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As more organizations deploy IoT, mobility, analytics and cloud solutions, the network becomes even-more critical to digital transformation. Employees, engineers and customers all rely on access to a resilient, always-on network for many reasons. Any disruption can cripple efficiency and damage an organization’s reputation without a proper out-of-band solution in place.

This is why networks are so critical to digital ambitions with serious consequences when they fall short. In organizations that fail to put networks at the core of digital transformation, network engineers and Chief Information Officers (CIOs) alike agree cyber-security risks will impact them more than anyone else. In fact, Opengear research found that over half of network engineers and CIOs  agree that cyber-security was among their biggest, growing threats. This lack of network prioritization is an urgent problem that enterprises must quickly address. It’s central to cyber security and its neglect will have businesses face escalating costs and greater downtime.

The Rising Incidence Of Attacks And Breaches

Cyber-attacks and breaches are on the rise. The Covid-19 pandemic and the implementation of remote working sparked a 358% worldwide rise in malware and a 435% increase in ransomware in 2020. Malicious actors across the globe are looking for ways to exploit vulnerable functionalities in software and networks. What’s concerning is that weaknesses have been discovered in even commonly used applications such as SharePoint and OneDrive.

This rising trend is prompting organizations to take numerous steps to protect their remote and hybrid workforces. This has included the management of ongoing upgrades to legacy systems, despite many encountering a variety of challenges in doing so, such as potential downtime and increased costs. They also have to ensure the necessary in-house skills are in place.

Bringing network engineers and CIOs together

The key to battling increased cyber threats and moving networks up the priority list, is the collaboration of network engineers and CIOs to ensure investment is targeted effectively. Seven out of ten (70%) network engineers say organizations should prioritize security when it comes to digital transformation of networking.

This consensus on key networking and IT trends helps drive the identification of the right technology solution to enhance the organization’s cyber security posture. While CIOs know their organization’s challenges in developing their networks, it is network engineers who are best-placed to suggest the right technologies.

Weaving Security Into The Network Strategies

Ever since the start of the pandemic, cyber-security concerns have skyrocketed, partly driven by cyber-criminals increasing the sophistication of their attack methods and the move to hybrid and remote working practices. But at the same time, more highly dispersed workforces have created pressure for digital transformation to gather pace. This cannot happen without the network playing a crucial role.

It’s now pivotal for network engineers and CIOs to get their heads together and invest more in security, ensuring it is woven more closely into the fabric of their networks and digital transformation strategies. This will empower organizations to advance along their digital transformation roadmaps and help protect their networks from malicious actors.

Find out more about the role of networks in digital transformation by viewing the full research commentary.