Aryaka’s Findings on Cloud Adoption, Hybrid Workplaces, Convergence of Network Security

Aryaka, a leader in fully managed Cloud-First WAN solutions, has released its sixth annual “2021 State of the WAN Report,” the industry’s foremost compendium of insights into global SD-WAN and SASE planning. Sixteen hundred information technology (IT) enterprise decision makers across global enterprises answered the survey, the largest response since its inception. Key trends identified in the report include:

  • A quarter of the respondents state they have closed 25-50 percent of their office sites, dovetailing into overall hybrid work initiatives where 75 percent state that at least a quarter of their employees will remain remote permanently post-pandemic.
  • Accelerating digital transformation initiatives also impact legacy data centers, with 51 percent planning to eliminate their use within the next 24 months as they move to the cloud.
  • The surveyed group says Microsoft Teams (58 percent) and Office 365 (55 percent) are among the most widely adopted SaaS applications, followed by Zoom and Google Docs (35 percent).
  • A quarter of respondents expect budgets to grow by 25 percent or more in the next year, with a full three-quarters projecting at least a 10 percent Investment appears to be accompanied via cost savings.
  • A move to simplify, adopting a more cloud-centric and agile approach, is driving convergence. In the context of network and security, trends include the Secure Access Service Edge (SASE), with 64 percent deploying or planning to deploy over the next year. Over two-thirds will opt for a managed SASE to help address complexity and costs, but challenges include complexity at 40 percent, a single or dual-vendor approach at 39 percent, and developing a phased migration strategy at 33 percent. Observability and control should help with deployments, identified by over two-thirds as a top imperative.

“This year’s Aryaka State of the WAN includes many valuable insights backing up trends we see in the industry. These include the effects of hybrid work, with 75 percent projecting a quarter of their employees to remain at least part-time remote, and cloud connectivity demands skyrocketing with 51 percent planning to move away from traditional data centers over the next two years. Both initiatives will require more sophisticated network-as-a-service (NaaS) solutions with integrated security offerings,” said Scott Raynovich founder and chief analyst of Futuriom.

Year-on-Year Trends and Shifting Priorities

In Aryaka’s 2021 State of the WAN Report, 21 percent indicated that half of their workforce would be working remote post-pandemic. This year that number increased by 11 percent, with 32 percent reporting that at least half of their workforce would be permanently remote.

Collaboration and productivity suites have gained traction. The Microsoft suite has gained momentum, with Teams identified by respondents as the most deployed application, growing its footprint by more than half, from 34 percent in 2021 to 58 percent this year. Conversely, Google Docs dropped from 41 percent last year to 35 percent today with Microsoft 365 now at 55 percent.

A renewed interest in ROI was reflected in this year’s report, with 36 percent of respondents having cost concerns, an increase of 16 percent vs last year. Though budgets are expected to increase by 25 percent, for networking and security, the focus on ROI implies these increases must be spent judiciously. 

Aryaka 6th Annual State of the WAN 2022 – Four Themes:

  • Acceleration of Remote and Hybrid Work – The report looks at challenges in supporting the hybrid workforce, hybrid work trends and investments planned to support this new environment. Seventy-five percent state that at least a quarter of their employees will remain hybrid post-pandemic, aligned with the closure of physical facilities, with a quarter stating they have closed 25-50 percent of their office sites. Effectively managing worker movement between on-premises and remote requires dynamic bandwidth reallocation, identified by 61 percent as very important.
  • Application Performance and Consumption – In addition, the report dives into the diversity of applications in use and resulting challenges, how enterprises plan to address these, and potential concerns. As noted earlier, collaboration and productivity applications like Microsoft Teams and Office 365 experienced some of the strongest growth, but there was an overall uptick in SaaS application adoption including Zoom (35 percent), Salesforce (28 percent), and SAP/HANA (25 percent). Performance still must improve, with 42 percent identifying slow performance for remote and mobile users a key issue, followed by 37 percent calling out slow performance at the branch.
  • Managing Complexity and Managed Services Adoption – The report addresses what managed services enterprises expect, including SD-WAN and SASE implementation plans and budgets, as well as perceived barriers to adoption. This section also looks at MPLS migration. In evaluating managed services, enterprises continue to demand more from their providers, and are looking for a wider set of offers, an all-in-one SD-WAN and SASE that includes the WAN (45 percent), security (67 percent), application optimization (40 percent), last mile management (29 percent), and multi-cloud connectivity (27 percent). The movement to SD-WAN SASE also follows the movement away from MPLS, with 46 percent planning to terminate some or all contracts over the next year. Enterprises are generally bullish on their budgets, with a quarter expecting it to grow by 25 percent or more, and a total of three quarters expecting at least 10 percent growth.
  • Networking and Security Convergence Including a SASE Architecture – SASE represents a promise of a converged Cloud-First architecture, but there are concerns on complexity and adoption. Forty-two percent state that lackluster application performance is a time sink, and 34 percent consider security to be a major priority. This path to SASE adoption includes setting a strategy (35 percent), phasing out of legacy VPNs (32 percent), as well as consolidating cloud security with zero-trust (29 percent). Top desired capabilities include a SWG (47 percent), SD-WAN (36 percent), and FWaaS (28 percent). Implementation concerns identified earlier are balanced by expected advantages that include time and cost reduction (37 percent), as well as agility (33 percent), while decision-making is distributed mostly across networking and security, 41 percent state it is consolidated. Finally, over two-thirds plan to consume SASE as a managed offer.

Download Aryaka’s 6th Annual State of the WAN report here.

Aryaka to Host 2022 The State of the WAN Webinars

Join Aryaka at these dates/times for a lively panel discussion on the “Aryaka 2022 Global State of the WAN.” Regional observations will also be presented:

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