Today’s IT teams must maintain a growing infrastructure of on-prem and cloud solutions. These range from physical routers, out-of-band devices, and firewalls, to Zero Trust Security solutions, micro-segmentation tools, and network automation integrations. Despite an abundance of physical and virtual solutions meant to help keep digital services online, many organizations face an overwhelming number of tasks just to sustain everyday operations.
With the rising risk of recession, organizations will be forced to cut back on resources including staff, training, and tools. This will only worsen the existing challenges teams face in their efforts to maintain their distributed infrastructure.
In this blog, we’ll explore three gaps that will leave IT teams scrambling this winter, and show you several practical approaches to cope during recession.
Gap 1: Lack of staff
IT teams have been historically understaffed, and most people can remember at least one significant tech worker hiring campaign from the past decade. Today’s CIOs may in fact be facing the biggest talent gap since 2008. For example, in the cybersecurity sector alone, the 2021 (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study reported that despite adding 700,000 cybersecurity professionals to the workforce in 2021, there’s still a gap of more than 2.7 million workers globally, 377,000 of which are needed in the United States.
Trained staff are a must for managing an organization’s distributed sites, especially as team silos disappear and workers are required to have a breadth of skills. Business leaders increasingly need people who are proficient in networking and programming, so they can maintain normal operations while progressing their digital transformation initiatives such as hyperautomation. It’s a challenge that often comes down to hiring new talent or increasing the skills of existing employees, and both of these approaches require plenty of time and money.
This issue will only worsen with the coming recession as companies begin to tighten their belts and slash budgets. Major brands have already shed thousands of workers this year, leaving IT teams to make due with existing staff numbers or even reduced headcounts. In the simplest terms, the coming recession will leave companies much less willing or able to invest in staff.
Gap 2: Lack of tools to reduce workloads
Today’s infrastructure incorporates solutions from many different vendors, but the problem is these often come with their own unique tools that are meant to serve only a specific function. Managing SD-WAN, SASE, ZTNA, orchestration, and out-of-band solutions means jumping between disparate tools, many of which lack integration with one another. This complexity leaves operational teams stuck in a reactionary break/fix posture trying to climb mountains of never-ending support tickets.
To address this challenge, many Big Tech companies empower their IT teams through digital transformation initiatives, such as using automation to achieve a proactive approach. But this requires additional investments in upskilling staff and acquiring adequate automation infrastructure/tools. For many organizations, a lack of money and resources makes this difficult during normal economic conditions, and will only become exacerbated with the coming recession. IT teams will continue scrambling with their inflated workloads.
Gap 3: Lack of trust in automation
Automation can greatly reduce the risk of human error (and subsequent outages) by handling simple workloads, such as device provisioning and firmware updates. However, companies that do have the resources to implement automation also recognize its limitations. Automation solutions that aren’t optimized leave IT teams with mundane tasks like managing, scheduling, and restarting bots. But to even reach this level of automation requires training staff who typically don’t have a background in programming or development.
These teams will be unfamiliar with NetOps/DevOps concepts. In order to develop essential automation practices, these employees will need to learn through trial and error. This is a problem because most organizations lack the proper automation infrastructure and tools that allow their IT teams to recover from mistakes. Operational teams in charge of keeping infrastructure running often fear automation for this exact reason — if they make one error, there’s the potential that it will bring down the network, lead to unhappy customers, and cost them their job.
Close these gaps with the Network Automation Blueprint
You can close these gaps for good using out-of-band, jump boxes, and tools you already have. After years of working directly with tech giants, we’ve created a best practice reference architecture any company can use to automate their network. This Network Automation Blueprint has been proven by global enterprises to increase capabilities and reduce workloads through trustworthy automation.