Networks Struggle to Cope With Changing Demands

Those surveyed also indicated that changes in work patterns and user expectations are impacting both information and application security.

There is a fast-growing discrepancy between the capabilities of their network infrastructures and what network administrators need to do their jobs effectively, according to a survey of more than 400 small and midsize businesses (SMBs) conducted by Freeform Dynamics on behalf of security and storage leader Barracuda Networks.

Approximately 52 percent of survey respondents admitted that managing application performance, availability and security is a significant problem due to a "disjointed, complex and hard-to-manage" environment.

Additional findings from the survey indicated that poor or unpredictable application performance is causing a problem, or at least a distraction for almost two-thirds (65 percent) of those surveyed.

In addition to performance and availability issues, those surveyed also indicated that changes in work patterns and user expectations are impacting both information and application security.

Almost two-thirds (63 percent) stated that changes in how data is used and moved pose a significant challenge when it comes to the security of accessing applications.

These changes are reflected with 81 percent of respondents recognizing that they need to move away from the "network perimeter" mindset for security and embrace an "application perimeter" approach.

"Everything is increasing–the traffic, the data, the access points and the number of users and devices," Wieland Alge, vice president and general manager of the EMEA region for Barracuda, said in a statement. "The survey results underpin how important it is for companies to consider all of these points in order to scale their network infrastructure."

Application outages also are impacting businesses, causing disruption in 64 percent of the businesses surveyed. With predictions that these issues are only set to increase, the respondents did recognize a need for change.

Just over one-fifth (21 percent) said employees connecting remotely are generating very high or high amounts of traffic on the network, and approximately 76 percent of those surveyed expect the load from employees connecting remotely to be higher or much higher within three years.

The vast majority (84 percent) cited current or future changes in working patterns as increasing the challenge associated with application access and security, and half of respondents said that growth in home working and/or other forms of remote access is impacting traffic on the corporate network.

"The network perimeter today is very ill defined. Remote workers, mobile devices, partners, customers and suppliers all are trying to access company resources that have traditionally resided behind a corporate network firewall," Tony Lock, director at Freeform Dynamics, said in a statement. "If you have too many holes in a wall, it gets really hard to keep the bad guys out and the important or critical data in."