TLDR - check out the Enterprise Strategy Group eBook, End-to-End Networking Visibility and Management.

If you have a single vendor, single cloud homogenous network where everything is documented, you know where every device is, and you know all the possible paths in your network, then you are a networking deity.  

Realistically, nobody has a “simple” and fully documented network. Mainly because enterprises grew over time with the organization. New equipment was added as needed or as part of an acquisition. The typical enterprise environment now includes dozens of hardware vendors with devices running a multitude of operating systems, billions of lines of constantly changing configuration code and multiple public clouds. For most of the practitioners we’ve worked with, this means a “simple” task like physically locating a device will take days to weeks. Even the most basic troubleshooting activity can take hours to complete.

 It’s impossible to adequately manage or secure what you cannot see. End-to-end visibility is table stakes for mitigating risk when making changes, having visibility over remote workers, and securing the network.

There is general consensus among engineers that increasing network complexity is making visibility the biggest challenge and highest priority for protecting network health. According to a recent Enterprise Strategy Group eBook, End-to-End Networking Visibility and Management, there is a multitude of drivers for increasing network complexity:

Source: Enterprise Strategy Group eBook, End-to-End Network Visibility and Management, October 2022.

Most enterprise IT shops are approaching network visibility manually, creating Visio diagrams or excel spreadsheets to document topology and inventory.  At best, these documents are out of date the moment they are published; in actuality, they are often months, even years old. In an era of highly distributed networking and remote work, this approach is unacceptable.

Network visibility is one of the key features of Forward Networks’ network digital twin technology. A large financial services firm that deployed Forward Enterprise discovered that only 25% of its network lab inventory was accurate. Many of the devices they thought were on the network had been decommissioned, and the majority of devices in-service were not documented. This was the most highly monitored portion of their network. As their network leader said, “The depth of what we do not know about our network is far greater than what we do know.” 

To learn more, we invite you to read the Enterprise Strategy Group eBook on End-to-End Networking Visibility and Management. To see how your company can gain detailed end-to-end visibility in a single platform, please meet with one of our engineers.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., June 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Forward Networks, the industry leader in network assurance and intent-based verification, announced today that its Forward Enterprise solution has been named a Gold Globee® Winner for the Network Management category in the 16th Annual 2021 IT World Awards®. This award is part of The Globee® Awards' premier business awards programs and ranking lists, which recognize information technology and cybersecurity vendors with advanced, ground-breaking products, solutions, and services that are helping raise the bar for others in all areas of technology and cybersecurity.

Forward Networks' Forward Enterprise won the Gold Globee® for Network Management solutions
Forward Networks' Forward Enterprise won the Gold Globee® for Network Management solutions

Forward Enterprise helps network operations engineers be more efficient and effective while avoiding outages through its unique mathematical model. The platform creates a digital twin of the network (across on-premises devices, private and public cloud) enabling network operators to map all possible traffic paths, instantly troubleshoot, verify intent, predict network behavior and reduce MTTR (mean time to resolution). The platform helps large IT organizations make their networks more predictable, agile, and secure by providing a single source of truth for all teams. Companies using Forward Enterprise report significant time savings, cost reduction and improved ability to deploy new applications.

"We are honored that the Forward Enterprise platform is a Golden Globee recipient for Network Management solutions in the 2021 IT World Awards," said Chiara Regale, VP of product at Forward Networks. "Our purpose is to reduce the burden network operations engineers face on a daily basis by providing detailed analysis and verification of device state and configuration, visualization of all possible traffic paths and the ability to predict how changes will impact the network before they are made. Being recognized by the Globee Awards is validation that we are delivering on that promise."

More than 65 judges from around the world representing a wide spectrum of industry experts participated in the judging process. The IT World Awards are open to all Information Technology and Cyber Security organizations from all over the world and their end-users of products and services.

"The information technology industry continues to show its resilience," said San Madan, co-President of Globee Awards. "The tech sector is robust and innovative. And the pandemic has changed the way people live, work, shop, and socialize thereby accelerating demand for newer technologies and innovations everywhere."

For more information on Forward Networks and its solutions, visit www.ForwardNetworks.com.

See the complete list of 2021 winners here: https://globeeawards.com/it-world-awards/winners/.

About the Globee Awards 

Globee Awards are conferred in eleven programs and competition: the CEO World Awards®, the Consumer World Awards®, The Customer Sales & Service World Awards®, the Globee® International Best in Business Awards, the Golden Bridge Awards®, the Cyber Security Global Excellence Awards® and Security World Awards, the IT World Awards®, One Planet® American Best in Business Awards, the Globee® Employer Excellence Awards®, the Globee® Corporate Communications & Marketing World Awards, and the Women World Awards®. Honoring organizations of all types and sizes and the people behind their success, the Globee Awards recognize outstanding achievements and performances in businesses worldwide. Learn more about the Globee Awards at https://globeeawards.com.

Network complexity has reached nearly unmanageable proportions for most organizations. With thousands of devices, millions of lines of code to configure networks, and constant updates, it has become nearly impossible to track network topology details, let alone network policies, behavior, and capabilities end-to-end. The result is a network infrastructure that is resistant to change and risk, which reduces the ability of the IT team to quickly address changing business needs and application requirements. Can Automated network mapping solutions stem the tide of complexity and tedious resource drain?

For many organizations, the state of the art for network maps and documentation is Visio diagrams or spreadsheets of device names and IP addresses. Even network management tools can not keep pace with the rapidly changing details of dynamic network environments. Organizations have to rely on senior network engineers to track network details, but such expertise is easily lost and learning curves are steep and expensive. 

Organizations need to automate the network mapping process, so that information is always up-to-date and accurate, while reducing overhead in documenting network details. Automated network mapping software can form a single-source-of-truth for network details, configurations, topology maps, and connections. The ideal automated network mapping solution can even turn the tens of millions of network details, security policies, connections and forwarding rules into a usable database where such information is readily accessible with simple queries to be used in troubleshooting, network analysis or compliance checks. 

The heart of an automated network mapping solution is the centralized process that can access each device and collect and organize the relevant data. With all of the right details, a current network topology diagram can be generated quickly to guide network management tasks and workflows. 

Automated network mapping is one of the key use cases and features of the Forward Enterprise platform. Forward Enterprise collects all network information, including forwarding tables and security rules, from each device in order to build an interactive map of the network topology. The information is organized into a database as well, with a simple query language to quickly identify configuration errors, outdated systems, or down links. 

Network collections, to update the automated network map, can be scheduled periodically or pulled on-demand, to make sure that IT managers always have access to current information. Information from the automated network map can then guide a wide range of network management workflows and processes. Automated network mapping can also ensure that all team members and IT silos have access to the information they need, no matter where they are on the learning curve of managing a complex enterprise network. 

The Forward Networks automated network mapping capability even includes cloud networks. Network maps can show flows throughout a multi-site on-premises data center over a WAN connection and to public cloud providers such as Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure. Being able to visualize a contiguous network map across multiple vendors, sites and service providers is a powerful debugging and analysis tool that can quickly improve IT operations. 

As networks become more complex and require more frequent updates, organizations need to automate more of the management tasks. Automated network mapping should be a primary focus to ensure that an accurate, always-up-to-date view of the network topology and key management details are available to accelerate IT processes.

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