The winds are shifting

There was a time in networking when the mindset was all about cutting procurement costs for your networking hardware. And while I have heard from many customers how our hardware is notorious for its durability, this notion of ‘sweating assets’ really isn’t a sustainable strategy. That is especially the case when you consider all the new demands being placed on the network in today’s cloud-first, software-defined, application-centric environment. In fact, if you are not taking advantage of all the latest AI and machine learning capabilities, there is a good chance that the network will become a bottleneck when you try supporting the requirements of new business-enabling innovations.

In the latest research in our 2022 Global Networking Trends Report: The Rise of Network as a Service we heard from over 1500 IT leaders and networking professionals in 13 countries about what would most likely cause their organizations to move to a NaaS model. I will continue in this blog series by sharing a few reflections on these top reasons.

Reason #1—Deploying the latest technologies

From our survey, just over a third (35%) of respondents believe that the requirement to continually deploy the latest networking technologies is a main reason their organization would move to a NaaS model.  The latest technologies refer to those like Wi-Fi 6, software-defined WAN (SD-WAN), secure access service edge (SASE), 5G, and AI. It is certainly a different mindset than seeing how long you can keep your infrastructure.

"We have difficulty implementing new technology abd new features and functionality in our network environment. There would be significant benefit for us to have a service provider roll out new services and new technologies in support of our business. That gives us the agility and capacity to move forward." -- Manager of Network Engineering, International law firm

But what does the latest technology provide for an organization? I think of it as a two-sided coin.  On the one side, with a NaaS model, you will always have the latest cloud-delivered capabilities, software, and security updates that ensure your network is running optimally while protecting the business and users. On the other side, all these latest technologies are the means to a greater end—enabling the business to innovate and developers to deliver new applications and digital services.

Reason #2—Prevalence of security attacks

Thirty percent of respondents also said that the prevalence of security attacks is another reason they might move to NaaS.  In a NaaS model, the NaaS provider delivers continuous security updates that prevent and reduce breaches and outages. And again, any win for IT is a win for the business. When it comes to tighter security, the business wins because with less disruptions and outages, that means users, customers, and partners can securely access their data, applications, and services, and this in turn equates to higher productivity and customer satisfaction.

Reason #3—Need for greater network agility

Nearly a third of IT professionals (29%) also said that they would expect NaaS to provide them greater network agility.  When a university needs to quickly shift to remote learning, or a financial services firm decides (practically overnight) that all employees work from home, the network must provide the agility to handle whatever comes next.  In a NaaS model, the network can scale up and down to meet demands without the cumbersome hassle of waiting for refresh cycles or renegotiating leases.  Network capacity can be added quickly similarly to other SaaS and IaaS models.

Hats off to the unsung heroes

One final thought…I have said it before, but I am not sure that our networking professionals always get the recognition that you richly deserve. There is so much being added to your plate daily, and all our broader organizations owe a debt of gratitude to you for providing the networking capabilities we need and enjoy each time we log on. My encouragement to you is to keep up the magnificent work, and always continue learning and exploring if these recent innovations like NaaS fit within a part of your network strategy. Thank you for doing so much more than keeping the lights on!

Read the full report

2022 Global Networking Trends Report: The Rise of Network as a Service



Prashanth Shenoy

Vice President of Marketing

Enterprise Networking and Mobility