Optimised network connectivity and performance provides the foundation required to support businesses in meeting their digital aspirations.
“IDC has predicted that by 2023, 80 per cent of organisations must transform their networks to meet customer expectations,” Justin Day, CEO and co-founder of Cloud Gateway, said. “However, it isn’t always clear on which changes deliver the most value to each organisation.”
Four key pillars were set out in the latest UK Digital Strategy, which provide guidance on maintaining strong digital foundations. These include having a robust digital infrastructure, unlocking the power of data, a pro-innovation regulatory framework, and secure digital environment. While this takes a broader stance on the landscape of digital, the pillars can be applied on an individual basis – utilising the framework as a tool to guide businesses with their network management.
“Enhancing your network infrastructure will require you to modify all the processes and people involved, helping them adapt to the new technology and harness data driven insights,” Day continues. “It seems an easy route for organisations to respond to their problems with new technology but it’s only ever going to be as effective as the processes, people and the quality of data involved.”
The right IT infrastructure can be transformative in increasing agility and efficiency but without robust and scalable solutions, organisations can find it difficult to keep pace with the changes they’re experiencing. Investing in flexible networks is a must as any kind of digital transformation relies on network flexibility, performance and availability.
With approaches like secure access service edge (SASE) that deliver unified networking and security capabilities, organisations can implement hybrid and multicloud strategies that give them the ability to select the application, technology or provider that best fits their requirements, all through a single, cloud native managed service. This eliminates the costs and time associated with unnecessary network complexity and the management of multiple vendors. It also gives organisations greater flexibility to scale up and down with their requirements.
A SASE approach also provides greater control and visibility of the network and a way to consolidate and strengthen security across the IT estate. Consistent policy can be applied to data traffic from all sources and destinations, from fixed sites to virtual hosting and to the data centre.
Minimising network complexity means reducing the workload for internal IT teams, so they can reinvest their time elsewhere. SASE provides IT teams with a more holistic approach to cybersecurity so they can monitor what’s going on, enforce security utilities, and manage things like custom access policies – making it easier for them to connect and secure all their users and resources in their digital environment.
One of the key benefits of SASE is that its architecture supports the integration of disparate technologies into a single cloud-native environment.
“With the shift to remote working and distributed workforces, organisations need to access data and applications in new and often more complex ways,” Day continues. “For IT teams this calls for greater visibility of the users, accessing the network and the applications they are using. By combining software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) capabilities with several network security functions such as firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS) and secure web gateways (SWG), a SASE approach enables employees to securely connect to internal resources from anywhere and gives organisations better control over the traffic and data that enters and leaves their network.
Transformation for connected enterprises insists on an agility and scalability that is greater than previous expectations. Alongside this, it needs to be reduced in complexity and improved in security. Bolstering IT infrastructure with SASE allows businesses to transition from their legacy data systems in a confident and secure way. Not only can such an approach untangle confusion with maintenance, but the intersection of network and security helps streamline otherwise complicated processes. IT teams are therefore given the power to effortlessly connect to resources, regardless of location. This makes applications and data more efficient to access and protects data residing in the cloud.
“SASE is not just technology, but also a specific approach to IT and transformation,” Day concludes. “The framework brings a holistic approach, which is arguably its key strength. It presents a solid foundation upon which businesses can fully harness the power and potential of digital, technology and data. Ultimately, this is where they can deliver the greatest efficiencies to support organisational objectives and enhance agility.