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Is your network agile enough to handle the next disruption?

There was a time that pandemics were considered by highly informed groups like the World Economic Forum as something “high impact” but “low likelihood.” And because of it, many were blindsided by the pandemic’s impact – on their businesses, their networks, and themselves. We’ve learned how essential it is for our networks to be agile enough to support a business in even the most unexpected circumstances. Because business resilience is the new business continuance – and resilience starts with an agile network.

Given how critical your network is, you need to do more than just keep it up and running. You need it to empower resilience across your organization – from your workforce to your workplace, and your workloads to your operations. Your network should be smart and flexible enough to handle a Pandora’s box of natural disasters, political unrest, and cyber attacks.

That’s why we put out our 2021 Global Networking Trends Report. It walks you through 5 ways to get your network ready for what’s next. Here are some key takeaways.

1. Keep workers secure wherever they are

These days, nearly five times more people are working outside the office. And flexible working is here to stay, in some shape or another. So your team needs to ensure a secure, productive, and collaborative experience for your workers anywhere they are: at home, in the office or on the road. When it comes to remote work, we found that 65% of organizations consider the top challenge to be security.

2. Bring workers back onsite—safely

Working in an office will work differently than before. Because the pandemic is pushing many companies to roll out new safeguards. As examples:

  • 62% will lean more on video conferencing
  • 32% will monitor how many people are in one place
  • 30% will deploy new safeguards including thermal sensors and touchless elevator controls

To make this happen, your network will need to be more flexible than ever. So your team should be sure it’s ready to support greater visibility and automation.

3. Spread out to several public clouds

In a crisis, clouds can be the key to keeping everyone up and running. When you spread your apps and workloads across both public and private clouds, you can roll out services faster and cut down the risk of your systems going down. Already, the pandemic has prompted 21% of orgs to move more workloads to public clouds, to get more capacity.

4. Automate common tasks to adapt faster

Your network needs to be ready to handle unexpected surges from anywhere. When the pandemic hit, we at Cisco had to scale up to handle a 300% increase in WebEx usage, nearly overnight. And we couldn’t have handled this spike by hand—we leaned on automated tools to do things like provision more capacity, balance bandwidth, and onboard new people in droves.

And you can do the same. In the next couple of years, 35% plan to automate their end-to-end network to intent-based networking—up from just 4% last year.

5. Use AI to manage the alert storm

The average enterprise gets bombarded by nearly 6,000 qualified network alerts every month. Far too many events for your team to spot and fix quickly. That’s where AI comes in. It can handle a bulk of these alerts, leaving a much more manageable slice of actionable issues for a human to deal with. As an example, our AI-enabled  tools have been shown to cut down on network alerts by 99.6%.

So what’s next?

An upside to these turbulent times—they’ve given us a push to get ready to tackle whatever comes next. It’s helping IT teams everywhere fast-lane more advanced network capabilities that might have taken years to roll out. For more ideas on how to make your network ready for whatever comes next, see our full 2021 Global Networking Trends Report.

Global Networking Technology Trends