Network security tops infrastructure investments

Network security is both the top challenge and the top investment priority for enterprise IT leaders, according to ISG.

network security investment priority

Network security challenges

60% of respondents to the ISG survey on network modernization ranked network security among their top five challenges, with 21% ranking it highest. At the same time, 75% identified network security as a top-five infrastructure investment priority for 2024, including a leading 26% who identified it as their top priority.

Of the network security challenges, protection from cyberattacks was the top concern for 23% of respondents and one of the top five concerns for 69%, followed by phishing and social engineering (the top concern for 12%), data privacy and compliance legislation (8%), identity and access management (7%), and the security implications of remote work (6%).

Underscoring the focus on network security, the study also found that CISOs have the greatest impact on evaluating network services and solutions and determining the organization’s network strategy. This finding indicates networks are now widely considered a cybersecurity domain.

“With CISOs leading network decisions, security is now integrated into core technology and transformation decisions,” said Alex Bakker, ISG Distinguished Analyst and co-author of the study. “The practice of involving the CISO early in the technology buying process can result in faster decisions and closer alignment between business, technology and security objectives.”

Enterprises less optimistic about legacy infrastructure management

Most enterprises gave high marks to their network security and their network performance in support of a remote workforce. 61% of respondents say their network security is better than peer companies, and 54% say their network’s ability to support a remote workforce is better than others.

Enterprises are less positive about their management of legacy infrastructure, with only 32% rating their network’s performance as better than others. Similarly, only 35% of respondents feel they are achieving more value for money than peer companies from their network technology investments, and only 31% say their provider ecosystem is performing better than competitors’.

“Businesses are currently achieving meaningful network savings of around 9% from network modernization, but to maintain those levels, they are looking to network providers to be more proactive in finding future savings and more transparent about what those savings will look like,” said Michael Dornan, principal analyst and study co-author.

“14% of our survey respondents said cost reduction and efficiency is the most important key performance indicator in network services contracts and 62% rated it a top-five KPI,” added Dornan.

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