and contextual diagnostics data from monitoring tools and send it back to the SIEM and SOAR solution that requested it for faster, more collaborative threat mitigation.

Take a Step Back, Monitor, and Adapt

Like children and snowflakes, every network is different. And like a river, networks are vastly different today than they were three years ago, as they’ve been cobbled together in response to natural events and global forces. The rapid hybridization caused blind spots in network visibility, disrupted compliance efforts, and opened the cybersecurity door to bad actors.

Before the rush to the cloud, NetOps teams struggled with visibility into applications, servers, and devices. The move to the cloud has not only magnified the lack of visibility, but it’s also added to the number of things being monitored. This lack of visibility and actionable insights into network operations has put a strain on many companies and their IT teams. To manage the pace of change and improve business resilience, many organizations are turning to observability tools that help give them timely insights into problems within the network. Additionally, those companies realize that their networks aren’t static. They’re constantly using those tools to monitor potential breaking points and help their organizations grow.

Using observability tools properly and according to a plan not only helps improve business reliability but improves the customers’ and employees’ digital experience, driving profitability for the organization. The pandemic may have been declared over, but now IT needs to use observability to patch up the broken bits during the rush to the cloud. The journey to digital transformation has just begun.

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