With traditional networking, system administrators are deeply involved in every aspect of maintaining the network. Deploying, maintaining and updating the network all require tedious, manual work. Instead of being able to focus on optimizing the network to improve workflows and boost efficiency, IT staff are often stuck in a cycle of maintenance and putting out fires. With cybersecurity threats evolving at lightning speed, networks require round-the-clock monitoring and swift responses.
Intent-based networking (IBN) tackles these inefficiencies by delegating the bulk of network management to artificial intelligence (AI). Let’s take a closer look at how IBN streamlines and simplifies the network management process while improving performance and security through AI.
Intent-Based Networking: The Basics
Today’s firms needed a new approach to networking. Networks need to be adaptable and scalable, and performance needs to be stellar from end to end. Security needs to be iron-clad and proactive to prevent breaches from increasingly sophisticated cyber attack methods. IBN revolutionizes network management to meet these emerging needs.
IBN builds on software-defined networking (SDN). SDN moved network design and operation from hardware to software, bringing end-to-end visibility to networks of every size, across multiple sites. IBN takes things a step further, using AI, analytics and machine learning to capture your intentions and then turn those intentions into actions.
How AI Powers Intent-Based Networking
With IBN, system administrators input their intent, and the network puts their intent into action through the following cyclical process:
- Translation: The network translates the system administrator’s intent into network and security policies. For example, employees in an accounting department might need secure access to payroll information, while other employees should have limited access to such data. With IBN, the system administrator could define these parameters, and the network would translate them into policies. IBN’s ability to create policies based on user or group allows system administrators to dictate complex, nuanced policies.
- Activation: Next, the network implements those policies across the network using automation.
- Assurance: After implementing the policies, the network monitors itself to ensure compliance. When issues arise, the network recognizes them and intelligently determines the best course of action to resolve them. If the network can’t reach a resolution, it notifies systems administrators of the issue and provides recommendations for remediation.
AI comes into play at every step in this process. First, the network uses AI to translate the system administrator’s intent into policies and implement those policies across the network on its own. Then, the network draws on AI to continuously monitor network activity and intelligently analyze that data to identify problems, decide on solutions and implement them.
These steps form a loop so that the network continuously monitors itself for performance, security or compliance issues, and system administrators can make changes at any time. Through AI, IBN accelerates network changes, improves agility and enhances network performance and security.
The Benefits of an AI-Powered Network
With an AI-powered intent-based network, your system administrators never have to design and implement policies. Instead, they can focus on the overall intent of the network. They aren’t sidelined by tedious configuration and monitoring tasks. It’s a self-healing, self-improving network that saves businesses considerable time and overhead expenses.
Cisco is a pioneer in intent-based networking. Cisco’s IBN uses AI and machine learning to bridge the gap between your business goals and what your network delivers. Businesses across a variety of industries have implemented Cisco’s IBN solutions to cut down on network administration time and improve performance.
Curious about how an AI-based network could improve network efficiency and security at your firm? Watch the recording of our recent webinar that covered Cisco’s IBN and DNA Center solutions to learn more.
Acadia Technology Group is a Cisco Premier Partner with decades of experience, bringing cutting-edge solutions to a variety of markets, including finance, manufacturing and legal. Contact us to find out how we could help you implement and optimize Cisco IBN at your firm.
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