Date posted: 19 May 2022 – Category: Cabling Services
As any modern business leader knows all too well, your IT data network is the backbone of your operation. And, with more and more organisations continuing with hybrid working practices even now Covid restrictions have been lifted, it’s vital that networks are optimised for the most efficient and productive results.
Indeed, 68% of employers are predicting that staff will now be working on the premises for at least three days a week, bringing new demands to existing IT infrastructure as video conferencing and use of cloud-based applications become part of the “new normal.” In addition to ensuring that your network is ready to handle the flow of traffic, it’s also essential to address the extra security protocols needed in order to keep those working at home from inadvertently posing a threat to your organisation.
Read on to discover just how to achieve the network that delivers to its full capability.
If you want to create the most efficient data network for your hybrid working teams, then understanding your bandwidth needs is critical. Rather than simply upping the bandwidth provision, use a dedicated software tool to fully analyse how your current bandwidth is being used, and give your IT department the total visibility they need in order to identify and remedy the root causes of any bandwidth issues.
With more and more staff returning to the office for at least part of the working week, it’s important to address any LAN issues which may be lingering. All too often, work premises will have connectivity “dead spots”, and eliminating these problem areas is critical to ensuring that optimum productivity is achieved by those working in the office. Be sure to factor in the likely increase in demand on these networks, too, as on-site employees video call remote working colleagues and stream workloads.
The WAN will need attention too, as the daily nature of a hybrid workforce means that live video conferencing will become a key element of modern office life. Make sure that your WAN can handle the demands of video conferencing (and, indeed, sometimes multiple video conferences taking place at once around the office), without impacting negatively on video quality. In addition to proving extremely frustrating for users, a disrupted video conferencing experience caused by inadequate WAN provision will impact on efficiency and drain morale fast. Look at SD-WAN, 5G and other technologies to ensure everything runs smoothly.
When it comes to cyber security, many people will automatically think of a VPN, yet this is no longer sufficient as a defence in this new working era. VPNs are superb when using enterprise apps, but are not effective enough when cloud-based applications or services are the order of the day. With many organisations now committed to SaaS and other cloud-delivered IT, it’s important to look at evolving your security protocols.
This strategising must address the potential threats posed by those working away from the office, and using cloud applications and services. One option is to add split-tunnel methods, which allow remote employees to access the apps they need from the business’ data centre (making use of the company VPN), whilst meaning that cloud-based apps and services are accessed through the employee’s own internet connection. This will help to avoid the danger of employees allowing access to organisational data to bad actors. However, split-tunnel approaches are not sufficient in themselves, and further protection should be integrated to protect your business’s networks.
An acronym for Secure Access Service Edge, SASE is an excellent option for those looking to overcome some of the limitations of a broad VPN and split tunnel deployment. As well as helping to patch any security loopholes created by a variety of security products and consoles, adding SASE capabilities to your cybersecurity arsenal will also help to protect your organisation from the risk posed by remote employees bypassing VPNs, for example when logging into cloud-based services and applications. It takes a zero-trust approach and will cover firewalls, gateways and WAN services with a cohesive shield. Another reason to add a SASE solution is the ease of management they afford, whilst being more scalable to the evolving demands of a hybrid workforce than a large scale VPN deployment.
21 Station Road Workshops, Station Rd, Bristol, BS15 4PJ
Matt Nice, Director of ICT, Bristol Grammar School