A new standard of performance and resilience for a new way of working
The level of performance and resilience organisations demand from their networks has increased several-fold in the wake of COVID-19. The rapid transition to a fully distributed workforce has not only placed considerable demands on networks in terms of raw performance, but also the resilience needed to adapt to the unexpected with minimal disruption to data security, internal processes or the customer and user experience.
While we have certainly seen some considerable successes in this area, there is still work to be done if this new way of working is able to provide companies with the agility, security and scalability they need to adapt and thrive going forward.
Ensuring home workers can fully depend on their applications
With a large percentage of the workforce connecting to corporate networks from home, they depend on business-critical applications more than ever. Any fluctuations in performance are likely to have a serious effect on teams' productivity, with a knock-on effect on the customer experience. This means a consistent high level of performance of all critical applications is essential.
We have seen tremendous successes with Cloud migrations in recent months, as organisations migrate away from on-premise legacy systems and physical hardware to virtual solutions that can be accessed from anywhere. Many business-critical applications are now delivered on a Cloud or SaaS basis, which offers huge advantages in terms of cost control and means they will be available to remote workers, no matter where they are based. However, utilising such applications depends on a secure, reliable connection, which not all home networks are able to deliver, due to concerns around both bandwidth and security. Organisations must therefore pay close attention to how such applications are being accessed, in order to ensure they deliver the expected level of performance and will not lead to costly and embarrassing security breaches.
Consider these recent statistics:
The overall resilience of a network is the next element that must be considered, in order to ensure its long-term sustainability. Corporate networks are required to handle a level of traffic from remote workers that was previously inconceivable, it is impossible to predict how organisations' requirements will evolve in the future and to what extent. Even if we begin seeing a partial return to the office, remote working is now firmly entrenched in many organisations' culture and is something new employees are likely to expect, so the solutions put in place must be able to support this in the long term. Furthermore, we may well see another COVID-scale crisis that will require organisations to once again rapidly adjust their working models, meaning a high level of agility must be inherent in the design of infrastructure.
Many of these concerns are cultural, and the long-term solutions are still evolving, but there's a technological dimension as well. For example, consider the additional load on the central security and VPN aggregation infrastructure that a large number of home workers will create. Direct connectivity to the corporate WAN can help mitigate this, but this presents a number of security challenges that must be taken into consideration – a perfect example of the many different, interconnected factors that must be considered when designing a truly resilient infrastructure.
Setting a new standard
At this point, it's clear that COVID-19 has fundamentally transformed the business landscape. Meeting the challenges of performance and resilience must not be treated as a number of one-off, reactive projects, but a critical part of an organisation's ongoing infrastructure evolution. This will provide the foundation for a robust business continuity plan and ensure that an organisation can swiftly adapt to any future crises or unexpected changes in the market, without compromising service quality, security or morale. Fortunately, in keeping with the spirit of innovation we have witnessed throughout the current pandemic, new solutions to these singular challenges are already revealing themselves.
Exponential-e has worked closely with both new and longstanding customers and partners throughout this period of transformation, developing both our own network and those of our customers to meet these challenges, and is now well-positioned to channel this experience into new tools that will ensure the 'new normal' will be to the benefit of everyone. Our SD-HOME solution is leading the way in this regard, offering the highest standard of performance and security for home workers. The technology prioritises business-critical applications, extends corporate security policies onto home workers' networks, and provides a direct connection to the corporate WAN via a secure overlay network. The result is a resilient, scalable and agile model for home working that doesn't compromise on either security or performance – the perfect result for organisations, their staff and their end users.
To learn more about our new SD-HOME solution, join one of our upcoming webinars by visiting: https://www.exponential-e.com/events