Data network infrastructure is an essential part of modern business. It is the basis to acquiring, storing, and processing information in a fast and efficient manner, making productivity and competitiveness possible in a digital-imperative scenario.
With rare exceptions, no business model today is capable of surviving without digital. For the convenience of users – and insomnia of the IT teams – customers, employees, and operations’ financial data are encrypted in bits and bytes, which are stored in servers, notebooks, mobiles, or spread across the cloud.
Is your infrastructure reliable?
Network infrastructure is the vessel which companies rely on to navigate through an ocean of information and connections. Luxury ship or leaky boat? To understand which one your company is boarding, there are some signals you need to pay attention to:
- Performance: The team’s performance is directly related to the performance of the communications’ infrastructure. Allow me to explain: if your company has video conferences in which half of the participants is unable to connect and the other half spends most of the time repeating choppy sentences, or reports are overdue because graphics are too heavy to download, or customers are abandoning your site due to slowness, then poor network infrastructure could be holding back your business success.
- Security: Unapplied patches, discontinued or unsupported equipment are some examples of potential security gaps exploited by hackers who wish to carry out scams or activate Ramsonware in your network.
- Governance: Structural weaknesses can also affect governance, due to incomplete documentation or poor visibility of equipment. Having professionals travel to execute maintenance in remote locations can also be a problem, as it means that the network technologies deployed aren’t as modern as before.
How can I recover my network’s performance?
If you are worried about these scenarios, maybe the time has come to update your infrastructure and apply SD-WAN to your network. This technology, which means Software Defined Wide Area Network, is a powerful solution to improve the infrastructure of companies of all sizes. SD-WAN is an architecture which uses a software layer to control and manage the data network. As a result, it simplifies the efforts of both IT teams and users, enabling:
Flexibility: SD-WAN allows locations that have different provider links or technologies to be connected and managed remotely. This represents less travel, increased agility, and lower maintenance costs – reason enough to satisfy the CFO and validate the choices made by the IT team.
Performance: SD-WAN enables a better management of data traffic, improving network and team performance. It’s also worth remembering that satisfied users mean quality sleep for support teams.
Security: This technology adds extra layers of software-deployed security, such as encryption and traffic filters, in addition to assisting in maintaining better documentation and visualization of the network and active equipment. All of these ensure less headaches and more peaceful weekends for the IT teams and business leaders.
So, is it just a matter of activating software?
SD-WAN can be an important ally for the infrastructure teams, but it comes with a cost. It demands skilled and specialized professionals to guarantee maximum performance. Key attention points are:
- Planning: Identifying which business demands will require network support and defining the scaling of equipment and links to meet these demands.
- Technology selection: SD-WAN is a blanket name under which many manufacturers and providers develop their solutions. Some products can be better adapted to low-cost scenarios, while others require specific security conditions or are divided into hundreds of features, charging for the complexity of their management. Identifying the cost/benefit for your business requires a deep understanding of manufacturers and their details. For some teams, this is a huge challenge, as it demands time and commitment from employees who are already drowning in day-to-day operations.
- Deployment: Proper execution of this stage will bring long-term benefits. Here, knowledge and experience are key to ensuring that the best configurations are used in daily operations.
- Operations and Support: While SD-WAN is responsible for a great portion of the network’s operation, it is critical to count on the supervision of experienced, technology-savvy professionals to ensure the network’s security and performance throughout its lifecycle.
In the operations stage, demand may potentially grow beyond planned and require the replacement of equipment when peak performance is reached. To avoid this, a difficult decision should be made in the planning stage: purchase equipment that may be oversized for your current needs or risk paying future costs when an upgrade is needed?
SD-WAN as a Service
SD-WAN technology has been in the market for quite a while, so many people thought that the software layer would solve most operational difficulties. However, they soon found out that this couldn’t be further from the truth. To make the most of SD-WAN, an option might be to place the service above the software.
The market offers SD-WAN-as-a-Service. This includes the expertise and support of qualified professionals and the security that comes from knowing that potential performance upgrades do not imply large investments to change hardware or the loss of what had been previously installed.
Therefore, SD-WAN-as-a-Service solutions combine the benefits of technology with a financial alternative that can enable upgrades of infrastructures that are on the path to obsolescence. They are practical and safe, both for large businesses that demand agility and capacity to grow and for smaller companies, which unfortunately have a hard time finding professionals and information to select the ideal equipment for their realities.
Yuri holds a degree in Electrical Industrial Engineering (UTFPR), a postgraduate degree in IT Management (Unicenp) and an MBA in Executive Management (Insper/SP). He has always worked in the information technology and telecommunications market. In the company since 2000, he has held positions in technical and product areas and, since 2008, has led the Strategic Marketing and Communications team in Brazil.