Swift, Secure, Scalable: Three Keys to Network and Connectivity in the Modern Work Era
Business connectivity, network expansion, and cyber security are hallmarks of the modern work era. Safe and latency-free connections to the cloud are necessary for any company to stay competitive and maintain a remote workforce. Solutions like software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) and mobile device management (MDM) evolved to support and secure network connections.
These fast-developing technologies are here to stay, keeping IT professionals and even c-suite personnel on their toes. Workflows that were once static have become dynamic and flexible, and defined workspaces have become work-from-anywhere. This new normal may seem complicated. Let's look at the best ways to navigate and maximize the changing network and connectivity needs.
Mobility and Security Go Hand-in-Hand
Even before the pandemic accelerated remote and mobile access, companies were already moving away from legacy applications. Instead, they moved toward a data center model that could support a virtual network and robust unified communications systems. According to Harvard Business Review 2020 Cloud Survey, 83% of businesses say cloud is very or extremely essential to future strategy and growth.
Software as a service (SaaS) and other cloud-based applications were ideal, allowing users to connect to company data more efficiently. They also helped save capital by reducing hardware, maintenance, and computer housing needs. But to keep up with the ever-evolving modern work era, companies still face several business connectivity challenges.
- Users require network speeds that allow ease of access to information and data both on and off site.
- Networks need to be secured, especially when accessing from multiple locations.
- Network access should not be limited to specific devices.
- Businesses need a comprehensive, unified communications system to stay connected with users, clients, and customers.
- Networks need to be optimized for more extensive data transfers and speed to support cloud and collaboration software.
Speed Is Necessary for Network Connectivity
Network volume spiked as a result of dispersed workforces accessing networks and data remotely in the early months of the pandemic. Data centers became overloaded, latency soared, and IT departments struggled to keep up.
Businesses began to realize that establishing a thriving remote or hybrid work environment required a shift. They needed networks capable of handling multiple users from multiple access points connecting to a data center virtually. To keep pace, businesses also needed to optimize, with plenty of storage, for bigger data transfers. But they also had to be secure, protecting the users and sensitive customer data.
Protecting The Network Is Priority One
Cyber incident risks are the number one concern (44% of responses) of worldwide business for the second time in the survey's history, according to the Allianz Risk Barometer.1 Employee, customer, client, and company data must be safeguarded from a network breach. While cyber attacks on corporate companies increased 50%, the most targeted sectors in 2021 include2:
- Healthcare sector
- Internet service providers (ISP/MSP)
- Government / military sector (up by 47%)
Remote access from non-work devices on public networks is a logical target for cyber criminals. Still, they can also hack your network directly with denial of service (DoS) and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.3 Since remote and hybrid workforces are here to stay, IT teams and company leadership are investing in tools that help secure and encrypt all access points regardless of location and device. They’re also developing programs to inform users of cyber risks.
Must-Have Technologies That Support Modern Business Needs
A few short years ago, company leadership seemed to hyperventilate when the Microsoft migration to Office 365 was mentioned. In the meantime, artificial intelligence and machine learning have integrated seamlessly into nearly every industry. Ever fast-moving, technology always rises to the challenge of supporting modern business needs.
Network Infrastructure Solutions
You may have heard of WAN, SD-WAN, SDN, and VPN if you've dipped your toe in the digital space. Each plays a role in helping companies maximize network connectivity and security. Legacy data center connectivity depended on physical equipment like computers, routers, switches, and cables.
Local area networks (LANs), or connected computers within a defined space, in conjunction with software-defined networks (SDNs), changed that. The ability to control and modify aspects of the LAN made connectivity more manageable.
Of course, making sure those connections were secure often required the ability to encrypt data. This led to virtual private networks (VPNs). Remote employees typically use public or unsecured internet to connect to the company's data center, increasing the chances of a cyber attack. VPNs encrypt data through a dedicated private connection.
As businesses grew, wide area networks (WANs) were developed to connect multi-location LANs or office branches. Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) emerged as a way to manage WANs, improving performance, efficiency, and security. It also eliminated the need for computers, personnel to maintain them, and constant software upgrades and updates.
Unlike SDN, SD-WAN is typically controlled by a service provider and allows for global access.4 Most importantly, SD-WAN supports key security features like next-gen firewalls, browser extensions, URL filtering, and network management and oversight.
Ensure Solid, Ongoing Device and Network Protection
SD-WAN helps companies execute virtual desktop, device and network monitoring, and mobile device management (MDM). Viruses, trojans, and malware can be inadvertently downloaded by a user, hiding until the device is connected to the network.
MDM monitors company and personally owned devices in real time. A virtual desktop infrastructure is a software-based gateway that connects computers to a singular desktop environment, making it easy for IT staff to manage, update, and back up files. They can also keep a close eye on incoming and outgoing data and protect end-user equipment with direct device and network monitoring.
SD-WAN allows administrators to instantly isolate a potential threat and disconnect devices from the network. Updating virus software and outdated machines, and watching the network 24/7 for potential breaches, involves manpower and costs. Companies may unintentionally skip some of these steps to save money. There is a solution that can help with all of these network and connectivity concerns.
Key Benefits of Ongoing Managed Services
Managed service providers (MSPs) help businesses and industries keep up with today's evolving technology challenges. MSPs are especially impactful for companies who aren't as prepared as they'd like to be for the digital transition. Today's hybrid work environment makes network accessibility and latency-free business connectivity more important in the global market. Every organization's work ecosystem may be different, but there are core commonalities easily handled by MSPs that ensure safety and success.
Testing the Network
While most enterprises frequently upgrade technology, anything older than 24 months may have vulnerabilities that need patching. These systems, applications, or hardware may even need to be replaced. The network itself, especially remote access points, also needs to be tested and monitored 100% of the time.
MSPs can provide these critical measures and advanced network security, scanning, and vulnerability remediation. Companies can't afford to make mistakes, but MSP solutions are cost-effective options that can save money in the long run.
Employees (remote or on-site) need support, especially regarding time management, productivity, and interpersonal needs. Scheduling regular communications, meetings, and catch-up calls will help workers stay motivated and on-task. Teleconferences and virtual meetings are the norms in the modern work era.
Investing in and expanding unified communications that provide consistent and reliable network service is the most efficient way to accomplish this goal. Not only will these flexible solutions empower your team to communicate better, but ROI increases as customers and prospects know they can reach your business at any time.
Backup and Recovery Assistance
How often do you back up your phone to the cloud? Things like physical damage, a new phone, or a bad upgrade can erase and prevent you from accessing your data.
The same is true for companies. A power failure, natural disaster, or a security breach can cause your systems to go down. Thus, developing a comprehensive and secure backup and disaster recovery plan is crucial. A highly responsive MSP can store and protect your data and help you restore it almost instantly. This saves you money in terms of time, physical space, and staffing.
Introducing Xceptional's IT Services and Support
Xceptional is a leading IT and communications provider, offering worry-free network connectivity, security, and managed services customized for your business needs. Our experts deliver tried and true solutions that connect your business to anyone, anywhere, on any device. We are your digital partner, providing complete IT device monitoring and network monitoring, unmatched unified communications, and top-notch network security.
Just need to focus on business-critical digital initiatives? Xceptional can help support and meet your technology goals. Contact us today to see how we can help grow your business.