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The ROI of a Network Digital Twin

The financial return on aligning your team, simplifying troubleshooting, ensuring compliance, and avoiding outages
Managing Director, Technology
Multinational Investment Bank + Financial Services Company
Business Growth

The Real Value of Forward Networks

“We started our journey with Forward Networks defining success as lower operational costs. Once we began using it, we discovered so many other use cases. Embracing Forward Networks has enabled us to support business growth and new product offerings — things we wouldn’t have been able to do using our previous technology.”

What is a Network Digital Twin?

A network digital twin is a digital model of the network that makes network data accessible and actionable to ensure the network behaves as expected and is secure.

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 of lines of configuration code that is constantly being updated.  An additional complication is the reality that the majority of enterprises operate in multiple clouds.

 

With this increased sophistication comes increased fragility; a single typo during an update has led to major outages. Imagine trying to manually track down the errant code while your company is making the headlines nobody wants. Not only is money being lost during the outage, but the company’s reputation is being damaged.

 

Based on a mathematical model, the Forward Enterprise digital twin is a virtual representation of the entire network capable of computing every possible path a packet could take. By securely collecting data from network devices, Forward Enterprise makes the entire network searchable, unlocking previously obfuscated yet valuable data.

 

Forward Networks is designed for the reality of multi-vendor hybrid multi-cloud enterprise networks, providing support for all major networking and security vendors, AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Data is collected, parsed, and normalized, providing actionable insights that don’t require specific vendor or technology expertise to interpret.

 

NetOps, SecOps, and CloudOps teams use this data to drastically reduce time spent diagnosing problems, leading to a more agile, reliable, and secure network.

 

Gartner believes that digital twin technology is transformational for enterprises, noting that the technology can improve delivery times for requests by 20% across the network. To learn more, read the 2023 Gartner Hype Cycle for Enterprise Networking report.

 

VIDEO: Learn how a digital twin delivers instant value [6:43]

Video

Learn How a Network Digital Twin Works

Learn how a network digital twin works from Forward Networks' CTO and co-Founder, Brandon Heller [4 min]
Watch on YouTube
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Network Outages
are Expensive and Preventable

Over 80% of network problems are due to improper 
configuration and change management
Gartner 2023 Hype Cycle for Enterprise Networking
12M
customers affected
39M
disrupted users
$691k
avg hourly cost
$1M
hourly cost of 25% 
of large enterprises
“When we evaluated 8 P1 outages, we realized Forward Networks would have prevented or assisted in 7 of them; those savings would have immediately paid for the platform.” 
-- Managing Director of Technology, Global Investment Firm

Recent Major Outages Caused by Human Error:

  • A software configuration error caused all US flights to be grounded, delaying or canceling thousands of flights in Q1 of 2023
  • A configuration error at KDDI caused over 39 million users to suffer service disruption for 86 hours, impacting critical services across multiple industries in Q3 of 2022
  • A BGP misconfiguration took Microsoft offline for 90 minutes in January of 2023 leaving Microsoft customers unable to reach Teams, Outlook, SharePoint, and other services
  • A botched maintenance update at Rogers Communications disrupted phone and internet service for 12 million people for over a day in August 2022
  • According to a Spring 2023 survey by IDC, The average cost of downtime for large enterprises (5,000+ employees) = $691K per hour
  • 1 in 4 of these large enterprises report their cost of downtime is over $1M per hour.

(Reference)

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Forward Networks Use Cases

A Digital Twin Saves Time and Money

To learn how democratizing the network benefitted the leader of a large government network, view this webinar to learn how democratizing network data helped this IT Leader secure budget and improve efficiency. [48 min]
Watch on YouTube
ROI of a Network Digital Twin

Universal IT

One of the prime benefits of democratizing network data is increasing collaboration amongst the various IT teams. A single source of truth enables teams to work more efficiently, reduce OpEx, and ensure compliance throughout the hybrid multi-cloud network.

Workflow Automation

Improve workflow efficiency with ServiceNow Integrations

Opening tickets is a tedious task prone to human error. Once a ticket is open and routed, the engineer on the receiving end often spends hours or days researching the issue. Through an API integration with ServiceNow, Forward Enterprise streamlines that process. NetOps teams can choose to automatically open tickets when specific verification checks fail; that information is then routed with a link to Forward Enterprise containing the details of the issue such as device configuration. Operators opening manual tickets can include links to Forward Enterprise so the recipient has all the necessary information at their fingertips.

“During a major outage, we no longer have to host calls with 100 engineers who then have to manually log into devices to collect information to diagnose the problem.  Now an engineer performs a path search in Forward Enterprise, and all the configuration information is at their fingertips in the application.  We can solve the problem much faster than before.”

Network Operator, Global Entertainment Company

Inventory Management

Know exactly what’s in your network for accurate support contracts and EOL management

For most operations teams, the network inventory is a series of outdated .CSV files and the “communal knowledge” held sacred by the organization’s most seasoned IT staff. That puts the entire team at a disadvantage, slowing ticket resolution, increasing the opportunity for errors, and creating potential security and compliance issues.

Forward Enterprise provides a very accurate device discovery process that delivers an exportable, always-current inventory of your network, available at the click of a mouse. According to an IT leader at a global financial services company, knowing his inventory is accurate has saved his company “seven figures” by preventing them from paying maintenance on devices no longer in use, and integration with his CMBD had improved lifecycle management and helped his team make better use of new devices.  Learn more by watching the webinar.

 

Customer Story

$6 Million Savings: How Rapid Insights Led To Valuable Network Upgrades

Learn how an accurate inventory saved a large Federal organization $6 million during a refresh by preventing them from purchasing unnecessary equipment
Read the blog

Automated Compliance + Audits

Custom verification checks alert anytime the network is out of compliance; snapshots provide proof of compliance over time

Ensuring network compliance in a hybrid multi-cloud environment is nearly impossible without a digital twin. With teams of engineers making changes and updates to tens of thousands of devices, mistakes are inevitable.

Using custom verification checks in Forward Enterprise, administrators can regularly scan the network to search for misconfigurations, lack of connectivity, or lack of redundancy to proactively identify and remediate non-compliant configurations before they cause an incident.

Customer Story

Global Entertainment Company Saves Hundreds of IT Hours Every Year with
Forward Networks

For a global entertainment company 4 simple checks saved over 700 work hours and prevented two possible outages
Read the case study

"Our company has gone through many FBA (Federal Banking Administration) audits. We successfully demonstrate that we have standards, but struggle to demonstrate which devices are in compliance, and don’t have easy way to remediate the devices which are non-compliant. Forward Networks is automating this process for us, saving countless hours of work."

--IT Manager at leading Fortune 250 Financial Services Company

 

A $9 billion banking company reduced audit time by 80% and proactively detected over 1,500 vulnerabilities in a two-year period

 

 

Change Window Management

Expedite change maintenance windows while preventing business disruption

Forward Enterprise enables SecOps teams to find misconfigurations and vulnerabilities on hosts and devices before a breach occurs. Using data collected from the network, integration with the NIST database, and integrations with vulnerability scanning and assessment tools, the platform identifies risks and helps prioritize how to remediate them to keep your network safe.

 

Expensive security breaches are on the rise

 

"Almost 60% of enterprises said they had experienced some kind of cybersecurity incident in the last 12 months. The incidents cost 71% of organizations affected at least US$100,000, with 41% saying the overall cost was US$500,000 or more." -- March 2023 Cybersecurity Readiness Index Report

 

  • In 2022, known vulnerabilities drove the most cyber-attacks, with long-known vulnerabilities frequently causing the most destruction.  (Source).
  • March 2023 – Nation State Hackers exploited a four-year-old known CVE to compromise a government agency (Source)
  • A misconfigured Microsoft cloud endpoint exposed customer data, such as names, email addresses, email content, and phone numbers.  (Source)

 

 

Network Automation

Prevent Expensive Mistakes with Closed-loop Automation

A misconfiguration entered into automation software by the chief IT infrastructure engineer for a health care organization caused all of the production servers across the U.S. to fail. It took his team eight hours to rebuild all DNS servers from scratch.
Watch on YouTube
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ROI of a Network Digital Twin

Network Security

Proactively identify non-compliance and vulnerabilities before a breach occurs

Forward Enterprise enables SecOps teams to find misconfigurations and vulnerabilities on hosts and devices before a breach occurs. Using data collected from the network, integration with the NIST database, and integrations with vulnerability scanning and assessment tools, the platform identifies risks and helps prioritize how to remediate them to keep your network safe.

 

Expensive security breaches are on the rise

 

Almost 60% of enterprises said they had experienced some kind of cybersecurity incident in the last 12 months. The incidents cost 71% of organizations affected at least US$100,000, with 41% saying the overall cost was US$500,000 or more. March 2023 Cybersecurity readiness index report

 

  • In 2022, known vulnerabilities drove the most cyber-attacks, with long-known vulnerabilities frequently causing the most destruction.  Source: Tenable 2022 Threat Landscape Report.
  • March 2023 – Nation State Hackers exploited a four year old known CVE to compromise a government agency Source: TechCrunch
  • A misconfigured Microsoft cloud endpoint exposed customer data, such as names, email addresses, email content, and phone numbers.  Source: Dark Reading

 

 

Security Posture Verification 
for Hybrid Multi-cloud Environments

Always current, at-a-glance micro-segmentation verification

Without a current and comprehensive visual representation of network policies and configurations, it’s exceptionally challenging for teams to know with certainty whether a specific area (e.g. subnet, firewall zone, or cloud security group) in the network has intended connectivity or isolation between areas.

This lack of visibility undermines the very foundation of network security.

Most enterprises are incapable of proving their end-to-end security posture across the entire environment, this leaves them open to attacks. Forward Enterprise provides this information in an always current, fully customizable, and easy-to-read table (Read the Use Case).

In 2023, the average cost of a data breach has reached a record high of US$ 4.45 million, an increase of 2% compared to 2022 (US$ 4.35 million).

Source: 2023 cost of a data breach report by IBM and the Ponemon Institute

Incident Response

Know your attack surface and device “blast radius” in an instant to speed remediation

It’s impossible to secure devices you cannot see. In the event of a breach, teams of people are often dedicated to locating compromised devices for days or weeks, while the risk continues. The feature instantly assesses and reports the depth and breadth of the reach of a compromised host providing teams detailed understanding of the exposure post-attack. Using data already collected by the platform, calculating an exportable blast radius report is as simple as inputting the IP address and clicking a button; the information is also exportable as a .CSV file (Read the Use Case)

  • 94% of enterprise IT teams admit they are not aware of every device in their network. 59 percent of IT Teams can find less than 75 percent of their network assets. (Source)
  • 48% of devices are at risk because they are no longer detected by the organization’s IT department or the endpoints’ operating systems have become outdated. (Source)
  • One global enterprise spent $1 million and 3 months to outsource the analysis of its attack surface. (Source)

Vulnerability Management

Know your network is vulnerability free with mathematical certainty

Forward Enterprise enables SecOps teams to find misconfigurations and vulnerabilities on hosts and devices before a breach occurs. Using data collected from the network, integration with the NIST database, and integrations with vulnerability scanning and assessment tools, the platform identifies risks and helps prioritize how to remediate them to keep your network safe.

 

Expensive security breaches are on the rise

 

"Almost 60% of enterprises said they had experienced some kind of cybersecurity incident in the last 12 months. The incidents cost 71% of organizations affected at least US$100,000, with 41% saying the overall cost was US$500,000 or more." March 2023 Cybersecurity Readiness Index Report

 

  • In 2022, known vulnerabilities drove the most cyber-attacks, with long-known vulnerabilities frequently causing the most destruction.  (Source).
  • March 2023 – Nation State Hackers exploited a four-year-old known CVE to compromise a government agency (Source)
  • A misconfigured Microsoft cloud endpoint exposed customer data, such as names, email addresses, email content, and phone numbers.  (Source)

 

 

ROI of a Network Digital Twin

Multi-Cloud

Perfect visibility across AWS, GCP, and Azure in a single screen.

Visibility in a multi-cloud environment is one of the toughest challenges for IT teams to overcome. Each cloud provider has their own management solution which does not “talk” to their competitor products, leaving engineers to try to “stitch” together information from disparate tools and platforms.

The lack of visibility leads to unnecessary spending in shadow IT, underutilization of circuits, lack of compliance, and inefficient routing. 

Forward Enterprise provides visibility across AWS, GCP, and Azure in a single screen.  Information is normalized, allowing even a cloud novice to expertly troubleshoot and resolve issues.

According to Omdia Group, by the end of 2023, 39% of the IT budget will be spent in the cloud. The report went on to say that 45% of the respondents to the survey indicated that end users in their organization purchase cloud services that are not procured or supported by the central IT team.  That’s a lot of unaccounted-for spend.

End-to-End Visibility

Analyze multi-cloud behavior in a single console.

Troubleshooting behavior in a multi-cloud environment is an expensive endeavor requiring several highly trained (and expensive) engineers to stitch together information from multiple applications. Troubleshooting performance issues can take days or weeks for the team at a cost of $300 per hour per person.

Using Forward Enterprise, entry-level engineers can perform a hop-by-hop path trace in seconds to identify issues Read the Use Case >

Gaining end-to-end visibility into network performance and security as more traffic originates or terminates beyond the boundaries of the corporate network is the second biggest challenge for enterprises (37%). (Source

“Before Forward Enterprise, our cloud visibility was a cloud icon. Now we can perform full path traces from the point of origin through the multi-cloud environment.”

– Senior SecOps Leader Federal Security Agency

Service Assurance

Know your multi-cloud environment is behaving as intended

Forward Enterprise lets you visualize your entire cloud estate alongside your on-premises environment in a single normalized view. The intent check feature in the platform helps you confirm that the traffic to, from, and between your cloud environments is taking the desired path. If there’s a routing change that violates policy, the appropriate team is immediately alerted so they can fix it before the problem grows. Read the Use Case >

 

  • 30% of cloud budget is wasted (Source)
  • A single configuration mistake increased a company’s AWS bill by 525,000x (Source)
Service Assurance

View a demo of Forward Enterprise Cloud

Forward Cloud is the single source of truth (and pane of glass) for hybrid multi-cloud networks. Forward Enterprise allows Networking, Security, and Cloud professionals to look at the same data when troubleshooting or verifying network behaviors. The single pane of glass model delivers actionable information in an intuitive, vendor-agnostic manner.
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Continuous Multi-Cloud Security Audit

Ensure your multi-cloud environment is in compliance

According to the Cisco State of Hybrid Cloud Report, 92 percent of enterprises rely on multi-cloud environments because they provide many benefits. At the same time, managing several clouds is incredibly difficult. Instead of using proprietary applications from AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, Forward Enterprise provides single console visibility and management.

Forward Enterprise enables IT teams to enforce their on-premises security throughout their multi-cloud environment using verification checks. Read the Use Case >

According to a report from 451 Group, the two of the top cloud security concerns enterprises are compliance and auditability. Read the Report >

ROI of a Network Digital Twin

Network Operations

Ensure your network behaves as intended with Forward Enterprise

The network is the backbone of business. When it goes down, productivity grinds to a halt, customer satisfaction and trust take a hit, and worst of all, revenue recognition is compromised. At the same time, the complexity of the network means it’s more fragile than ever before, and the people charged with keeping it running need the support of an advanced software platform to ensure it behaves as expected.

A survey by 451 Group found that 89% of enterprises believe they are digitally ahead of their peers, yet only 25% of enterprises reported their average problem resolution time as being under 4 hours. The group concluded this indicates they are not using the best technology to support them.

Troubleshooting

Give your most junior engineers troubleshooting superpower

Troubleshooting network issues often requires multiple teams and senior device or cloud experts to decipher the causes of malfunctions. The Forward Enterprise digital twin platform collects, parses, and displays network configuration and state information in an actionable, vendor-agnostic format that allows a Tier 1 engineer to diagnose most issues and route them to the appropriate teams. Reducing escalations means reducing costs. It also frees senior network architects to focus on projects that deliver business value.

Network Outage Prevention

Forward Enterprise's Intent-Checks prevent outages before they happen

Network outages disrupt business, damage brand equity, and diminish customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, they can be caused by something so small as a simple typo. According to Uptime Institute, human error was the cause for 74% of the most severe network outages. That’s why we’ve built intent checks and predict functionality into Forward Enterprise. Engineers can use our digital twin platform to pinpoint issues before they impact the business.


For a global entertainment company, intent checks within Forward Enterprise prevented two potential headline-worthy outages. Read the case study >

Path Verification + Analysis

Know every possible path a packet can take

Path searches are the foundation for understanding the network. To diagnose network behavior, it’s imperative to model exactly how traffic is (and can) move through the network. Additionally, you need a detailed behavior of each device handling packets. Trying to manually analyze why traffic isn’t getting through can take a team of people weeks.

Forward Enterprise can scale to support 10³⁰ network flows and supports networks with >60,000 network and security devices, giving NetOps teams a detailed understanding of the exact behavior of each device in handling different packets delivered in a normalized (vendor-agnostic) manner.

“Forward Enterprise helped me diagnose and resolve a host accessibility issue in minutes. Without the platform and given my full workload, this would have taken 3 – 4 weeks.”

– Network Operations and Security Center Lead, Federal Government

ROI of a Network Digital Twin

How can Forward Networks impact your business?

We all agree that saving money and time helps a business. But generalities aren't compelling. That's why we've developed our ROI Calculator that uses your data to estimate the financial impact utilizing incorporating Forward Enterprise.
Try the ROI Calculator

World-class digital twin technology

By considering historical data and initial investment, our customers report significant cost savings in a wide range of different industries. In recent years, business goals have focused on digital transformation, predictive analytics, and advanced analytics. An improved ability to manage and secure digital worlds is imperative to avoiding potential issues that would disrupt supply chains for industrial companies and the production process including product development for consumer goods.

Ready to get started with a 
network digital twin?

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