Q&A: Andrew Edison, SVP Sales, EMEA at Level 3, talks digital transformation with CBR.
CBR: What sort of network architecture must businesses have in order to successfully digitise?
In order for a company to successfully digitise, the internal transformation has to be built on a network with the speed and capacity to carry all the required content and data, both now and in the future.
In terms of architecture, it will need to connect to public, private and hybrid cloud services, and this connection will need to be simple, smart and cost effective.
CBR: What are the major pain-points for companies that need to follow that path?
Taking cloud adoption as an example, the major pain-points to digital transformation can include security requirements, the replacement of legacy systems, handling existing relationships with vendors and dealing with contracts based on outdated service-led agreements.
In the case of legacy infrastructure, cost is a major issue. Upgrading the required technology can be expensive, especially in the face of static or shrinking budgets. According to the Cloud Security Alliance report 'The Cloud Balancing Act for IT,' nearly a third of respondents quoted a lack of budget to replace legacy systems as a major barrier.
Also, attracting and retaining the right talent who are able to not only understand, but also operate the new systems being put in place is tough as systems continue to evolve at a rapid pace. According to 'Right Scale – State of the Art Cloud Report 2016' we see that 'Although 82 percent of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy, their top two challenges according to the same report are 'lack of expertise/ and resource' and 'security'.'.
CBR: What are the security aspects no company can dismiss when getting that network in place?
Online threats are increasing and companies need a security solution that can meet the growing need to protect business-critical data. One of the key aspects that businesses need to consider when looking to digitise is a network-based security solution. This provides an added vantage point which enables threats to be identified early, stopping them before they affect a business.
Alongside network-based security, threat intelligence is also needed to help predict and detect mounting threats. In many cases, this requires a team of professionals able to successfully identify and mitigate threats such as DDoS attacks.
CBR: What is the impact we are looking at if the network is not capable of keeping up with demand?
There are multiple risks associated with networks not capable of keeping up with demand. Performance, for example, can suffer if the delivery of mission-critical applications from the cloud is hampered. This can lead to poor uptime and responsiveness, and scalability can be impacted, with companies being unable to respond to fluctuating demands from their customers.
The end result is unsatisfied end-users, which can lead to reputational damage. Although investment in the network is a cost, it is a worthwhile exercise and something which is likely to save a company money in the long-run.
CBR: What are the three major points you would say are an eye opener for companies resisting this digital transformation?
1) The pace of change in IT is rapid, as showcased by the rise of cloud computing and the Internet of Things fast becoming an everyday reality. If they haven't already, companies need to start their digital transformation now or risk being left behind.
2) External threats, for example DDoS attacks, are becoming much more advanced, and businesses will need to ensure that their security systems evolve to evade these threats.
3) Collaboration is key, especially with so many potential stakeholders and vendors involved in a company's IT infrastructure. This is especially true with regards to security; sharing insights and working together on appropriate responses is increasingly important.