This is the mantra of just about every business organization in the marketplace today. Everyone is under the same pressure to stay ahead of the ever-changing business and technology landscape or face the potentially dire consequences. At the forefront of this modern workplace transformation is the decision by many organizations to transition to an autonomous network. An autonomous network is one where many of the day-to-day network IT decisions and adjustments are made by AI rather than a human. For some, the idea of moving to a fully autonomous network can be quite scary. But the fact is, this transition doesn’t need to happen in one giant leap, nor should it. The evolution of autonomous vehicles For an excellent example of how this transition should take place, we need only look at the current evolution of the autonomous vehicle. There was a time not long ago when the thought of a self-driving car was solely in the realm of science fiction. Today, there are fully functional autonomous vehicles already on the road. It’s not a matter of “if” we will see fully autonomous passenger vehicles go mainstream, but rather “when.” And yet, when that day finally comes, it will be the result not of one sudden and giant leap, but rather as the culmination of several smaller steps in the journey. Today, features like braking assist, lane detection, collision detection, and even automated parking assist are all fairly standard on brand new vehicles. When each was introduced, it was seen as an exciting new feature that didn’t overwhelm the consumer or radically alter the driving experience. The same process applies to the journey towards autonomous networks. You should not jump right into a fully autonomous network even if the technology were available to do so immediately. It should be treated as a journey, an inevitable journey that needs to happen within your organization. Here are three key reasons why. Reason #1 – Quality of Service (QOS) The rise of hybrid IT along with the realities of the modern workspace are combining to put undue pressure on your network. These pressures can take the form of an exponential increase in data at a moment’s notice, or simply the change in traffic types and routes to ones that are much more dynamic than ever before. Despite these constant pressures, there is still an expectation that services need to be ubiquitous 24/7 across all devices and locations; they also need to be secure and governed. Given this new world order, only an autonomous network is advanced enough to ensure a consistent quality of service while still ensuring all security protocols are met. An autonomous network is able to learn what the baselines are and identify potential trouble areas and take corrective action before they arise. It’s not only able to maintain those baselines but is often able to adjust and increase overall network performance. What’s more, an autonomous network can even predict when traffic spikes are likely to happen and take the precautionary steps, so the system can handle that surge in demand. A 2018 Cisco study of an 800-person workplace found that not having to troubleshoot issues because an autonomous network is in place can save up to 90 productivity days per year. Reason #2 – Enhanced Network Security It’s been said that there are only two types of organizations in the world today – those that have been breached and those that don’t know they’ve been breached. There’s simply no comparing what a human can do versus an automated network in terms of rapid threat detection and containment. Here’s why this is so critical - in a lot of cases, the person you're fighting is a lot more focused than you can ever be. That’s because breaching your system is their singular goal in life. They can get it wrong a thousand times and still keep going. If you get it wrong just once, you're breached. Every day there are thousands of security logs to sort through at once. It's only natural that you may not be able to zero in on the one that you should pay attention to right away. If you’re wondering how much faster AI can be than a human, consider this. In a challenge to review five contracts and identify 30 legal issues, the humans took an average of 92 minutes to complete the task with an accuracy rate of 85 percent. AI took an average of 26 seconds with an accuracy rate of 95 percent. There is no denying that AI can get through security logs at a much faster speed and take the appropriate action that will help keep your organization safe. Reason #3 – Customer Recruitment and Retainment In this case, I am defining the customer as both your external customers as well as your internal personnel. External customers delivering top-tier service, as Amazon does, require a network that fires on all cylinders 24/7. An autonomous network can help make this a reality. But you should also consider the cost of training and onboarding a new hire versus keeping those people in place. The simple fact is that very few top candidates are going to be excited to come to a company where all they're doing is troubleshooting issues. They want to be working on the big projects. Automation in the network is a good way to make this happen. This also extends to personnel outside the IT department. In the modern workspace, every person in the organization has an expectation that everything in their environment needs to operate seamlessly. Today’s workers, especially the ever-growing millennial population, have an extremely low tolerance for technical glitches that impact their ability to do their job. An autonomous network is critical to meeting the expectations of today’s workforce. It’s time to start the journey The bottom line is if you want to keep pace and stay ahead of the curve on things like employee retention, customer retention, being more secure, and saving money, you need to start the journey towards network automation now. That’s not to say everybody should immediately jump into a fully automated network. But now is the time to take those key first steps. To find out more about what those steps mean for your organization and how to start, visit our website or reach out and I’d be more than happy to discuss it with you.
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