How agile networking helps CIOs rest easy

Not only are IT environments and networks growing in size, but they are also becoming more complex. As businesses progressively add an increasing amount of components to the IT ecosystem, including IoT devices, data management, and cloud and edge computing, enterprise networks are under immense pressure. Other existing issues such as outdated legacy systems only exacerbate every CIO’s headache.

Although every business has different needs, they all face common networking challenges, particularly when it comes to speed, security and performance. A more agile networking model can help CIOs addresses these challenges, while giving them greater control and visibility over their network connections.

Keeping network disruption at bay

When it comes to network performance, bandwidth usage is a critical factor for any CIO.

But estimating that usage has become even harder in recent years, with the sheer number of devices accessing the corporate network being higher than ever before. Employees use a variety of personal devices and expect to be able to access some or all their business systems without any frictions. Not only can these devices pose new security threats for businesses, but they also consume more bandwidth.

The shift to hybrid/remote working means that employees will be connecting from dispersed locations, usually at similar times of the day. With remote work, digital collaboration, and real-time communication apps being now a core part of our jobs, any drop in bandwidth, jitter, packet loss or latency below a tolerance threshold will lead to service disruption. As a result, workers won’t be able to communicate with each other or with external stakeholders.

Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) platforms can help CIOs in the battle against network congestion and bottlenecks by giving them the ability to adjust bandwidth to meet the individual needs of their business. This ensures they have high service availability and bandwidth during periods of peak demand. And conversely, enables them to plan for periods of lower network usage and not end up paying for bandwidth they are not utilising.

Managing multiple networks

Another strain on business networks is the shift to cloud-first approach. In fact, it was predicted by Gartner that the vast majority (95%) of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud-native platforms by 2025. It’s a massive shift especially considered that in 2021 it was only 30%.

As enterprises migrate more of their workloads to the cloud, network complexity is on the rise.

Initially, it was believed that most businesses would choose a cloud-only approach, but as technology has advanced, hybrid and multi-cloud strategies have grown more widespread.

Not all applications are suitable for the public cloud. On-premise data centres are still active, and each public cloud has its own strengths and weaknesses, forcing businesses to mix-and-match to suit their needs.

Vendor lock-in has also been on CIOs minds for some time now. In fact, organisations are now juggling between multi-vendor infrastructures and multi-cloud architectures on a daily basis. This presents businesses with great opportunities, but also creates complex environments full of proprietary systems, varied interfaces, and specialist requirements.

Bringing in the best-of-breed technology from today’s vendors means figuring out how to integrate and support multiple solutions.

Every IT professional knows that no two networks are the same. With that in mind, it’s difficult to predict the effects of any significant modification. Using a diverse set of third-party SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS providers, for example, might result in several points of failure. Better visibility and control over network connections can help address some of these issues and make onboarding new third-party providers easier.

Furthermore, by using a private and direct connection to access major public cloud platforms, without the use of the public internet, businesses can circumvent some of the security challenges out there.

The key to resilience

Network failures or downtimes are not an uncommon occurrence. However, if a company’s network isn’t equipped with redundancy capabilities, the repercussions can be serious. Businesses frequently invest in redundant network links to guarantee that a single point of failure does not result in a total network outage. These links give more protection if the network has a point of failure by providing an alternate path for traffic.

Although keeping redundant links in place can be expensive, businesses can’t afford any periods of network downtime. It is difficult to estimate the impact of a cable break. Some network operators could have links up and running again in a matter of hours, but a failure on a subsea cable route could take weeks to repair.

There’s a method for organisations to adopt a new, more resilient approach to their network. If implemented correctly, an agile networking model will allow them to adjust network components in near real-time, providing them with a plan B, and occasionally even a plan C, during periods of network disruption.

The very nature of NaaS makes it a flexible solution for many of the challenges facing CIOs today. As bandwidth usage becomes harder to predict, an on-demand, pay-as-you-use model can help alleviate some of the strains on networks.

For instance, if there are unexpected seeing spikes in activity, IT leaders can dynamically scale the network bandwidth in order to accommodate. This also allows to establish dedicated private connections to the cloud provider and can also help meet demands on corporate network caused by remote workforce.

Being able to rely on a scalable platform enables businesses to gain back-up network option during periods of network disruption, and CIOs to sleep soundly.

Neil Templeton

VP of Marketing at Console Connect by PCCW Global

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