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Report reveals 52% ANZ businesses willing to trade security measures for performance boost

F5 has released the findings of its 2022 State of Application Strategy Report, which revealed the challenges Australian and New Zealand organisations face as they transform IT infrastructures to deliver and secure digital services.

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Tue, 12 Apr 2022
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The reports eighth iteration explores hybrid work, as it is now inseparable from people’s daily lives, such as performing job functions or consulting a doctor as telehealth becomes permanent.

With highly distributed architectures and a broader threat landscape resulting from an ongoing digitisation of previously physical experiences, organisations are turning to a variety of solutions to help manage complexity and address widening IT skills gaps, a key issue as Australia and New Zealand strive to train or retrain 7.5 million workers by 2025. However, survey results indicate pitfalls ahead that, if ignored, will inhibit progress toward making business more responsive and agile and the region’s position as a digital leader.

Organisations across ANZ are facing the challenges of delivering distributed modern digital services given the dramatic uptake in digital transformation efforts in the last two years, according to Jason Baden, regional vice-president, Australia and New Zealand for F5 Networks.

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“IT and business objectives are converging to elevate technology from a supporting role to a driving role.

“Over the last few years, we’ve seen a dramatic acceleration of organisations moving into the cloud – single, multi-cloud, and hybrid cloud.

“As organisations’ portfolios grow larger and more distributed, they require consistent security, end-to-end visibility, and greater automation in app deployments to battle increasing complexity, streamline operations, and respond to threats while adding value for customers,” Baden said.

ANZ respondents ranked determining cost efficiency across different environments as the top challenge for those deploying applications in multiple clouds, followed closely by consistent security.

About 90 per cent of organisations across all industries are reportedly planning to implement AI to surface valuable insights. Yet, effective AI requires better data transparency, integration and governance than is currently available. Similarly, the survey identifies site reliability engineering (SRE) as a key piece of the puzzle, with 90 per cent of ANZ respondents pursuing SRE approaches for their applications and systems, but enterprise architecture must evolve in parallel to support distributed, application-centric models and further advance organisations digital transformation efforts.

Top findings include:

  • Australian and New Zealand-based responders are excited for developments in WAAP and 5G: Respondents in Australia and New Zealand rate web application and API protection (WAAP) and 5G as the two most exciting development trends over the next few years. More than 50 per cent of respondents ranked WAAP as the frontrunner. As applications and APIs continue to proliferate – along with the threats to each identity-based security is quickly becoming as important as more traditional approaches to threat defences, while the continuing push for greater performance makes 5G a close number two.

  • The value of customer experience: When asked to rank the primary business outcomes they want to achieve using edge computing, A/NZ respondents listed customer experience (CX) as number one. Edge deployments are gaining popularity and can improve application performance and the customer experience but can also increase the efficiency of security and delivery technologies that support applications.

  • Complexity is becoming untenable: With most ANZ respondents using cloud-based as-a-service offerings and 97 per cent planning moves to the edge, associated challenges range from overlapping security policies and fragmented data to the deployment of point solutions that ultimately add complexity, increase fragility or inhibit performance. Broader distribution throughout the infrastructure means app security and delivery services are no longer tethered to the deployment model or location of the applications they serve, which allows businesses more flexibility but impacts consistency and can degrade the user experience.

  • Security is evolving to risk management on a global scale: Even as complexity has increased the number of potential failure points, performance remains paramount, with over half (52 per cent) of ANZ respondents admitting that given a choice theyd turn off security measures to improve performance. Managing a spectrum of risks with real-world objectives demonstrates businesses are taking a modified approach to risk management, contributing to identity-based security surpassing traditional app security and delivery technologies in terms of prevalence.

  • Repatriation is on the rise: Today’s organisations manage everything from a growing collection of container-native and mobile applications to legacy monoliths that are fundamental to business operations. Significantly, the vast majority of ANZ organisations (85 per cent) are currently repatriating applications moving them back to an on-premises data centre environment from the cloud or planning to in the next 12 months. This is higher than the global average (67 per cent).

These results indicate that ANZ IT decision-makers are still coming to grips with limitations tied to modernisation, business imperatives and deployment methods as they reap the benefits of digital transformation. Organisations face a continuous balancing act between controls, costs, customer and employee experiences, extended set of application and API protections, resulting in heightened interest in sophisticated behavioural analysis, AI-based solutions that can better assess context to deliver the security, performance and insights required for adaptive applications.

To satisfy the growing demand in Australia and New Zealand, F5 expanded its global footprint in 2019 by deploying a regional point of presence (PoP) in Sydney. Over the past several years, F5 has transformed its business and expanded its software and cloud offerings to deliver a broad portfolio of solutions to help customers address complexity and risk.

F5s 2022 State of Application Strategy Report represents nearly 1,500 IT decision-makers worldwide, including Australia and New Zealand, from a breadth of industries, organisation sizes and professional roles. The survey focused on respondents' priorities, challenges and expectations to form a compelling perspective of how organisations are evolving application strategies to better serve customers’ current and anticipated needs.

[Related: AI investment boost touted in new report]

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