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March 30, 2022

How to decide if a network digital twin is right for your company – Consider these ten questions

by Dawn Slusher

Interest in digital twin technology is on the rise, likely driven by the pressure placed on IT teams to ensure that their networks are predictable, agile, and secure. Network and security operations teams are actively investigating how implementing a digital twin can help their teams become more proactive and provide confidence that the network will behave as expected, even in the face of constant change.

Why is Digital Twin Technology Trending?

Interest in digital twin technology continues to trend upwards as more enterprise shops realize the need for software to monitor and understand network behavior. Most large enterprises have networks that have grown over the past two or three decades; they are a complex system of devices from dozens of vendors using multiple operating systems that run on billions (yes, BILLIONS) of lines of configuration code. And let’s not forget, the network is constantly changing; any diagram is out of date the second it’s printed.

In the midst of this complexity, the network has arguably become more important to businesses than their physical buildings — including storefronts. If one location is forced to close, the rest of the system operates as usual; if part of the network goes down, the entire corporate operation often comes to a standstill. It takes a pretty significant and unusual event to close down a location, but one typo alone can take down the network.

So, complexity multiplied by criticality is driving interest in digital twins. Gartner Group’s report, Emerging Technologies and Trends Impact Radar: Communications, discusses the impact of digital twin software on enterprise networks and future adoption rates.

Will Digital Twin Software Help My Security and Network Operations Teams?

Let’s face it, most IT shops are drowning in tools, which may make the idea of a digital twin sound cumbersome instead of exciting. But it shouldn’t be — digital twins can do more than discrete tools and deliver information in intuitive, actionable formats. To determine if your organization could benefit from a digital twin, ask yourself if any of the following 10 statements are true:

  1. My engineers spend most of their time proactively improving the network.
  2. When there’s an issue on the network, we can pinpoint the source in seconds without performing manual path and configuration searches.
  3. We do not have a backlog of new applications to deploy that are awaiting security review.
  4. We can prove our security posture throughout our hybrid multi-cloud environment with mathematical certainty.
  5. When a CVE alert is issued, we immediately know which devices on our network are impacted and the severity of the impact.
  6. We have checks in place to ensure that we don’t make expensive cloud routing mistakes.
  7. We perform verification checks before pushing automated updates live.
  8. The configuration code in my network is searchable.
  9. We immediately understand the potential blast radius if a network device is compromised.
  10. We can test how a firewall change will impact the network before pushing it live.

If you ranked any of the statements above as false, a digital twin can help your team be more efficient and effective at running the network. Most of the Fortune 1000 enterprises we speak with have stated that most, if not all, of these statements were false before working with us. Once they see our digital twin in action, they never want to go back. To get an individual assessment of how a digital twin can help your engineering team, request a demo.

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