Cisco Canada Blog

Top 10 vendor considerations for the Digital Era

January 24, 2018

As autonomous, free-thinking humans, we make hundreds of conscious and unconscious decisions everyday that create impact—whether it’s personally, professionally, on a small or large scale. But the freedom of choice also presents a bit of a paradox. Having a plethora of available options at our fingertips is great, but sometimes it can all seem like too much when faced with a make-or-break decision that can have long-lasting effects.  How do we know for certain what will produce the best, desirable outcome?

The network is certainly no exception.

With so many vendors, technologies, and solutions out there claiming to offer what seem to be similar business outcomes, how can you be sure you’re making the right choice with your investment?  If one thing is certain, it’s not only that the wrong one can be costly – but also potentially dangerous –  according to former government officials referenced by the Globe and Mail.

But back to the analysts. In a recent whitepaper, analyst Zeus Kerravala identifies a shortlist of criteria which one should consider when selecting a new technology vendor when it’s time for an upgrade. After conducting several in-depth evaluations of network providers and interviews with IT professionals across industries, ZK Research concludes that your next refresh should take the following into consideration before committing to a technology partner:

1. Look for an intent-based networking solution.
An intelligent, adaptable network takes business intent and automatically transforms it into network configurations for hundreds of devices, reducing manual operation to the minimum while giving time back to IT.

2. Evaluate network security solutions.
The cyberthreat landscape has evolved, with more devices, users, and data surging the network at an unprecedented rate. Firewalls no longer provide sufficient defense; it’s time to seek a solution with end-to-end protection from the edge to the cloud, and the ability to detect threats even in encrypted traffic.

3. Simplify and automate your network.
Get network solutions that can help you make decisions faster. Mitigate more security threats. Provide business agility and scale by automating one policy across the entire access network to simplify management, streamline user experience, and troubleshoot faster.

“Networking is the underpinning for digital transformation; it’s the digital-ready foundation that will sustain a business as it forges into an uncertain future.” – ZK Research, November 2017

4. Take an architectural approach.
Not only do siloed, aging equipment slow down day-to-day business operations, it could be putting your network at risk and leaving your business vulnerable to attackers. Minimizing the number of vendors in your environment not only keeps you safer, it is also less costly and time consuming—leaving more time to innovate.

5. Review the total cost of ownership over the long term.
Up-front low costs can seem enticing, but over the long term you could end up spending more to compensate for lack of scale. A clear and defined network strategy will minimize downtime, be more secure, and perform more consistently.

Network decisions have never been so challenging, but keeping these tips in your back pocket when it’s time for an upgrade will help guide the evaluation process.  The end result could save you significant cash in the long run, and give you a competitive edge over your peers.  The bottom line? Think in years… not months.

Want the full checklist? Download the white paper for a deep dive into the findings.

More on how Cisco DNA stacks up to the competition.  >>>

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