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Five network modernisation myths to bust in your organisation

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By Arun Pathak, Vice President, Managed Network and Collaboration Services, NTT DATA Inc.

Network modernisation is a critical strategy for organisations that want to meet the demands of the cloud era. Maximising the value of your IT infrastructure is crucial when it comes to cloud integration and automation – which, in turn, helps you thrive in the cloud environment and remain competitive.

However, there are several common myths that hinder progress in this area.

Myth 1: Modernisation is too expensive and disruptive
The initial costs of network modernisation will depend on how much work needs to be done, but these expenses should be seen in the context of your ultimate return on investment.

Modernisation – including through software-defined networking and the virtualisation of network functions – makes your network more efficient and scalable. You gain the agility you need to keep adapting the network as your business needs change, and you reduce the cost of maintaining your legacy network.

Importantly, it also enhances security operations (for example, by securing access in a remote and hybrid work environment or by using advanced threat detection and prevention) and enables automation, which can save you money in the long run. So, by adopting advanced technology and consuming it in the right way, you can derive significant value from your investment in your network. To get this right, the help of a managed services provider can prove invaluable.

Myth 2: The cloud eliminates the need for network upgrades
The cloud offers numerous benefits but does not render network upgrades obsolete. Advances in technology and your changing business requirements mean network modernisation is a continual need – you don’t modernise once and then it’s done forever. Neglecting network upgrades can, for instance, keep you from fully benefiting from cloud technologies.

So, approach it as an ongoing process: phase in upgrades based on your organisation’s growth and to ensure business continuity. Again, consider working with a managed service provider experienced in managing modernisation roadmaps for your short-, medium- and long-term goals.

Myth 3: Security is relevant only to the cloud, not the network
Security concerns transcend both the cloud and the network. Transforming your network and infrastructure does not change the importance of security practices. The pace at which new threats appear won’t slow down, and as your organisation’s dependence on IT increases, security governance and compliance is non negotiable.

A secure network lays the foundation for your cloud operations. Perimeter security, access control, data encryption, segmentation and network monitoring are all vital components of a comprehensive security approach. Managed service providers also follow a holistic security approach across new and legacy networks and cloud platforms – in other words, they do not compartmentalise security to focus only on the cloud or the network.

Myth 4: Modernisation is a one-time project
Business requirements are changing rapidly, and your infrastructure should remain current to support these requirements. Therefore, network modernisation should be treated as an ongoing journey rather than a one-time project – depending on how advanced your infrastructure is and on your appetite for adopting new technology.

Today’s modern technology is tomorrow’s legacy equipment. What if you invest in something today and something far more effective comes along a year or two years from now? And your business needs keep changing along the way, too. Sometimes, “rip and replace” is an option, but a smarter strategy is to map out your modernisation efforts incrementally. This will keep your network current and effective, lessen the risk of business disruptions and ease the pressure on your IT resources through capacity planning.

Such an incremental approach also forms the basis of NTT DATA’s managed services proposition, which cuts across operational processes as well as the technology itself. We think of it as “positive disruption”, which maintains business continuity and a good user experience throughout the modernisation programme.

Myth 5: Modernisation is always the answer
Organisations often believe that modernisation is the only way forward. But, rather than simply following technological advancements, you should assess your infrastructure’s alignment with your business goals. Not everything needs to be constantly modernised; some of your legacy infrastructure may still serve specific needs in your business perfectly well.

A managed services provider will assess which changes are the most urgent, important and impactful so you avoid the trap of replacing technology without adding real value. This pragmatic approach is better synchronised with business requirements.

A smart strategy

Which organisation wouldn’t want a network that grows as needed and adapts to their business requirements, saves them money, keeps their data and assets safe, and integrates with cloud technologies? Network modernisation is a clear strategic initiative, but look past the myths and make continuous improvement your hidden advantage.

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