Network Field Report 2021: How Companies Manage Their IT Networks

January 15, 2021

Executive Summary

The 2021 Network Field Report presents key takeaways on how in-house IT administrators at companies of various sizes manage their networks, how knowledgeable and confident they are about their networks, which tasks occupy the majority of their time, and how often they outsource network-related tasks and functions. In places, the report also compares this year’s findings with the results of a similar study conducted in 2015.

Responses from 353 IT professionals in 2020 indicate:

  • Confidence in the network is generally quite high. But almost a third of IT pros know nothing or very little about how their organization’s network is configured. More than 75% of IT pros with no or little knowledge of their network configuration still report high or very high confidence in the networks. This could indicate a massive blind spot for these companies.
  • Network configuration changes happen frequently at companies of every size. Despite these frequent changes, more than a quarter of organizations never or rarely update their network documentation. And only about one-third of organizations back up their network device configurations daily or weekly. These numbers also represent significant network risk for many companies.
  • IT pros are working fewer hours on reactive tasks than five years ago, which is good news. But across the board, IT pros still spend much of their time on tasks that could be easily automated. On the positive side, this means there are plentiful opportunities to improve the efficiency and productivity of IT teams.
  • Overall, we see a significant portion of companies with vulnerabilities in their network management, including a lack of network visibility, configuration backups, proactive network planning, and up-to-date documentation. Despite these vulnerabilities, the majority of IT pros report high confidence in their networks, indicating a potential mismatch between perception and reality: The biggest risk of all may be IT pros who are unaware of the weaknesses in their network management.

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IT networks, Network management