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Jun 10, 2019

Enterprise Networking in 2019 and Beyond: Key Trends Business Leaders Should Know

Businesses across numerous industries are expected to move forward with backend optimization efforts in 2019. In fact, researchers for Gartner anticipate worldwide enterprise information technology spending will surpass the $3.8 trillion mark by the conclusion of this year, an increase of 3.2 percent over the figure recorded in 2018. Networking services and solutions are among the top items on IT stakeholders' shopping lists in 2019. As commerce and data further entwine and globalization crystallizes, organizations are upgrading and scaling mission-critical communications infrastructure in an effort to accelerate information flow and facilitate worldwide operations. However, this work is not unfolding in a vacuum. Several external forces are influencing how modern firms are cultivating their internal networks.

Here are three of those trends and what they mean for businesses investing in networking technology in 2019:

1. The online threat environment intensifies

Data security continue to be an overwhelming concern for enterprises in all sectors - and for good reason. Cybercriminals executed approximately 1,200 large-scale data breaches and purloined more than 561 million sensitive files in 2018, according to initial reports from the Identity Theft Resource Center. Unfortunately, this activity is expected to continue and intensify throughout 2019, as hackers and other nefarious actors develop new methods for cracking company servers and disrupting data-driven operational processes. Enterprise networking stakeholders are keenly aware of this, which is why more than 60 percent have attested to upping their data security budgets, per research from the International Data Group.

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Mobile threat mitigation solutions are perhaps most in demand among these IT leaders. Why? Cybercriminals took an interest in on-the-go enterprise assets in 2018 and are likely to continue to target such hardware and software this year, according to IDG. The technology research group expects hackers to pursue mobile-centric crypto mining and social engineering schemes throughout the year and look for ways to disrupt wireless functionality and take advantage of obsolete devices. Additionally, the home networking fixtures at the center of remote working arrangements are expected to cause data security issues in 2019, making it critical for IT teams to reinforce the consumer-grade networking infrastructure used by contributors outside of the office, Trend Micro found.

2. SD-WAN technology matures

Software-defined wide-area networking infrastructure has grown in popularity in recent years due to its cost-saving and performance-boosting potential. Experts predicted the innovation would reach its tipping point in 2018, ZD Net reported. This prediction may have partially come to pass, as companies worldwide invested more than $1.1 trillion in the technology in last year, per the IDC. Even so, 2019 is shaping up it be a banner year for SD-WAN due to the emergence of several intra-market forces. One is the rising diminishing focus on cost savings, according to the IDG. While early adopters jumped on the SD-WAN bandwagon intent on reducing their networking expenses, more recent converts have de-emphasized this objective and instead embraced adoption based on simplifying and improving internal communication capabilities. Additionally, the rise of new online threats has encouraged IT departments exploring SD-WAN to pinpoint providers that not only facilitate optimal networking functionality but also provide the digital defenses needed to keep out hackers. Lastly, many IT stakeholders are looking to get out of the backend administration arena altogether and cede oversight to managed SD-WAN firms.

Together, these developments are catalyzing maturity within the SD-WAN market and laying the groundwork for more wide-scale deployment. In fact, researchers for Gartner believe 30 percent of organizations will have SD-WAN infrastructure in place by the conclusion of 2019. Enterprises looking to join this group over the next 12 months should certainly assess the state of the SD-WAN marketplace and search for mature, growth-proof solutions.

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3. The internet of things grows more complicated

Businesses worldwide closed the 2018 calendar year with more than 4 billion active internet of things devices in play, according to Gartner. That figure is expected to expand to more than 7 billion over the course of 2019. However, scale is not the only objective for the numerous companies moving forward with IoT projects this year. IoT will influence many that are looking for ways to integrate AI software into their existing mobile workflows, cultivating new user experiences and optimizing their respective approaches to backend system governance, per Gartner data published by IDG. Others are grappling with cultural and social concerns stemming from large internal deployments or hunting for more effective data analysis methods. IT departments exploring IoT technology in 2019 should consider looking to the many enterprises perfecting their approaches and develop methodologies for generating as much return on connected enterprise processes as possible.

In the end, organizations that take these networking trends into account can set themselves up for success in 2019 and build communication infrastructure that supports company-wide growth.