Originally posted on LinkedIn by DataEndure Network Architect, Ross Rehart.
The past two years have seen radical changes in the way we use the network. Seemingly, in the blink of an eye, we have gone from an in-office, centralized and controlled network to a fully or near-fully distributed model. The pandemic revealed the practicality, problems, and needs of a remote workforce. We also learned that the workforce largely prefers the remote model over the in-office models of the past. As we have seen and experienced, the remote model can and does work – yet it has introduced new challenges to the network and the evermore connected world.
There are myriad dynamics and considerations that must come into play with the ever-growing demands of the workforce, consumers, and our interconnected economies and supply chains.
The modern network must account for DevOps, Security, GDPR, Infrastructure, and most of all Quality of Experience (QoE) for the end-user; be that internal workforce, partners, vendors, or customers. People have come to expect that their in-app experience will be equal to or better than what they get on their personal devices such as phones, tablets, etc. They also expect their apps to be usable anytime, anywhere, with the same five-star experience. Anything less is simply unacceptable. And similar to apps you have on your smartphone today, they can simply choose to go to another vendor if they don’t like what you have to offer (think Spotify v. Apple Music vs. Pandora). A single bad experience can lead to loss of customers and revenue. Or worse, continual bad experiences can lead to frustrations in the workforce leading to loss of staff.
Modern networks are becoming more software driven than ever before. The abstraction of the network, datalink and physical layers is largely a necessity as IT teams implement app driven technologies such as SD-WAN and Policy Based Routing (PBR), policy for security (microsegmentation), policy for multi-clouds, etc. When you and your teams are implementing, building, and operating all of these new technologies, you still have to keep QoE at the forefront of your thinking.
Consider workflow mining and management. IT teams today are largely reactive in nature, meaning that they monitor (or monitor through a partner) the infrastructure, WAN/LAN/WLAN, applications, etc. Keeping QoE in mind, Network and IT administrators need to be talking to outside departments (HR, Admin, shipping dock, etc.) and mapping out all their application workflows. For instance, it is a given that Sales, HR, Accounting, and Shipping/Receiving will have different workflows through, and peripherally to, your CRM application. By mining and documenting each of those workflows, the administrator can then design the network, security (microsegmentation), and edge such that it considers, optimizes, and properly isolates traffic for each scenario. When considering these factors with how departments use the platform (on the LAN, remotely, etc.), along with any possible GDPR concerns, the administrator can design, implement, and manage the network with greater ease and simplicity than many networks are today.
Where a trusted (3rd party) advisor comes in. The fact is, no one person (or team) can think of everything across this vast, interconnected, workflow-dependent landscape. Having a trusted advisor, who keeps your company’s business outcomes and technical requirements at the forefront of the discussions, is critically important if we are to meet these challenges. Free from the constraints of being tied to any given technology, platform, or departmental politics, this advisor can weigh all considerations equally. This helps ensure that your company is implementing the best solution for your requirements (workflows, business, technical, etc.) and has the flexibility to grow with your business, customer, and workforce needs.
At DataEndure, we thrive on fulfilling this role. We can help you streamline your network and security planes so that they are easier to manage, secure, and operate. We are not tied to a single vendor solution. In fact, we are constantly evaluating the latest technologies in networking, security, and infrastructure to ensure you receive the best possible solution for your needs. Simply put, our goal is to help you, your business, and your customers be productive and secure, with the best Quality of Experience possible. We call this Digital Resilience.