The past two years have driven unprecedented change across the business world. The pandemic required nearly every company to re-evaluate how they operate. From physical offices to employees to technology, very few businesses look like they did at the start of 2020.
No, this isn’t another blog about what has changed since the pandemic’s start. Instead, it’s about what hasn’t changed but what many businesses and IT teams didn’t know when they were forced into unfamiliar territory.
The fact is that the technology to successfully support the shift to remote working has been available; most businesses simply didn’t recognize its value until it was too late. So, here’s a look at four things businesses probably wish they had known about networking technology before the pandemic that would have made their transition to remote work much easier.
While cloud-based and SaaS applications have been replacing legacy application models for years now, the pandemic underscored why the cloud has risen to prominence. With all your applications in the cloud, it doesn’t matter where your workforce is located. They can be dispersed across the country – or world – yet can function as effectively as ever with a full complement of cloud-based business applications and services. Today, there really isn’t a business tool that can’t be consumed via the cloud.
Remote work was the single most significant change in business operations. The truth is, it was already emerging as a trend due to generational preferences, but they made it an immediate reality. Today, most businesses have realized that remote and hybrid working is here to stay. The problem was most businesses weren’t ready to support remote working. Their traditional WAN infrastructure wasn’t suited for supporting a virtual, cloud-driven workforce.
Communications and workflows that were once self-contained within the corporate network were suddenly extended beyond each employee’s location. It required a whole new approach to the network, applications, bandwidth, and policy management. The entire network had to become more flexible and dynamic, effectively extending the network edge to each user location.
ExtremeCloud SD-WAN provides a centrally managed network overlay to your existing WAN, creating a scalable network that connects your core network and cloud applications and extends them to employees, wherever they are located. SD-WAN effectively moves the network edge to wherever your employees are located, so they no longer relying on VPNs and their infrastructure. Employees’ remote locations become extensions of the corporate network – a much more secure and reliable option for the entire organization.
Of course, connectivity is one part of the puzzle. As remote working took hold, one of the challenges was ensuring application performance to ensure every worker could function effectively. Changes in network access and traffic patterns, including the massive increase in video conferencing and other collaboration tools, meant networks had to be much more dynamic to accommodate high-bandwidth applications.
SD-WAN offers dynamic scalability – the ability to support multiple broadband connections to ensure application performance based on SLAs and application- or user-based prioritization to optimize application performance. With dynamic path selection, an SD-WAN solution selects the optimal path for each application in real-time. The result of this application-aware network is the best possible user experience while optimizing network resources, leading to positive business outcomes.
OK, so you can ensure secure connectivity and application performance. But it’s all so complex, with so many users, applications, and devices, that management is going to be a nightmare, right? Actually, no.
You’ve already figured out that your business lives in the cloud – it’s what’s gotten you this far. Your network management solution is just as easily accessed through the cloud. ExtremeCloud IQ streamlines every part of your network management, including AI-based features to simplify troubleshooting for IT managers.
With ExtremeCloud IQ, IT teams have a single pane of glass view of their network performance, health, and security down to individual users, devices, and applications. It doesn’t end there, though. You can manage your entire end-to-end network, from your wired or wireless infrastructure to your SD-WAN, ensuring full management of your entire business – including full policy management across your extended network.
Suddenly, instead of feeling like you’re managing a massively complex conglomeration of disparate networks, you have a simple, holistic view of everything that’s happening. You also have the power of an AI engine to monitor your entire network to proactively identify potential issues and solve them before they impact performance.
There’s no denying the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on businesses. It shifted how we work, and tech priorities, forcing companies to accelerate their digital transformation strategies and revise their roadmaps. But, with the power of cloud-driven networking and SD-WAN, those challenges are in the rear-view mirror, and businesses are now ready to forge their future with a network solution for the modern era.