The network has become the critical infrastructure of every business. It is the veins that push the new digital lifeblood around the organisation, connecting your people, connecting users to business-critical applications and providing key services to customers.
It is not just important that this network is available, it also needs to perform, be secure and have the agility to adopt to ever-changing business needs.
The criticality of your wired, wireless and wide-area networks is driving the IT team to look closely at how they manage this, the tools they use and the managed services partner they work with.
It All Starts With Visibility
Not only are today’s networks complex, they also serve a wide variety of needs and there is often a chasm between what they were originally designed for and how they are used right now.
Truly understanding your network and how it is being used is essential and this is why organisations are investing heavily in tools to monitor and analyse their network. The aim is to understand what is traversing their network, those heavy bandwidth consumers, rogue applications and also potential security vulnerabilities.
This is not a one-off exercise but a continuous process and one that fits perfectly with a managed service provider. Providing you with powerful insights, benchmarks, flagging priority areas and predicting future capacity requirements.
Embracing SDN & Continual Optimisation
With visibility you are then able to make more informed decisions about embracing SDN and how this can deliver value to every part of your network. For example, understanding the source and destination of your WAN traffic enables you to understand the most optimum route for this traffic and leverage SD-WAN to handle traffic destined to central systems or the internet differently.
SDN redefines how you support and manage your network; many of the manual configuration tasks are taken away with automation and you need less router experts and more assistance in defining the rules and policies. Support of your network becomes less about break-fix and more about a partner that can help you put in place the best practices to monitor and optimise performance.
Securing A Boundary-Less Network
The network is now truly boundary-less; your end-users need access from any location utilising their device of choice, and the systems they access often reside in clouds and on infrastructure that you do not own.
With a significantly increased attack surface area, it is no longer sufficient to simply protect the perimeter, but tools are required for policy-based access, secure end-user devices and to protect people from inadvertently accessing malicious websites or content.
The network is key to this, not only creating a zero-trust environment across your extended infrastructure but acting as a critical sensor, monitoring traffic and behaviour and alerting to abnormalities taking place.
This again changes how we think about support and managed services for our network. The worlds of network management and security are combining, and you need to ensure you are thinking secure network management.
Partnering For The New Era
All of these factors are redefining the role of the Managed Service Provider. Their expertise needs to extend beyond the network and embrace both security and hybrid cloud environments. Their focus can no longer be solely on availability, but the emphasis needs to be around meticulous monitoring and creating the insights that enable you to move your network forward.
The pace at which technology is advancing combined with the growing need for businesses to be more agile is driving organisations to look closely at the partnerships they have in place and ensuring that these partnerships are capable of taking the business where it needs to be.
At ONI we are very proud of our expertise, tools and capabilities that help our clients to continually optimise and maximise their networks. We would love to talk to you about your specific challenges and explore ways that ONI can augment your team in delivering a holistic managed service. Please do not hesitate to contact us on 01582 211530 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.