Twentieth century biochemist and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov claims, “No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.” And perhaps nowhere in his statement holds more true than in the world of network technologies.
The idea of future-proofing is key when choosing an enterprise network solution – anticipating current and future technological trends, i.e., exploring the many factors that need to be considered both within the context of current challenges, and with the knowledge that the technologies are rapidly shifting. Here are some of the key factors to consider in making what is, for every enterprise, a crucial technology choice.
Understanding Your Company’s Needs
In the complex world of network technologies, how can you maximize the value of your buy? Here are the main business factors to consider:
- Does your business have regional or global requirements? For distributed enterprises, a network technology solution must support connections to all of the locations, data centers, and cloud partners – anywhere in the world. For businesses that have hundreds or even thousands of locations, limiting expenses for support and maintenance is a key issue in streamlining operations. This is one of the reasons that, according to Gartner analyst Joe Skorupa, by 2020, more than half of WAN edge infrastructure refreshes will be based on SD-WAN versus traditional routers. In fact, according to IDC, SD-WAN is entering a period of rapid adoption.
- Business critical applications
Important question to ask: where are your business critical applications located — in an in-house data center or in the cloud? Depending on the answer, the bandwidth, speed, latency and performance requirements will differ. In recent years, we see cloud migration on a large scale. As Frost & Sullivan points out that as IT organizations shift toward a greater focus on strategy – commonly becoming an organization’s chief enabler of business goals – it is increasingly important that inflexible infrastructure investments within corporate data centers be replaced by solutions in the agile cloud. As a result, networks need to adapt to the new requirements of the increased use of cloud applications.
- Mobile users
Some network setups do not visibility or control for mobile access to cloud applications. In these kinds of setups, mobile users are either connected directly, bypassing corporate network security policies, or they are forced through a specific network location, which affects performance.Given how widespread mobile adoption is, and its continued and rapid growth, enterprises should consider solutions that offer every mobile user secure and optimized access.
- Network-specific Security risks: You need to pay close attention to industry specific threats – by detecting and preventing intrusion, monitoring the network on an ongoing basis and proactively identifying vulnerabilities. As pointed out in this post by Cradlepoint, distributed enterprises must be especially vigilant regarding the constant dangers specifically at the Network’s Edge, which is particularly vulnerable since it is the gateway into the corporate WAN.
- Regulations and compliance: Many enterprises, for example, in healthcare and financial sectors, must comply with specific industry regulations. If this applies to you, keep in mind that network technologies can be set up to provide compliance reporting, to prove to governing bodies that the business data that flows over the network meets the necessary regulations.
- Existing Technology: It is quite likely that you will not be starting from a blank infrastructure canvas so no amount of prep and homework will be too little. A new solution will require be integration with some of your existing and legacy systems. You need a comprehensive replacement plan to introduce new technology with minimal pain, aggravation and cost.
Why global enterprises are switching to SD-WAN
With all of these significant business parameters to consider, finding a single solution that meets the multi-faceted networking needs of a global enterprise is a challenge. And here is where SD-WAN steps in.
Software-defined wide area network is a new way to manage and optimize enterprise networks. Created to overcome the high bandwidth costs and the rigidity of MPLS services, SD-WAN incorporates Internet transports (such as Cable, DSL, Fiber and 4G) into the WAN and forms a virtual overlay across all transports.
SD-WAN set up helps you stay on budget – by reducing costs, eliminating appliances, and streamlining operations – connecting cloud servers and mobile users while offering advanced and comprehensive security.