Demand for a richer, connected experience created by user mobility, BYOD, IoT and new data analytics are driving enterprises to consider a new network strategy.
Is your network digital ready?
Enabling a rich connected experience is a fundamental requirement for an enterprises’ digital transformation. Industries, companies and institutions around the globe are asked to deliver new appealing and engaging services to their users and customers, manage a deluge of new devices, keep employees productive at any time, in any location they choose and do it all securely. Simply put, it’s a new paradigm, with new demands, and a new strategy is required for your network.
To address these challenges enterprises and industries such as government, education, healthcare, transportation and hospitality need the right partner and the right network foundation. They must take a long hard look at the access, core and data center layers of their existing infrastructure and figure out how to evolve these systems to handle the flurry of devices coming into the network, satisfy the ever-growing demand for bandwidth and fend off the security threats that lurk around every corner.
So what’s really driving the evolution?
To understand what a “digital” ready network might look like, it’s helpful to first identify the trends that are driving the evolution. The single most important trend is the demand for mobility resulting from the influx of devices or “things” accessing the infrastructure.
Gartner asserts that 20 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be deployed globally by 20201, so networks will need to change…a lot. IoT sensors will increasingly provide organizations with automated real-time data flows to help them understand customer needs, monitor infrastructure and create more efficient processes. That means a torrent of information will be coming into the network.
Enabling a rich user experience with ease of connectivity and BYOD is of utmost importance. Enterprise visitors, hotel guests, hospital patients, university students, citizens, tourists and public transit passengers all need to easily and securely connect to the internet.
With the growth of mobility and IoT, security is sky rocketing to become a top priority as networks become even more exposed to potential bad actors. And, with cyber-attacks increasing in volume and in complexity, unregulated devices can introduce security risks and chew up bandwidth unbeknownst to network operators.
In addition, analytics that deliver performance, usage and inspection data are providing insights into network operations, improving efficiency and agility and helping organizations to make relevant IT and business decisions.
And, as we are all challenged to get creative from a budget standpoint, traditional CAPEX investments can no longer be the only option. Alternative flexible investment models such as software subscription services, pay-as-you-go and network-on-demand models must be available for modern businesses and vertical industries.
The new network strategy in a nutshell
Higher speeds, from multi-Gig to 100G, in access, core and data center equipment, along with network virtualization, automated provisioning, and virtual containers, will satisfy the needs of a mission critical infrastructure defined for high performance, end- to-end resiliency and simplified operations.
Add to that, a wireless infrastructure with distributed intelligence for high bandwidth and secure wireless services. Then consider a unified wired-wireless access policy framework to enable simple and secure onboarding of users and devices with a single set of credentials and profiles. That’s pretty much what the new network should look like.
…but what about security?
We know that security is high on everyone’s list and nowhere is it more evident than in the connected world we’re in. With BYOD, IoT devices and new applications from the cloud, security must be a high priority in the network strategy. More than ever before, security needs to be built-in from the ground up and applied across the infrastructure. A multi-layered approach is required to secure the network, from the edge to the core, using a variety of methods, including user and device profiles, applications and behavioral analytics, operating system hardening and IoT containment.
Access and core technologies, wired and wireless, must blend under a single, unified, open service management platform. It must provide provisioning, management and automation through programmable control, as well as single pane of glass for dashboards, monitoring and troubleshooting. Open APIs will facilitate ecosystem integration with business applications and Artificial Intelligence (AI) services. Key to infrastructure planning and new services adoption, the service management platform should also collect and deliver network statistics and application usage, as well as enable preventive actions to strengthen and optimize the networks’ services and security.
A final word of advice - keep it simple
Streamlined infrastructure and automated operations can make life easier for everyone. ALE networks are designed to deliver the services required by today’s enterprises and industries. Simplified design, deployment and operation are what we all aspire to. ALE offers a network strategy that meets businesses’ digital transformation goals and delivers a rich connected experience to satisfied users…and really, what more can you ask for?
To get more insights and take a deeper dive on planning your network strategy, check out our new Network Strategy and Vision for the Enterprise — Where Everything Connects white paper.
1 Gartner Says 8.4 Billion Connected «Things» Will Be in Use in 2017, Up 31 Percent From 2016