Simplifying Network Operations with Digital Experience Monitoring

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Digital innovation continues to transform the network as part of an effort to increase operational agility and more efficiently meet the needs of customers and employees. At the same time, workers are demanding that the increased flexibility of working from home, kicked off in response to the pandemic, now be made permanent. As a result, IT teams are struggling to adapt and scale to this new work paradigm.

While these changes may have significantly enhanced business operations, they have also added complexities that make it difficult for IT teams to establish and maintain complete visibility into their environments—let alone perform critical troubleshooting tasks to address performance and security issues. The resulting fragmented visibility and control increase risk, and ironically, can even lead to a degraded user experience when the exact opposite was the goal.

Part of the challenge is that the traditional network perimeter and data center-based have been replaced with a multitude of new edges. As a result, data creation and storage have moved away from the corporate data center, complicating management and security. Business applications run across hybrid networks comprised of a traditional physical data center, multiple branch offices, a mix of private and multiple public cloud environments, mobile workers, and most recently, a significant number of remote workers often operating from uncontrolled and undersecured home networks. And understandably, users want the same experience, regardless of their device, to access any application or service from any location.

Three critical NOC challenges

To meet these rising user expectations, operations leaders need new monitoring technologies that can provide a unified view of all service components, from application code to infrastructure. In addition, such technologies should address the three key NOC challenges organizations face, enabling them to maintain a consistent user experience without compromising critical safeguards and protections.

  1. Manual operations: The speed of change and growth within today's networks far exceeds the ability of operations managers to keep up. Maintaining performance and availability across highly dynamic and highly distributed networks can quickly overwhelm even the most seasoned professionals. And in complex networks, there are often far too many manual steps/processes to implement network changes with any sort of reasonable efficiency. And when operators take longer to remediate user experience issues, they undermine the value of digital innovation efforts.
  1. Digital experience visibility: While ensuring user experience is a top priority for most organizations, few have the tools necessary to monitor those metrics. Disjointed monitoring tools are a primary culprit in the inability of NOC teams to manage user experience. And fewer can do anything about it if something goes amiss, even if they know why, especially at the speeds that today's applications require.
  1. Root cause analysis: Resolving user experience issues is complicated due to distributed nature of today's networks. Without the ability to see deeply into processes that can span the entire enterprise, discovering what and why something is impeding performance or availability and impacting user experience is nearly impossible. And because IT teams can't see the root cause for many of the issues that arise, they end up treating the same symptoms repeatedly.

These challenges tend to result from a disconnect between the tools and resources available in the NOC and the evolving business objectives they are trying to monitor and manage. Updating the NOC to better address those goals isn't just a "nice to have" wishlist. According to Gartner, 80% of enterprises that have aligned their network operations plans with their business-led objectives by 2024 will grow faster than their competitors.

The value of AIOps

Adding Artificial Intelligence to IT operations (AIOps) is a critical component of any NOC environment hoping to stay on top of today's diverse, distributed, and dynamic networks.

End-to-end visibility: By automatically connecting to and leveraging a diverse set of sensors and control points distributed across the network, an AIOps system can provide real-time visibility across the distributed network to monitor SLAs and user experience metrics. However, an AIOps solution cannot afford to be restricted to some subset of the network. Instead, it needs to provide a breadth of coverage across networking, end-user, and IoT devices as well as LAN, WAN, and cloud environments.

Root cause analysis: AIOps solutions can reduce Mean-Time-To-Identify (MTTI) issues in the network by automatically correlating data across devices and LAN, WAN, and cloud environments. This interface breadth enables it to find and understand anomalies in the network, such as user-to-application, through a single console.  And as the convergence of network and security functions plays a more significant role in maintaining functionality without compromising protections, the function of security policy must play a part in identifying the root cause of a performance issue and implementing an effective response. And as the AIOps system learns how the network is supposed to operate and combines that with security policy, efficiency can be increased because it can predict and automate the remediation of issues before they become incidents.

Integrated Response: AIOps should be a component of any NOC strategy, regardless of the organization's maturity level. For smaller companies, AI should be built into network and security management systems to enable unified visibility and control. Adding AI to SIEM solutions enhances their ability to identify and respond to issues. And by integrating AIOps-enhanced SOAR into the network operations of larger organizations, they can realize significant improvements in network operations efficiency while enabling network automation to proactively monitor, optimize, and protect highly complex and dynamic environments.

Automating and Simplifying Network Operations

To accelerate AIOps Network Operations, Fortinet has introduced FortiMonitor and FortiAIOps

Into its Security Fabric. Fortinet is now extending network monitoring beyond the Fortinet Security Fabric to third party network infrastructures, applications and clouds, providing comprehensive Digital Experience Monitoring (DEM) with FortiMonitor. FortiAIOps leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) models to eliminate manual analysis and correlates data from every network edge, automating anomaly detection.

Networks will continue to evolve, most likely at an exponential rate. And for far too many organizations, this means they are increasingly flying blind when monitoring and managing their network operations. Building an operations system that blends networking and security functions into a unified solution—significantly enhanced with AIOps—ensures that future growth is built on an adaptable and scalable foundation. Automated visibility and control and intelligent response enable flexibility and agility without compromising user experience, network functionality, or essential security.


Learn more about how Fortinet’s FortiMonitor and FortiAIOps are simplifying and accelerating network operations.


Learn how Fortinet’s Security-driven Networking strategy tightly integrates an organization’s network infrastructure and security architecture, enabling the network to scale and change without compromising security.



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