The COVID-19 pandemic is putting unprecedented strain on not only our way of living, but our networks, as well. In fact, it’s during this time that we appreciate just how critical the network is in our lives. Many of our telecom customers have reported network traffic numbers doubling and some IT teams are struggling to keep up amidst the pressures of maintaining operations while their entire workforce is remote. Some of this is temporary, but I believe we will see some lasting effects that will have implications on the way networks are built and managed.
Last week I had the chance to virtually convene with an all-star group of networking experts from a handful of customers and partners to discuss what they’re experiencing on the front lines of IT and share advice as we navigate the path forward.
Here are a few key takeaways from the discussion:
IT Documentation is Key
Quite often, so much of IT processes and knowledge are simply stored in people’s minds and shared only among a handful of individuals within a company – this is proving to be a huge challenge at the moment. Thankfully, the rapid disruption in business and IT continuity has actually forced many companies to rethink about how they document their processes and blueprint their networks so that the information – tribal knowledge will no longer cut it. It’s clear now that IT departments need strong and accessible documentation to inform and instruct these processes during increasingly distributed working scenarios. As I expect a new normal to include more distributed work, this will be essential.
More Data = Better Automation
If your company isn’t currently data-driven, expect them to start. The last several weeks have shined a bright light on the importance of data – capturing, analyzing and using. And as more companies move toward leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve user experiences and IT operations, these systems only function intelligently when fed with good data. Expect data-capturing, analysis and automation to ramp up now and in the near future, as well as heightened recruiting for data scientist and data engineer positions.
Times of crisis often inspire innovation – if you’re up to the task. If you’re now finding that your organization has not been prepared to handle the changes from this wave of remote work — scrambling to procure laptops and remote access licenses or working to secure distributed infrastructure from afar — use this time as an opportunity to really tighten policy and process, as well as prepare for the next unprecedented crisis. For many, preparing for the unknown means finally embracing the shift to cloud, which is key to supporting business continuity at scale.
For more advice and discussions with our IT community, please visit Real Talk: The Network Matters, a forum dedicated to sharing advice, strategies and workarounds that everyone can use.
And a big thank you to our panel of experts:
Andrew Alston, Group Head of IP Strategy, Liquid Telecommunications
Paul Clarke, Customer Solutions Architect, Fujitsu
Tom Dwyer, Principal Engineer, Nexum
Stefan Fouant, CTO, ShortestPathFirst
Chris Parker, Senior Network Engineer, Nominet
Nick Ryce, Senior Network Architect, Commsworld
Christian Scholz, Senior Consultant Network & Security, Telonic