Nearly half of all enterprise networks will be obsolete within five years

Dimension Data, relased the results of a Network Barometer study for this year, which evaluates the readiness of enterprise networks to support ongoing business operations. The report found that technology trends such as bring-your-own-device (BYOD), video and virtualization are rapidly consuming network capacity and capabilities, and that 45 per cent of the enterprise networks assessed during 2011 will be obsolete within five years.

This represents a 38 per cent increase over the 2010 data, indicating the growing velocity of these technology trends, the report found.

Dimension Data also reported that of the devices that are now in the obsolescence cycle, the percentage that are at end-of-sale increased exponentially from 4.2 per cent in 2010 to 70 per cent in 2011.

The study concluded that organizations considering desktop virtualization and pervasive video need to refresh their routing and switching infrastructure − only 18 per cent of all access switches discovered during the evaluations would be able to support these technologies properly.

Other findings include:

Dimension Data conducts the annual Network Barometer Report by evaluating adherence to best practices, potential security vulnerabilities and the end-of-life status of network devices. The 2012 report includes findings from nearly 300 Technology Lifecycle Management (TLM) assessments at enterprise organizations worldwide throughout 2011.

Grant Sainsbury, vice president of advanced solutions, Dimension Data, said the introduction of new technologies into the enterprise environment has accelerated to the point where many corporate networks predate current megatrends such as mobility, virtualization, BYOD and pervasive video.

The report also found four other key findings. They include:

1. Two-thirds of all devices assessed in 2011 had at least one known security vulnerability. Repeat users of the TLM Assessments had a 59 per cent vulnerability rate, compared to a higher 75 per cent vulnerability rate for non-repeat users.

2.Of the known security vulnerabilities discovered, four of the 10 most prevalent were new. Three of these have a high severity rating, and one has a critical rating. These findings underscored the need for organizations to ensure that their IOS patch management processes are comprehensive and that they screen for security vulnerabilities regularly.

3.The mobility trend and Dimension Data’s prediction that 802.11n access point penetration will be greater than 50 per cent next year mandate that organizations must carefully consider the underlying network infrastructure responsible for the distribution and delivery of their communication services.

4.From a lifecycle perspective, the total number of devices that were past end-of-sale jumped from 38 per cent to 45 per cent, highlighting the fact that organizations must not forget the network as they consider deploying new communication services.

Dimension Data added that this year’s report indicates that while the percentage of devices with security vulnerabilities stayed roughly the same (73 per cent last year vs. 75 per cent this year), the vulnerability environment is rapidly evolving with four new entrants on the top 10 list – all of which carry relatively high risk ratings.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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