Market research firm Gartner predicts that by 2025, three quarters of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed at the edge – anywhere people and things are connected to the internet – or outside a traditional data centre or cloud. This includes structured, semi-structured and unstructured data types. Every email we send, every online meeting we join, and every work call we take from home generates data. The distributed workforce arising from the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the decentralisation of business networks, altered workflows and processes with 70 per cent of IT decision makers in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region already actively using Edge technologies to deliver new outcomes in 2020 and six per cent planning to do so this year.
As the hybrid workplace continues to take shape in the current climate, where traditionally it meant a hindrance to productivity, employees today will manage workloads across more devices and locations while they move between their home, offices, and on the road. You, who may currently be reading this on the way to work (which very well could be the stroll from the kitchen to the study), are shifting data processing from traditional data centres to the edge.
As we move ahead into 2021, IT teams will also begin the next step of their transformational journey: creating requisite infrastructures for the Intelligent Edge. Beyond simply connecting constituents to the cloud, how users and IoT devices are connected will be a key area of focus to improve business outcomes, while enriching employee experiences.
The reimagined “anywhere” office will increasingly rely on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and IoT sensors, widening the attack surface, and thereby increasing the reliance on security. Compounded by human error in these trying times, 64 per cent of IT decision makers expressed concerns on their firms’ heightened vulnerability to cyberattacks in a hybrid working environment, based on a recent AT&T poll. To secure all employee and business devices, AI-powered zero-trust protection policies must be incorporated end-to-end to detect, classify and continuously monitor any and every connection to ensure secure communication with predetermined resources.
The new business reality is that network management will only become more complex. The edge incorporates all network domains including wired, wireless and SD-WAN; and all locations including office branches and data centres on top of remote working environments.
To gain full visibility of every connected device in the distributed network, IT teams need to adopt a unified and automated approach to manage all domains and locations from a cloud-native, single control pane that centralises and correlates cross-domain events and operations. As a result, we’ll see network teams leading the charge to eliminate siloes separating the server, storage, virtualisation, DevOps, SecOps and AIOps functions, and accelerate the achievement of their organisation’s business objectives.
With networks facing greater demands than before, network uptime and performance is critical to ensure employee collaboration and innovation. Lags in online meetings are no fun for anyone, especially when critical information is being shared. In meeting the challenge of supporting more distributed teams, automation will be key in powering specific, highly accurate insights, as well as help IT leaders be one step ahead in troubleshooting and resolving issues before they impact businesses or users.
As we continue to adapt to the realities of the “Next Normal”, the Intelligent Edge will be a central focus for organisations that architect their infrastructures to support remote workers, deliver the necessary capabilities that allow a safe return to the workplace, and enable business continuity initiatives. The benefits of the Intelligent Edge, especially when combined with flexible, subscription-based consumption models provide organisations with the security, insights, and quality of service they need to navigate this dynamic business landscape.
At the Intelligent Edge, you would not notice a thing – precisely because your workloads are running so smoothly.