New Network World Survey Shows Cloud Computing and Security Command IT’s Attention in 2016

By: James O'Brien| - Leave a comment

The results of Network World’s annual “State of the Network” survey are in, and they show an increasingly complex networking ecosystem. It’s one that is rapidly turning its attention — and budget — to the evolving cloud computing space and a proliferation of challenges around security.

Of the 301 companies polled in the survey, 91 percent reported the networking professional’s role is expanding due to the increasing size of enterprise network infrastructures and the expansion of security threats.

Additionally, networks are becoming hybrid structures at a quickening pace. According to the survey, 63 percent of the network executives’ answers suggested that cloud services will see greater investment this year. The responses showed a dramatic upward shift from the 43 percent who pegged cloud services as the target of new spending in 2015.

Security is also straddling two infrastructure worlds: 49 percent of the respondents indicate their companies now mix in-house and cloud-based security measures. Moreover, 53 percent said security was their top IT investment priority, just behind network speed and performance.

Network World pointed to mobile device management, mobile application management and mobile information management as key among new security initiatives in 2016. Those areas accounted for 57 percent of respondents’ first-place votes.

But those initiatives will begin against the backdrop of the current top security focus: security awareness. About 35 percent of the network executives said employee awareness and cooperation around security moved to the No. 1 slot, up three places from 2015. According to Network World, that shift has much to do with what “The Global State of Information Security Survey 2016” showed: Current and former employees are the most likely causes of security incidents.

Beyond cloud services and security, IT is primed to pilot and implement software-defined networking (SDN) solutions. The move, however, is also illustrating a gap in present-day resources. While 41 percent of the respondents said they’re actively researching SDN approaches — and 22 percent plan to be piloting an SDN program next year — 41 percent also reported that a lack of IT skills within teams is posing a challenge to SDN adoption.

The survey reported that collaborative approaches to the key projects it highlighted will likely figure largely into IT strategies throughout 2016.

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About The Author

James O'Brien

Freelance Writer

As a journalist and writer in the branded content space, James O'Brien covers business, technology, social media, marketing, film, food, wine, writing and news. The Nieman Journalism Lab has called his work in the custom content space "sponsored content done right." He has written for major regional newspapers, and he has managed and edited established, startup and turnaround newsrooms in varied markets, from community papers to major-city dailies. He consults for firms and businesses — startups to seasoned — on the creation of effective content strategies and the establishment of practical editorial calendars for enacting them. O'Brien holds a Ph.D. in Editorial Studies from the Editorial Institute at Boston University, where he researched and edited Bob Dylan's other-than-song writings. He is engaged in a bibliography for Oxford University Press, covering writings about filmmaker John Cassavetes. He is the author of "The Indie Writer's Survival Guide." His short stories and poetry are published in numerous journals and magazines.

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