Businesses that experienced an instant transition to a from-home workforce in 2020 found that there were immediate changes to networking needs. While businesses were already in a state of change as they moved to accessing cloud resources from the on-site data center, they suddenly were confronted with a need to build a business network for work from home.
Innovations like software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) were being implemented to reduce the cost and improve performance for bandwidth demands that came with cloud solutions. As employees were identifying connectivity challenges in the home office setting, virtual private networks (VPNs) were beginning to show a few cracks.
In addition, IT teams were attempting to manage the growing use of video conferencing and streaming to support collaboration and productivity. Wide area networks (WANs) and local area networks (LAN) must be part of a comprehensive network infrastructure upgrade to support a business network for work from home and the bandwidth and performance demands of video conferencing. Here are four steps for a successful upgrade:
Secure Home Connectivity: A home office relying on VPNs may create security vulnerability. A personal computer offers a point of attack for entry into the business systems and data. Network teams are effectively using approaches like secure access service edge (SASE) that include firewalls, SD-WAN, and gateways for a comprehensive solution. SASE also uses a zero-trust model that assumes all users and devices must pass authentication and grants access based on business policy.
Think Beyond VPN: VPNs work well for securing a user’s access to applications, but they aren’t as ideal for solutions that require real-time connectivity, such as video conferencing. VPNs add an extra delay, so businesses should think about a split-tunnel approach that preserves application access but allows employees to connect to cloud-based resources using their own internet connection.
Improve the LAN and WAN: As your staff returns to the office, do an evaluation on your WiFi to eliminate dead spots and to determine whether the LAN can handle the increase in video and streaming traffic. Your WAN must also be geared toward improving performance for video conferencing, with remote sites needing sufficient bandwidth so that neither productivity nor the customer experience will suffer. Examine the potential of accessing SD-WAN, 5G, and other emerging network infrastructure improvements for supporting video and streaming needs.
Boost Cloud Connectivity: When evaluating cloud providers, consider those that offer direct access to their platforms – whether that occurs through their private WAN connection or through a shared data center. These types of approaches to cloud connectivity can vastly improve performance because they remove the need to go through the public internet for access to cloud applications.Like so many businesses, you are at a crossroads with your network infrastructure – needing to build a better business network for work from home, while accommodating increased performance demands for video-based technology. It’s a good opportunity to evaluate your LAN and WAN, as well as accessing emerging technology to build a network that optimizes productivity and your customers’ experiences with your brand. Contact us at ITBroker.com to take the first step in identifying your network upgrade needs.