Networks Need to be Secure, Robust, Agile, and High-Performing to Support Hybrid and Remote Work Environments
The shift to hybrid and remote work scenarios means the network is more critical to work than ever. For businesses to succeed, the network needs to be secure, robust, agile, and high-performing. Many businesses had to jury-rig solutions to overcome the challenges this past year, but now that the pace of change has slowed down, there’s time to review, assess, and make sure appropriate solutions are in place.
Remote Work Challenges to Network Design
Some of the challenges this past year arose because networks were never designed for the bulk of employees to be off-site; the designs expected workers to be in the office. Once employees dispersed, network bottlenecks emerged. VPNs and security tools didn’t have the capacity to handle the increased demand.
In addition, much of the new demand also required large amounts of bandwidth, largely in the form of video streaming to support new communications channels. Networks with latency and jitter resulted in unacceptable video performance.
Improving Networks to Handle Remote Demands
In some cases, implementing newer technologies such as SD-WAN can help businesses adapt to the demands of providing network capacity to remote workers. SD-WAN can also be integrated with security tools, an additional benefit. However, for some businesses, the SD-WAN solution isn’t a cost-effective approach to improving the network for remote work. An alternative solution to consider is SASE, which brings together networking and security services in a cloud-based solution.
Hyperconverged technology isn’t really new any longer, but it isn’t in every data center. Adding it now, where appropriate, can simplify support processes, reduce support demands, and increase system reliability. An additional benefit is that much of the required maintenance can be performed remotely.
Another necessary approach to improving networks for remote work is increasing the level of automation around network support tasks. The more routine tasks are automated, the less manual work they require. The time and mental energy spent on those routine tasks can now be directed to developing novel solutions to the problems affecting network performance. Automation may also improve performance by reducing bottlenecks.
Because the connections from remote users place strains on network capacity when all users are remote, businesses can consider replacing VPN connections with zero-trust architectures that direct users to the cloud edge for authentication and authorization.
Finally, improved management tools are needed to make it easier for IT teams who may be working remotely to monitor and oversee their systems. While single pane of glass solutions aren’t always available, working towards them will significantly improve the level of support achievable. In addition to providing data needed for operational reasons, remote monitoring provides network visibility that can drive decision-making about further network improvements.
For many organizations, the pandemic proved that a central office location isn’t the driver of business success, and remote and hybrid work solutions will be common going forward. Contact Prescient Solutions to make sure your network and other information technology can handle the demands of this new way of working.