The glass is half full: workplace mobility, Internet of Things (IoT) and SDN are pushing enterprises to upgrade their network devices at a faster rate. The glass is half empty: security is being largely forgotten in these transformation processes due to neglected patching.
While networks are in general being upgraded at a faster rate than they have been for the past five years in order to prep for IoT, SDN and mobility, network vulnerabilities have increased, according to Dimension Data's latest Network Barometer Report.
Out of the 97,000 network devices that Dimension Data
discovered, the number of devices that have at least one known security vulnerability increased from 60% in last year's report to 76% in the most recent report, which was the highest percentage over the past five years.
"Aging networks are not necessarily a bad thing: companies just need to understand the implications," said Andre van Schalkwyk, senior practice manager network consulting at Dimension Data, in a statement. "They require a different support construct, with gradually increasing support costs. On the other hand, this also means that organizations can delay refresh costs."
In the Americas, the number of aging and obsolete network devices dropped from 60% last year to 29% this year, far faster than the rate on other many other continents.
The report attributed the faster rate of network device refresh in the Americas to a new generation of programmable infrastructure and increased spending after four years of financial restraint. The Middle East and Africa bucked the global trend as their respective network ages increased, possibly due to economic uncertainties.
According to the report, aging networks are less able to support newer initiatives such as SDN and automation, or handle the traffic volumes that are needed for collaboration or cloud services.
While we've extensively covered the growth of NFV and SDN-based networks on Telco Transformation, the report said that SDN wasn't quite ready for prime time. The report said that few organizational networks were capable of supporting SDN. To wit: last year less than 0.4% of the devices could support SD-WAN while just 1.3% of data center switches were ready for SDN.
The data for the report was compiled from 300,000 service incidents logged and 320 technology lifecycle management assessments across the 97,000 network devices in organizations of all sizes and all industry sectors in 28 countries.
— Mike Robuck, Editor, Telco Transformation