WATERLOO, Ontario — The 2021 Network Field Report Auvik Networks surveyed IT professionals to assess how in-house IT administrators manage their networks as well as how knowledgeable and confident they are in their networks. The survey also explores how IT pros spend their time, how they are evaluated and how often they outsource network-related tasks and functions. 

The results reveal a significant portion of companies have basic network management deficiencies when it comes to network visibility, network device configuration backups, proactive network planning, and up-to-date documentation. 

Notably, findings indicate a need for improved network hygiene practices and show a discrepancy between network knowledge and confidence. More than half of IT pros have incomplete knowledge about how their networks are configured, yet 77% of them also report a high or very high confidence in their networks. This could indicate a potential mismatch between perception and reality, with IT pros unaware of the weaknesses in their network management practices.

“It’s important that the network just works — all the time — so our report findings are concerning,” said Alex Hoff, chief product officer, Auvik Networks. “Not only are companies falling down when it comes to basic network maintenance but they’re also wasting significant time on manual tasks that could be automated. It all adds up to inefficiencies and network risks that really don’t need to be there when there are so many viable software options that can easily solve those problems.”

Other key findings include:

  • Only 36% of organizations back up their network device configurations daily or weekly, despite additional data showing that configuration changes are frequent. Newer, small organizations are most at risk of never backing up.
  • IT pros are working fewer hours on reactive tasks (48%) than five years ago (59%), but they still spend much of their time on tasks that could be easily automated, including documentation (58%), mapping (55%), and network configuration backup (61%). Software tools can help manage or entirely automate these activities.
  • More than half of IT pros (52%) report most of their time is spent on projects they hate or tolerate. Nearly half (45%) said “not enough time” is the primary reason for not doing projects that interest them.
  • Cost of IT overall is the main success metric, with 54% of IT pros saying they’re measured against it. In contrast, only 30% of IT pros are evaluated based on uptime/downtime percentage or the number of closed tickets. Taken together, these findings could indicate that network stability is less of a focus for organizations than cost reductions.
  • Nearly half (41%) of organizations spend no time on network planning.
  • More than a quarter (27%) of organizations never or rarely update their network documentation despite changes happening frequently. 

The Network Field Report 2021 is based on data from IT professionals, including IT managers, IT directors, IT specialists, network managers, and network administrators working in the U.S. and Canada.