Hybrid Work Environments to Become the Norm After Pandemic Recedes
April 06, 2021
Share this

A hybrid work environment will persist after the pandemic recedes, with over 80% stating that they expect over a quarter of workers to remain remote, and over two-thirds desiring flexibility between on-premises and remote deployments according to the 2021 State of the WAN report released by Aryaka.

When the pandemic hit, workers around the world migrated from their offices to their homes, a shift that will also impact future planning and investment throughout 2021. More than half (59%) of the respondents stated they expect 25-50% of their workers to remain remote, while 21% say they are planning for more than 50% of their workforce to continue working from home.


Businesses are also prioritizing flexibility, with 63% stating that they consider the ability to quickly move resources between on-premises and remote to be very important.


Other key trends identified in this year's report include:

■ Continued WAN and application growth, resulting in increased network complexity. The number of enterprises reporting they're deploying over 500 distinct applications has grown to 46%. 37% of enterprises identify complexity as their number one network concern

■ 43% of enterprises identify application performance as an underlying driver for WAN transformation. However, WAN transformations have slowed this year due to the pandemic

■ Over 70% of enterprises intend to move to managed services versus just 18% who prefer the autonomy of a do-it-yourself WAN solution

■ Accelerating fusion of networking and security planning, with almost a third of enterprises stating that they are already deploying what they consider to be a secure access service edge (SASE) architecture


The WAN continues to extend its reach, with the number of enterprises connecting to over 100 inter-regional sites growing by 50%, from 19% in 2020 to 28% in 2021. This is coupled with continued application growth, with the number of enterprises stating that they've deployed over 500 distinct applications growing to 46%, compared to 32% in 2021. As evidence of collaboration traction, Zoom was identified as critical by 36% in 2021, up from 25% in 2020.

One finding that did not noticeably change year-on-year is complexity, which was identified by 36% of enterprises as their number one network issue.

Interestingly, those who identified cost as a major issue grew to 20% in 2021 from 16% in 2020, a 25% increase. This may be attributed to cloud or MPLS cost concerns.

Overall, investment priorities did see recede in some areas, due to tactical pandemic concerns driving near-term planning. For example, only 17% of respondents plan to conduct an SD-WAN/SASE-driven network refresh this year versus 29% in 2020. However, combining this with remote access upgrades, a new entry at 22%, and security, at 21%, results in strong momentum going into 2021. In contrast, LTE/5G experienced growth from 24% in 2020 to 31% in 2021. Finally, VPN investment is at 31% this year versus 27% in 2020. Aryaka believes the new remote workforce, due to the pandemic, led to this VPN increase.

For actual deployment, managed services still reign supreme at 71%, versus 18% who are looking for a do-it-yourself (DIY) solution.

Many enterprises are also further along the deployment lifecycle, with 26% evaluating SD-WAN this year, up from 22% in 2020. This increasing market maturity is reflected in a drop in identified barriers to SD-WAN adoption.

Enterprises are less concerned that the WAN service won't address application performance, coming in at 36% this year, versus 43% in 2020, with corresponding drops in SLA concerns, technology maturity, and lack of skills.


Methodology: The 2021 State of the WAN study surveyed over 1350 global IT and network practitioners at enterprises spanning all verticals, headquartered in NA, APAC and EMEA.

Share this

The Latest

August 05, 2022

MLOps or Machine Learning Operations are a combination of best processes and practices that businesses use to run AI successfully ... While it is a relatively new field, MLOps is a collective effort that captured the interest of data scientists, DevOps engineers, AI enthusiasts, and IT ...

August 04, 2022

The data is in: enterprises are not happy with their managed service providers (MSPs) and cloud service providers (CSPs). According to the latest CloudBolt Industry Insights report, Filling the Gap: Service Providers' Increasingly Important Role in Multi-Cloud Success, 80% are so unsatisfied with their existing MSP and/or CSP, they are actively looking to replace them within 12 months ...

August 03, 2022

The last two years have accelerated massive changes in how we work, do business, and engage with customers. According to Pega research, nearly three out of four employees (71%) feel their job complexity continues to rise as customer demands increase, and employees at all levels feel overloaded with information, systems, and processes that make it difficult to adapt to these new challenges and meet their customers' growing needs ...

August 02, 2022

Investing in employees will always be smart business. And right now, investing in employees means giving people the resources — and ability — to optimize performance ... For pretty much every company, that means delivering the digital tools necessary to facilitate seamless, secure, user-friendly access and connectivity ...

August 01, 2022

Digital transformation can be the difference between becoming the next Netflix and becoming the next Blockbuster Video. With corporate survival on the line, "digital transformation" is no longer merely an impressive buzzword to throw around in boardrooms. It's the ticket for entry into the digital era, a fundamental business strategy for every modern company ...

July 29, 2022

IT infrastructure has rapidly evolved over the last decade, and as a result important specialized tools have been developed and an entire dedicated industry has grown up to serve the need for monitoring these IT systems and services in order to keep them operational and efficient ...

July 28, 2022

At Cisco AppDynamics, we recently conducted research exploring consumer attitudes and behaviors in relation to wearable technology ... In our study, 87% of global consumers claimed that trust is a critical factor when choosing a wearable medical device or application brand. And, 86% expect companies offering wearable technology and applications to demonstrate a higher standard of protection for their personal data than any other technology they use ...

July 27, 2022

You've been here before: waiting for a web page to load. You keep refreshing it, but still no luck. How many times will you try to reload the page before visiting a different site? Probably not too many. Brands today have just a few moments at most to captivate and delight potential customers ...

July 26, 2022

In the DevOps world, observability is trumpeted and lauded in many corners. However, in reading much of the coverage, there seemed to be some more fundamental issues at play. It's time to demystify the idea of observability, shedding light on what it means in a broader context. And once we break down the concept and its true value to an organization, let's answer a more important question: Are we approaching an observability tipping point? ...

July 25, 2022
It is common knowledge that businesses across domains committed to digitizing themselves during the pandemic. While digital presence is the need of the hour, the challenge is elsewhere. Today, for businesses to sustain themselves in the market, performance has become the key to achieving success ...