9 March 2022
New applications and forms of collaboration are changing the requirements for network infrastructures
The three pillars of modern networks
Bad Homburg, Germany - 9 March 2022 – Modern networks are a basic prerequisite for greater digitization of companies. They securely and reliably integrate remote employees into the central IT environment, allow smooth use of new cloud services and the relocation of applications from in-house data centers to the cloud. But what actually characterizes a modern network? Jörg Jakobi, Director Presales GTM Networking at NTT Ltd, a leading global IT technology service provider, explains what network infrastructures must offer today in order to function optimally and meet current and future requirements:
- With the rapid advance of digitization, data flows in companies are changing. They no longer take place primarily within the confines of the corporate network, but extend to the cloud and employees' home offices. This increases the dependence on fast and reliable connections as well as the need for flexible control of data transfers. This is the only way companies can prioritize the traffic of real-time applications such as voice and video communication or move applications between the data center and the cloud depending on usage loads. And only in this way can they enable direct cloud access for employees in home offices or branch offices, avoiding detours via central infrastructures that unnecessarily burden VPN servers, firewalls and WAN connections. An SD-WAN provides this combination of performance, reliability and agility. It allows adjustments to bandwidths, transmission priorities and the paths of data transfers in real time and ensures optimal use of line capacities.
- Since a significant part of the communication and data flows takes place outside the protected company network, the security requirements increase considerably. Companies must therefore not only encrypt transmissions, but also pay greater attention to assigning rights and controlling access. To achieve a high level of security and simplify the management of the network and security infrastructure, they should consider security at the network planning stage, rather than adding it to a new network after the fact. Highly integrated solutions that cleverly work together reduce complexity. SD-WAN, for example, comes with encryption out of the box. When selecting solutions for authentication, rights management, application security and monitoring, it can also make sense to rely on one or a few providers to avoid a patchwork of poorly integrated individual solutions.
- Modern networks with a high degree of agility allow rapid adjustments when business requirements change. To ensure that these adjustments do not jeopardize security or business operations, well thought-out and well-rehearsed governance processes are necessary. They regulate who is allowed to make which changes and with what lead times, how escalations are handled, and how the monitoring of network services and reporting are carried out. As a rule, a service provider takes over most of the tasks, since even large companies often do not have the resources to operate and monitor an SD-WAN around the clock. Together with the service provider, the SLAs, the contact persons on both sides, and all processes that affect the network are agreed upon and recorded in the contract. However, companies that manage their SD-WAN themselves also need such governance processes and should record all responsibilities and regulations in an operations manual.
"Companies often introduce new cloud services or modernize their applications without thinking about the impact on the network. In such cases, there is a risk of bandwidth bottlenecks, unstable connections and security breaches," explains Jörg Jakobi, Director Presales GTM Networking at NTT Ltd. "Only with modern network solutions such as SD-WAN, which offer high performance, security and agility, do companies create the basis for other digitalization steps. The introduction of new working models and cloud strategies should therefore always go hand in hand with a modernization of the network infrastructure." Visit us at services.global.ntt
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