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We partnered with GNS3® on a survey with the intention of uncovering existing trends in the network and security automation space. We’re excited to announce that the results are now in!

From the nearly 700 responses that we collected, we found that a programming knowledge gap is having an impact on the productivity of the businesses that were surveyed, putting network availability at risk. Our respondents identified creating, parsing, and analyzing scripts as the biggest gaps in their knowledge for managing network and security efforts. Due to a lack of programming experience, we found that our respondents spend over 60% of their time on repetitive support and troubleshooting activities and less time contributing to strategic initiatives.

After we analyzed the results of the survey, we saw three main findings that need to be addressed in order for companies to ensure their networks stay secure and available.

Automation is a Necessity to Keep the Business Running

Managers and individual contributors in engineering and IT operations agree automation is a priority to keep the lights on as 68% of automation projects are commissioned to ensure network availability:

Programming Knowledge is Needed

Talent is the biggest barrier to automation and it’s understandable as to why. As the security threat landscape evolves and the innovation continues in Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), monitoring and managing the network has become more than a full-time job.

Over ⅓ of respondents say that “urgency support and troubleshooting” is the single most time-consuming task. We asked respondents where they need knowledge and the top three gaps are:

  1. How to create scripts / what commands to use to extract data
  2. How to parse data returned from scripts
  3. How to process and analyze device data

Provisioning is Last on the Automation List

Nearly every organization is moving their applications and servers to the cloud. When it comes to network and security components, Enterprises are following suit by migrating bare- metal services to virtual machines.

Our survey shows that the majority (73%) of individuals surveyed are migrating to virtual machines, yet only 1/3 (33%) have begun to use these services to automate provisioning. Tasks related to high availability, network visibility, and security and compliance are indicated by survey respondents to be better candidates for automation.

Upon analyzing the results of the survey and uncovering these findings, we came up with three recommendations for NetOps and SecOps teams to take into consideration.

Automate Repetitive, Mundane Tasks Related to Network Availability

Less than 1/3 of IT organizations are leveraging runbooks to reduce cost and increase productivity. However, those leveraging this kind of dynamic documentation find it 82% effective. Identify solutions that enable you to document runbooks jointly across Engineering, Operations, and third-party vendors (eg. Firewall Manufacturer, Managed Service Provider, etc).

Facilitate Collaboration Across Departments

Every organization is unique and technologies will continue to evolve. As a result, IT must learn how to become more agile. Taking steps to creating a culture that is collaborative is crucial to facilitating collaboration between departments. To do so, you can provide your team with the technology and processes to share knowledge across departments.

Grow Your Talent From Within Through Certifications

The technology landscape is constantly evolving and your network and security teams need to be fluent in the latest technologies to address opportunities to maintain and scale your business. The way to scale and make the network high availability secure and compliant is through consistent implementation of best practices.

We hope you found our findings and recommendations helpful and that you can implement these practices into your organization.

To dive deeper into each of our findings and recommendations download the full 2018 Network and Security Automation Trends Report.