5 Things Your Network Needs In 2016

  • Last week I wrote about the essentials to keep your network up to par in today's IT environments. Now it's time to talk about preparing for the future.

    If your organization hasn't planned for the future of networking, you are already late to the game. True, with the many demands of today's IT landscape, it is challenging to both tackle current problems and prepare for the future. However, it's never been more important to have a focus on both.

    Just as the lessons learned from the past helped shape the a new set of essentials for network administration and management, today's new essentials will shape those of tomorrow.

    Here we focus on emerging trends and technologies that will affect your network in the near future. Some you may immediately implement, some you'll just start planning for, but all will help prepare for the next phase of evolution in networks.

    (Image: agsandrew/iStockphoto)

  • SDN and NFV

    It's inevitable that software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) will eventually pick up speed in organizations and transform networks. Network managers may not be implementing this technology right away, but they need to be prepared for the implications of a hybrid infrastructure and understand what's in store.

    (Image: slavemotion/iStockphoto)

  • Application firewalls

    Applications rule everything in modern organizations and IT environments. For this reason, firewalls should be equipped to perform deep packet analysis and move beyond Layer 4 to understand traffic at the application layer Layer 7. Network administrators must practice "out with the old, in with the new" and consider adapting to new infrastructures to ensure they are keeping up with the pace of technology advancement in businesses.

    (Image: lmilian/iStockphoto)

  • Internet of all the things

    The era of network connected everything is upon us. Between bring-your-own-everything and the Internet of Things, the number of devices (think not only mobile devices, but your company's coffee pot or toaster oven, HVAC infrastructure, lighting and security) connecting to the network will cause exponential network growth. Some of the devices will be bandwidth hogs, many will bring new vulnerabilities to the network, and all of them will require network managers to rethink their network design and management strategies.

    (Image: Weedezign/iStockphoto)

  • IPv6

    With today's devices IPv6 enabled already and with IPv4 addresses depleted it's time to shape up or ship out when it comes to making the switch. The option has been around for a while, and some took it seriously while others didn't. Now IT pros can no longer wait. And while you're transitioning, get up to speed on timely IPv6 news like attack attempts and how to mitigate them so you can best prepare your networks for the IPv6 era.

    (Image: akinbostanci/iStockphoto)

  • Internet & cloud service providers

    Between the high cost and unnecessary complexities, we're going to see traditional wide area networks slowly pushed to the side and used only when it makes the most sense (think when rewards are greater than the risks). That's where service providers come into play; they can help mitigate cost and simplify the network to reach peak optimization.

    (Image: joci03/iStockphoto)