While cloud migration and digitalization rage on, things at the edge are also undergoing transformation this year: this expert shows why.

It has been predicted that by 2025, three quarters of enterprise-generated data will be created and processed at the edge—anywhere people and things are connected to the internet—or outside a traditional data center or cloud.

Data at the edge includes structured, semi-structured and unstructured data types. Every email we send, every online meeting we join, and every work call we take from home generates data. The distributed workforce arising from the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the decentralization of business networks and altered workflows and processes.

This hybridization of the workplace continues to take shape in the current climate: where traditionally it meant a hindrance to productivity, employees today will manage workloads across more devices and locations while they move between their home, offices, and on the road. Data processing is now shifting from traditional data center to the edge.

Making the edge intelligent

This year, beyond simply connecting constituents to the cloud, how users and IoT devices are connected will be a key area of focus to improve business outcomes, while enriching employee experiences. This is the next step of the transformational journey: creating requisite infrastructures for the ‘Intelligent Edge’.

The reimagined ‘anywhere’ office will increasingly rely on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and IoT sensors, widening the attack surface, and thereby increasing reliance on cybersecurity, compounded by human error. To secure all employee and business devices, AI-powered zero-trust protection policies must be incorporated end-to-end to detect, classify and continuously monitor any and every connection to ensure secure communication with predetermined resources.

The new business reality is that network management will only become more complex at the edge and beyond. To gain full visibility of every connected device in the distributed network, IT teams need to adopt a unified and automated approach to manage all domains and locations from a cloud-native, single control pane that centralizes and correlates cross-domain events and operations.

As a result, we will see network teams leading the charge to eliminate siloes separating the server, storage, virtualization, DevOps, SecOps and AIOps functions, and accelerate the achievement of their organization’s business objectives.

Making the intelligent edge invisible

So many challenges are involved in making the edge intelligent, because networks are facing greater demands than before, and employee collaboration and innovation take network uptime and performance as a given.

Lags in online meetings are no fun for anyone, especially when critical information is being shared. In meeting the challenge of supporting more distributed teams, automation will be key in powering specific, highly accurate insights, as well as help IT leaders keep one step ahead in troubleshooting and resolving issues before impacting businesses or users.

Therefore, in the pandemic-era, the Intelligent Edge will be a central focus for organizations that architect their infrastructures to support remote workers, deliver the necessary capabilities that allow a safe return to the workplace, and enable business continuity initiatives. These benefits, especially when combined with flexible, subscription-based consumption models, provide organizations with the security, insights, and quality of service they need to navigate this dynamic business landscape.

Yet, at the truly Intelligent Edge, you would not notice a thing—precisely because your workloads are running so smoothly.