What the Golden Resignation Will Mean for Companies, and How Out of Band Can Help

December 15th, 2023 by · Leave a Comment

This Industry Viewpoint was authored by Gary Marks, President, Opengear

It’s no secret that a massive portion of the US’s aging population will retire soon. Among these retirees is a significant number of network professionals. According to new research conducted by Censuswide on behalf of a leading provider of secure Out of Band management solutions, 86% of US-based CIOs surveyed predict that a minimum of 25% of their network engineers will retire in the next five years. This study asked separate but complementary questions to 502 CIOs and 510 network engineers from the US, the UK, France, Germany, and Australia between April and May 2023.

Some are referring to the retirement of network professionals from the workforce as the Golden Resignation. This impending exodus will have considerable implications for the future reliability of business networks. Short-staffed engineering teams, already forced to do more with fewer resources during today’s tech skills shortage, struggle to maintain optimum uptime while minimizing downtime. To mitigate these challenges brought on by the Golden Resignation, companies must deploy solutions like Out of Band management to increase network resilience and recover quickly from disruptions.  

The Consequences of a Depleted Network Engineering Team 

Today, companies need 24/7 access via robust networks for employees to leverage resources and perform tasks. Upholding this lucrative network status necessitates hands-on management from a qualified team of engineers. However, once these vital engineers get removed from the picture, the quality of the network takes a turn for the worse.

Almost all CIOs (95%) said that a shortage of engineers resulted in an inability to manage networks. Similarly, 91% of US engineers and 81% of those in other countries stated that a skills deficit impacted their networks. Unsurprisingly, 79% of US CIOs also admitted that their businesses struggle to meet user or customer expectations in today’s economic environment. The failure to properly manage networks can negatively affect business operations, resulting in reduced revenue and productivity. Likewise, an inconsistent network damages customer experience, brand image, and employee well-being.

Fewer Network Engineers Means Great Cybersecurity Risk 

Another consequence of not having suitable human oversight of one’s network is that businesses can become exposed to attacks from cybercriminals. Experienced network engineers, due to their proximity to the network, are deeply familiar with its potential weaknesses and know how to protect it accordingly. But when a company loses these skilled individuals, it’s no different than a castle losing its best defenders.

The findings of a 2022 Global Threat Analysis Report reveal that the Golden Resignation couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time. Compared to the previous year, 2022 saw an increase in the number, power, frequency, and complexity of DDoS attacks across multiple attack vectors. In particular, the number of DDoS attacks grew 150% globally; the Americas witnessed an even greater increase of 212%. Despite the growing prevalence of these attacks, that initial study found that 59% of US network engineers feel that insufficient investment was increasing the risk of cyberattacks and downtime.

How Out of Band Can Support Limited Teams  

With the Golden Resignation looming, companies should look to technologies that can give overwhelmed engineers some much-needed flexibility to deploy, manage, and remediate business networks. One such solution is Out of Band management, which can provide strained engineering teams with a secure and remote connection to IT network environments, even during unplanned downtime.

Out of Band technology streamlines day-one deployments, everyday network management, and remediation tasks such as software updates. The enhanced capabilities of Out of Band solutions allow engineers to accelerate lengthy processes, helping them focus their time on higher-level tasks amid busy working days. In addition, it lets them upskill via network remediation tools.

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of an Out of Band network is that it operates separately from the primary in-band network, acting as an independent management plane. This unique capability enables engineers to quickly remediate physical and virtual connected network devices from any location during outages or disruptions to the primary WAN or LAN.

During a breach caused by malware or ransomware, engineers can isolate the incident by swiftly disabling access to impacted network equipment via a console port. Out of Band technology also permits engineers to shut down servers and disconnect WAN connections to isolate the breach further. Moreover, engineers can reconfigure devices to factory default and rebuild them with the console port after remediating the issue.

Out of Band Promotes Remote and Hybrid Work Models 

A potential solution to the Golden Resignation is remote or hybrid work models. In fact, 47% of CIOs and 37% of engineers identify remote and hybrid work practices as a solution to the skills shortage. For some time, businesses were reluctant to allow network engineers to work remotely. After all, it can be challenging for network administrators to manage hybrid networks without the right management tools.

Thankfully, Out of Band technology enables engineers to securely and remotely access, manage, and remediate IT networks from any location, making remote or hybrid work models more tenable. Likewise, because Out of Band management permits engineers to remediate network issues remotely, it drastically decreases the number of times engineers must make physical on-site visits, which, as a bonus, reduces carbon emissions.  

Not only can businesses use Out of Band to promote remote/hybrid work models, but they can also use it as a recruiting differentiator. Consider that 98% of workers want to work remotely, at least part of the time. With this desire in mind, having network management tools like Out of Band allows companies to expand their geographical reach and more effectively entice engineers from the vanishingly small talent pool.

Helping Refine New Professionals 

The Golden Resignation, or any event where knowledgeable individuals leave a company, will put significant strain on the remaining network engineers. Despite how tech-savvy or talented new employees joining the workforce might be, there is no replacement for experience. That said, network engineering is constantly evolving. Professionals in this field must stay up to date with the latest trends, standards, and technology. As such, companies should cultivate their engineers and new hires, training them accordingly while allowing them to experiment with technologies like Out of Band and emerging ones like AI, 5G, and automation.  

Gary Marks, President

Gary has led Opengear since 2014 in the role of CEO, and was appointed President of Opengear upon the acquisition by Digi International in December of 2019. During his tenure, the company  was named to the Deloitte Fast 500 list, recognizing the five year track record of extremely high growth, strong profitability and market share leadership. Prior to joining Opengear, Gary was the SVP Global Sales and Marketing for Raritan, a power and infrastructure management provider for data centers and remote sites. His leadership enabled a successful turnaround that expanded Raritan’s portfolio of new products, technologies and customers.

Gary is a 30-year veteran of the technology, storage and telecommunications industries, with a track record of successfully guiding major expansion efforts, turnarounds and strategic partnerships at both public and private companies. In addition, he has held senior leadership positions with Dialogic (acquired by Intel), Conner Peripherals (acquired by Seagate), Western Digital and AT&T. Gary holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Miami and an MBA in Finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

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Categories: Industry Viewpoint · Security

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