The way that we use networks for business has changed. With remote work and cloud-native applications becoming the norm, what once worked in command and control of our business networks is no longer the best-fit for our business purposes. And with that, means a need for migration from legacy routers at the foot of the physical business to SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Networking).
Today we’ll explore how networking considerations have changed and how you can make the switch to a more efficient, effective, and safe configuration.
WFH Era: The need for better connectivity
Remote work was trending even before Covid hit. As companies seeing to attract the top talent realised that work-life balance was an attractive lure, half-remote and even fully remote opportunities were on the upswing. The growth of gig work and the abilities of new software and hardware configurations to do work from anywhere meant that many of the more progressive companies were considering remote work as an option. Tech start-ups were already all in on an international remote workforce.
Fast forward to 2021, and it’s not just big companies and start-ups who are in on remote work. The Australian Bureau of Statistics indicates that 37% of people with jobs worked from home at least once a week in July. Covid has made organisations of all sizes adapt to remote work – simply to get the job done. However, for those unprepared, it’s been a bit of an ad hoc process, figuring it out. Service providers have been slammed with requests. And it’s been security that’s top of mind for most businesses on this journey.
Configuring network access and resources for remote teams, where businesses have always relied on in-house and on-site infrastructure has been quite the challenge. While your office-based WAN router was once the king or queen of the network within the organisation, it’s now an obstacle that may need assessing for whether it’s actually necessary.
SD-WAN in Cloud Transformation: Legacy WAN Tools Are Barriers
Yes, it’s still important to have a router – you need to connect your employees to their business applications and to each other. But with so many business apps moving to the cloud, and so many users working remotely, a legacy WAN at the foot of the data centre, with leased connections to branch sites each with their own WAN routers, is no longer as useful as it once was.
Flexera’s State of the Cloud Report 2021 shows that 97% of businesses now use at least one public cloud, with 77% using more than one public cloud. Routing branch traffic to the data centre before going to the cloud makes no sense. Now, this traditional, closed network proves to become a barrier rather than the sleek benefit to business it once was.
Instead, an SD-WAN (that’s software-defined wide area network) routes directly from the branch to the cloud via the internet (instead of the central data centre), based on the application and the resources necessary to perform business functions. You can even route traffic from the branch to the central centre via the internet too with an SD-WAN. There is an SD-WAN router at each branch, plus one at the foot of the cloud. The security policies and quality of service settings are orchestrated from the one spot, leading to improved app performance and security. Learn more about modern SD-WAN configurations here.
With SD-WAN for instance, if you’re accessing your Salesforce data, it’ll be lightning speed, with access only for those branches that use it. SD-WAN can also hook up to 4G and 5G networks, unlike traditional WAN.
Deploying SD-WAN is not a simple switch on and then switch off your old infrastructure. It requires planning, consideration of the best provider for your SD-WAN, and evaluation of each of your business app priorities and their corresponding security considerations.
Unless you have a network engineer on the team, it’s recommended that you engage the services of professionals who know how to help outline your business needs and constraints, then choose the right configuration to match.
A1 Technologies can help you find the right SD-WAN and supporting configuration to ensure your migration to a better networking solution goes smoothly and results in excellent new business network results. We partner with Fortinet, the best and most outstanding provider in the space, and can recommend and configure your modern networks for security, reliability, increased failover to prevent network brownouts, and enterprise-level filtering.
Working together, we can deploy these solutions and show your team how to manage them in the future when tweaks and additions are necessary. Or, if you’d rather, we’re happy to stay on and help with network management as your managed services provider.
Jump on the phone or shoot us an email and get in contact to start the ball rolling with your new networking capabilities.
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