Putting Network Resilience at the
Heart of Digital Transformation

By: Joshua Currin

A resilient, robust, and always-on network is critical to business success in today’s highly connected world. Such a network allows employees, engineers, and customers to work and perform essential day-to-day tasks. Any disruption to the network could result in a costly halt in business productivity and efficiency, not to mention untold damage to brand reputation. Nevertheless, many organizations pursuing digital transformation do not prioritize network resiliency. Research from Gartner shows that over 90 percent of businesses have some form of digital initiative, with 87 percent of senior business leaders stating that digitalization is a priority. Consequently, common technologies deployed during digital transformation include IoT, mobility, analytics and cloud solutions, all of which depend on a consistent network connection.

Moreover, as networks continue to grow in complexity, they also become more vulnerable to cyberattacks. While current numbers aren’t as high as that initial surge during the pandemic, cyberattacks are still a significant danger. In the first half of 2022, there were an estimated 236.1 million ransomware attacks globally, representing 20 percent of all cybercrime in 2022. Similarly, malicious actors keep targeting vulnerable functionalities in software and networks. In fact, weaknesses got discovered in commonplace applications like SharePoint and OneDrive. Whether it's malware or phishing attacks, hackers constantly learn and evolve their techniques, becoming more sophisticated with each passing year. To make matters worse, any cybersecurity software available to the public can (and will) just as easily get obtained, analyzed, and dismantled by bad actors for future exploitation.

There is a clear correlation between the network, digital transformation, and cybersecurity—especially considering that so many cyberattacks often result in network outages or that the complexities stemming from digital initiatives open pathways for bad actors to access critical applications on networks. Our global study from 2020, which polled 500 CIOs and 500 network engineers from Western countries, found that 45 percent of surveyed CIOs saw security among their organization’s greatest networking challenges post digital transformation. And although companies must deploy preventative measures to decrease the likelihood of a breach, the reality is that every enterprise pursuing digital transformation will inevitably experience a network outage. According to an analogous 2022 global report, which polled from a similar pool of participants as the first, the Mean Time To Recovery (MTTR), or the average time required to find and remediate a network outage, increased from 9.39 hours in 2020 to 11.2 hours in 2022.

The fact is that a resilient network—one that allows a business to maintain access to its critical assets and quickly (and remotely) recover from outages—is just as important to a company's overall security posture as the latest defensive solution. Indeed, security and network-focused digital transformation are not mutually exclusive but are two sides of the same coin. And because enterprises won’t stop pushing digital transformation (nor should they), it’s paramount that they place network resiliency at the heart of their digitization strategy to reduce the harmful consequences of downtime brought on by escalating cyberattacks.  

Unifying network engineers and CIOs

Of course, putting the network at the heart of digital transformation to combat rising cybersecurity threats is easier said than done. One approach that organizations can take to move networks up the priority list is to promote collaboration between network engineers and CIOs. If anyone can drive network-focused digital transformation, it is these two roles. However, such cross-organizational collaboration is not as prolific as one might hope. Getting these two groups to work together cohesively is difficult because they face different challenges and responsibilities. According to the surveys above, 90 percent of digital transformation decision-making involves CIOs. Simultaneously, network engineers carry out the day-to-day processes needed to achieve said transformation. In other words, CIOs cast the vision for digital transformation, and the engineers determine how to execute that vision effectively. As a result, a disconnect emerges. To bring these two parties together and encourage effective investment in network security, it's crucial that businesses advocate for continuous communication to alleviate tension and more clearly illuminate objectives. CIOs can also deliver training for engineers to learn new network technologies and,


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