Day 2 Operations Simplified with the Power of AI

Aug 07, 2023
4 minutes

This blog is part of the “Branch of the Future” series where we take a closer look at the four key tenets that next-generation SD-WAN and SASE provide to deliver a branch network that is digital-first, secure and powered by the latest AI/ML innovations.

A Growing Need for Automation

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a prominent force driving innovation and transformation. Businesses everywhere are relying on AI to enhance operations and achieve better business outcomes. In the realm of cybersecurity and SD-WAN in particular, AI has huge potential to revolutionize IT operations and improve efficiency.

In today's digital landscape, IT organizations are expected to do more with less and avoid costly downtime.

By 2023, 40% of I&O teams will use AI-augmented automation in large enterprises, resulting in higher IT productivity with greater agility and scalability.

-Gartner Predicts The Future Of AI Technologies

The move to a highly distributed workforce has created a new generation of challenges for IT teams. These challenges hinder IT teams from delivering optimal performance:

  • Increased troubleshooting time
  • Manual operations
  • Significant IT hours spent isolating issues (rather than focusing on future innovations)

Gartner estimates IT downtime can cost organizations up to $5,600 per minute on average. Plus, there’s another problem.

Legacy networks often rely on disparate products and separate management systems. This makes it impossible for IT staff to correlate, prioritize and analyze issues quickly. More importantly, the lack of a common data lake limits the ability to automate day 2 operations with AI/ML techniques.

The Role of SD-WAN Analytics

SD-WAN has fundamentally transformed how networks work. With monitoring capabilities at the user, branch, and application level, SD-WAN collects crucial network and performance data to take forwarding and prioritization decisions. This presents an ideal foundation for implementing AI-driven automation—thanks to its modern analytics capabilities.

The wealth of SD-WAN generated data can be used to detect, diagnose, and remediate issues fast. While SD-WAN analytics primarily address concerns at branch edges, it is essential to recognize that the network extends far beyond branches. It also encompasses users, data centers, clouds, and applications.

This evolution has led to the widespread adoption of Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solutions that consolidate networking and security functions into a single cloud offering, which makes integration of AI capabilities simpler and more seamless.

In contrast, legacy SD-WAN solutions often offer mix-and-match options, which can impede the smooth implementation of AI automation.

Key Factors for AI-Powered Operations

Observability and AIOps (Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations) play crucial roles in enhancing the effectiveness of AI-powered operations.

The right solution will leverage the latest advancements in observability and AI/ML built natively to help customers:

  • Automate complex IT and network operations center (NOC) functions
  • Reduce troubleshooting and resolution time to increase productivity
  • Enable proactive diagnosis issues with predictive analysis

By embracing observability and AIOps, organizations are in a far better position to mitigate risks, simplify ops, and address network anomalies proactively.

Transforming Branch Operations with Next-Generation SD-WAN

 Prisma SD-WAN offers deep visibility into performance scores at the site, circuit, and application level that is intelligently computed using trend analysis leveraging AI and ML and shared as insights. These insights highlight recommendations and key incidents that IT administrator need for anomaly identification, troubleshooting, and resolution of issues.

Additionally, these insights provide proactive incident reporting that empowers IT staff to implement the right measures like allocating more bandwidth to circuits and fine-tuning business policies to avoid performance degradation to avoid any outages across the enterprise.

Prisma SD-WAN granular visibility into branch and application performance.

Most importantly, Palo Alto Networks Prisma SASE converges networking and security with Prisma Access and Prisma SD-WAN to deliver a single-vendor SASE solution.

With unified data (which is necessary for applying the full potential of AIOps), Prisma SD-WAN makes discovering network anomalies quick and easy, using:

  • Data correlation that reduces the events and notification into a single root cause incident.
  • Prioritization of these events to ensure the critical ones are identified and flagged for resolution.

AI/ML offers organizations and IT teams improved automation, observability, increased productivity and reduced MTTR. Learn more about how AI/ML is powering next-gen SD-WAN and SASE for the branch. Watch our on-demand virtual event.


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