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Mining Actionable Insights with Network Analytics

by Michael Sumastre
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Monitoring and mining enterprise data with network analytics can bring a healthy boost to your business operations. Here are ways to use network analytics to make positive business decisions.

The network analytics market is set to take center stage within the next few years. According to Markets and Markets, its global demand could grow up to $3.5 billion by 2024. Back in 2019, the market value of the industry was about half of the forecast. Within the same period, this IT market segment could post a compound annual growth rate of at least 20%.

Network analytics’ anticipated growth isn’t accidental, but the by-product of the increasing importance of data as businesses undergo digital transformation.

Why Network Analytics Matter 

By definition, network analytics is the process of analyzing network-related data that can range from bit rates to traffic, latencies, sources of traffic, and even potential breaches. From the information, enterprises can then perform the following tasks:

  • Determine flaws and strengths of the network and then improve against weaknesses.
  • Optimize performance of the network to also improve productivity and efficiency of not only platforms and devices, but also people.
  • Conduct network audits and refine them whenever necessary.
  • Identify the needs of the network to enhance its infrastructure.
  • Create a more realistic IT budget.
  • Use the information to hire the right people for the job.
  • Help enterprises determine best strategies to maximize the available IT resources. 

Digging deeper, the data that network analytics provides is essential for the following reasons:

1. Enterprise networks have become more complicated

The growth of IT, especially over the last few decades, has been unprecedented. In a survey by McKinsey, almost all respondents said that companies within their industry were already investing in the enterprise Internet of things (IoT) to enhance their efficiency, operations performance, and productivity. 

This is even though IoT implementation is still in its infancy and policies, particularly government regulations about it, remain murky or even nonexistent. Add to that the increasing demand for cloud platforms and the rise of other methods of networking, such as edge computing and secure access service edge (SASE).

There’s also the controversial entry of 5G. With it, more devices can connect within the network without compromising speed and bandwidth. However, recent studies suggest it could also introduce security issues.

Network analytics can help determine whether the infrastructure and the method of connectivity are updated; if the enterprise is ready to adopt the latest changes in IT.

Also read: Creating a Network Audit Checklist 

2. Cybersecurity is a pressing issue

There’s good reason some businesses prefer to stick with legacy systems no matter how outdated they are: connectivity has a severe flaw, and that is the increased cybersecurity risk.

 Cybersecurity risks, such as ransomware and phishing, are extremely costly for businesses. Statistics showed that cybercrime-related expenses could grow by as much as $10.5 trillion by 2025, increasing by 15% annually. For comparison, it was only around $3 trillion in 2015.

While it hits a variety of enterprises across different industries — from credit bureaus like Equifax to healthcare facilities — these IT-related crimes are specifically damaging to fledgling businesses. They could lose about $200,000 per attack, eventually shutting down many of them within months.

Despite the threats, almost 80% of IT executives or leaders think they have enough protection against them. This is even if they’re already investing in cybersecurity. Fewer than 60% performed a security risk assessment in 2020.

Network analytics doesn’t offer protection of information, but the data can be used to create realistic, achievable, and easily maintained and monitored security strategies. For example, they can identify where the data is coming from and where it is going.

Assessing the network can also help IT security teams identify weak points that hackers and other cyber criminals can exploit. This is especially true if the organization integrates IoT devices and cloud platforms into its infrastructure.

IT has introduced more secure models, such as the zero-trust approach, that creates several limited-access points. Analytics can allow businesses to identify where to implement this strategy.

Also read: Steps to Building a Zero Trust Network

3. Many companies are wasting their IT resources

Gartner forecasts that worldwide spending for IT will increase by over 6% in 2021. This percentage translates to almost $4 trillion. And yet, companies are also wasting money in different ways:

  • In one of the surveys, some IT leaders confessed that they went overboard with their cloud budget by at least 20%. Others claimed they wasted 30% of their cloud spending. However, they were still willing to increase their expenditure by around 50%.
  • In 2016, employees lost two weeks’ worth of work annually due to IT-related problems. These ranged from unusable or outdated software and latency to connectivity.

Network Analytics Boosts Business Health

Network analytics helps in the economics of business. It doesn’t only tell whether the organization needs to invest more in IT but also leads them to the right investments. In the end, analytics is just as good as the data it provides. A business that doesn’t perform network analytics misses the chance to effectively manage their IT spending while improving security, performance, and resource allocation and utilization.

Read next: Approaches to Cybersecurity in 5G-driven Enterprise Networks

This article was originally published on Tuesday Apr 6th 2021