Technology has entrenched itself into the way we do business, becoming the fundamental foundation of virtually any organisation. For IT departments, this has created incredible complexity as teams need to keep their fingers on the pulse of every aspect of their business and the constantly evolving technology it uses.
From connectivity and networking to security, to managing multiple data environments both in the cloud and on-premise, to factoring in business enhancing technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), IT teams have a lot on their plates.
Organisations with multiple branches have considerably more complexity as IT teams add the headache of managing the myriad service providers that provide connectivity between branches and back to their head office, as well as the extended WiFi networks within each branch.
For many businesses, the number of service providers used to provision their WAN becomes costly and managing them can be inefficient. When part – or all – of their network experiences downtime, the hassle of logging a call with the right service provider(s) and lack of control over the resolution can be frustrating. There’s also a question of security, with multiple providers offering different levels of security, not all of which may conform to the business’s own security policy.
There are solutions available, however, that can simplify management of the WAN while alleviating cost strain, increasing security controls and putting control over the network back into the hands of the business, while also reducing the complexity.
Software Defined (SD) WAN, is a solution that effectively extends a business’s head office connectivity across the entire network of branches within the organisation. Leveraging remote access points (APs), strategically placed at each branch, alongside the last mile connectivity, a secure tunnel is created from each branch back to the head office.
From this vantage point, the IT team at the head office is able to securely manage and control connectivity to, from and between each branch. Businesses can manage quality of service, data security protocols, access controls, speed and troubleshooting from a single point. They are able to view the network as a whole from a “single pane of glass”, easily managing traffic and prioritisation without needing to obtain multiple reports from different service providers.
For organisations on digital transformation journeys, implementing technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, and the cloud, this makes all the difference. SD Branch ensures security is managed from a central point based on the business’s security policy, so onboarding of IoT devices becomes more secure and easily controllable.
Essentially, SD Branch enables security and data at the edge. Data and traffic prioritisation allow for fast transmission and opens the door to analytics at the edge – right at each branch, or device.
The process of moving the cloud becomes dramatically easier with SD Branch, as modernisation become simpler and there is no need to reinvest in additional physical hardware. SD Branch is a cloud-based solution, therefore businesses are already in the cloud, which facilitates the step up for the rest of the business’s processes and systems.
Easy management with sensors
Enhancing AI-powered networking capabilities with a sensor-based service assurance solution, businesses leverage a simple, proactive, and network-agnostic tool for measuring and monitoring SaaS, applications, and network services. This helps organisations deliver the best possible end-user experience by enabling IT to get ahead of service quality issues before they occur, accelerate time to resolution, and lower cost of operations.
Through SD Branch capability augmented with sensors and AI, businesses can achieve a holistic view of the WAN and LAN environments, gaining complete and proactive management of the quality, speed and performance of the entirely of their network without having to rely on multiple service providers. Ultimately, they save money, resources and do away with much of the complexity.
By Pieter Engelbrecht, HPE Aruba BU Manager Sub-Sharan Africa