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Vulnerable obsolete devices on networks + new cyber-security remote working risks = Trouble!

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Businesses now face new cyber-security risks, as nearly half of assets are obsolete or ageing as compared with just 3 years ago.

Prolonged refresh cycles have become normal for businesses, as they retain assets whilst operations move to multi-cloud environments.

This trend has resulted in the proportion of European organisations working with ageing or obsolete assets rise to 45.6%, from 12% in 2017.

Investment

The 2020 Global Network Insights Report from NTT Ltd  discovered investment in the cloud is outstripping organisations’ on-premises infrastructure spend.

When businesses move applications to multi-cloud environments the patterns of refresh & upgrade patterns slow down, with a lack of investment in redesigning on-premises network & security infrastructure, the report has found.

Insights are gained from data taken from technology assessments across over 1,000 clients covering 800,000 network devices.

Security Architecture Strategies

Rob Lopez, NTT Ltd Executive Vice-President, Intelligent Infrastructure, observed “In this ‘new normal’ many businesses will need, if not be forced, to review their network & security architecture strategies, operating & support models to better manage operational risk.

“We expect to see strategy shift from a focus on business continuity to preparation for the future as lock-down begins to ease.

“Network infrastructure needs to be appropriately architected & managed to deal with unplanned surges, which will require a re-look at cloud & on-premises infrastructure to reduce the impact & frequency of business-critical outages.”

Obsolete

The increase in obsolete & un-patched network devices that often are accompanied by software vulnerabilities has brought new risks & exposed organisations to information security threats.

Things have now worsened with the Covid-19 crisis, with an increase in bandwidth usage putting a  larger strain on networks, making existing problems worse.

With remote working, remote access & rising usage of voice & video services, business networks & security infrastructure are under totally unprecedented levels of new pressure.

Obsolete devices have, on average, double the vulnerabilities per device (42.2%) if compared with ageing (26.8%) & current ones (19.4%), mentions the report.

Patch

This risk is worsened if businesses do not patch a device or check the operating system version over its lifetime & many businesses still do not patch their devices.

With the adoption of new wireless infrastructure increasing by 13% year-on-year worldwide, a rise of open office & co-working spaces, a ‘new approach’ to all network architecture will be required, the report commented.

Digital Transformation

Lopez explained further, “The network is the platform for business digital transformation. It needs to be ubiquitous, flexible, robust & secure to adapt easily to business change while increasing the maturity of the operational support environment.

“Businesses that use a high-level of network automation & intelligence to optimise operations will gain a significant competitive advantage & realise the benefits of the cloud economy, securely.”

NTT said that businesses will need the tools, knowledge & expertise to be able to change the network for the short, mid & long-term evolution of the ‘new normal’ i.e. people working remotely.

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