A reliable, secure, and resilient network plays a central role when it comes to digitization, cloud, or automation. Opengear, the provider of out-of-band management solutions for the protection of critical infrastructures, explains which topics will dominate network management in 2021.
The year 2020 clearly demonstrated to companies that, in view of the corona pandemic, have increasingly relied on cloud services and home offices, their dependence on trouble-free and reliable network connections. At the same time, applications such as IoT or process automation increased, and with them the volume of data processed. A stable and reliable network is therefore a must and a basic requirement. The following topics will bring network resilience even more into focus in 2021.
IoT becomes IoE
In the Internet of Everything, the networking of people, processes, data, and things is promoted and linked to form an intelligent unit. Everything is connected via the Internet so that the data is provided in real-time. In 2021, the use of intelligent sensors, AI-controlled cameras, immersive AV media (media that serve the auditory and visual senses of humans through sound and images), or self-controlling machines will increase rapidly. The result is networked with the smallest ramifications.
5G is coming
The introduction of 5G will pick up speed in 2021 thanks to the high data rates and low latency times that are essential for areas such as autonomous driving. Many of the applications and services are operated at the edge of the network, as a result of which edge computing is increasing. Larger companies, in particular, will set up private LTE and 5G networks in order to support their own specific applications at their own locations within the framework of campus networks.
Cloud is getting bigger and more distributed
The explosive growth of IoT devices and microservices will drive the adoption of rapidly deployable, smaller data centers to support distributed cloud usage. In the distributed cloud, public cloud services are distributed across different physical locations, which increases the demands on the infrastructure and scalability of both cloud providers and the companies that use these services.
Age of hyper-automation
The idea behind hyper-automation is that everything that can be automated will also be automated. This helps to complete tasks and processes faster, more efficiently, and with fewer errors. As networks become increasingly marginalized, they need smarter management tools. The change from a command-line interface to NetOps automation will therefore be decisive for “Anywhere Operations”. In 2021, AI-powered tools for self-management and self-healing systems, remote monitoring and provisioning, and threat detection and recovery will become a necessity.
A new paradigm for remote access
There will still be pandemic-related restrictions in 2021, so technicians cannot be on-site in a data center or remote location. At the same time, cloud migrations and edge implementations are increasing. This requires new tools for secure remote implementations such as zero-touch provisioning (ZTP) and TPM chips to protect against hardware tampering. Tools for creating standard settings are also necessary, for example, if a software stack running virtualized network functions has to be updated due to an error.
SD-WAN market will grow
More and more companies are now relying on software-defined wide area networks in order to connect branches cheaply to a company data center, to establish reliable access to cloud services, and distribute their traffic skillfully via various network technologies. The network security must be adjusted accordingly. SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) will play a major role in this in 2021: The cloud-based architecture bundles WAN services and Security-as-a-Service functions and provides them as a common service. This provides simple security and network tool that is independent of where employees and resources are located. Security policies can be defined centrally, but are effective locally at the edge of the network.
Blockchain on the rise
The corona crisis is accelerating technological change in many areas, including the use of blockchain technology. In particular, projects with a realistic approach and high business benefits are promoted regardless of the industry. The introduction of cryptocurrencies by large companies like PayPal is also contributing to this.