Customers today expect to connect from wherever they are to applications, information and services, no matter where these things are located without service interruptions. The expectation is that the connection itself should be virtually instantaneous and available at all times. And, as customers embrace Cloud services, streaming and other high traffic options, quick to scale network bandwidth must be accessible, as demand rises.
What is the best way for a company to meet these high connectivity expectations?
The prevalent concept today is the digital transformation of the enterprise. Companies deploy digital technologies to improve the customer experience and their own business operations by replacing manual processes and converting information from analog to digital. Many enterprises are looking to embark upon their own digital transformation to improve their communications, technology and IT operations today, while also building a foundation for a successful future.
To better inform our customers as they contemplate their own digital transformation, Great Plains Communications is launching helpful content and a series of blogs that cover what to consider and best practices: “Foundations for a Successful Digital Transformation.” See the first in the series on Digital Transformation: 10 Key IT Principles to Follow (gpcom.com).
Let’s first look at an overview of what you should know about the digital tools that connect to transmit, create, store and share an organization’s information.
The keystone of a company’s information and communications technologies (ICT) digital infrastructure is fiber optic transport. Some important things to consider:
When it comes to fast, reliable connectivity, fiber optic transport is the gold standard. Flexible strands of glass transmit light over a dedicated line and carry more data at higher speeds than other options, such as copper or coax cable. Fiber also provides quicker scalability, allowing businesses to increase their bandwidth according to demand.
Where fiber service is not an option, cable modem internet is typically widely accessible although it lacks the higher speed and reliability of fiber internet. Because cable modem-delivered networks are “shared” by many users, the network will slow down during periods of peak use.
For companies without fiber at every location, Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) architecture can improve connectivity. A managed SD-WAN service optimizes traffic over a single connections or multiple available connections to branches and remote devices, securely connecting users to Cloud services and applications. For example, voice traffic is transported over the best available link for voice, data over the link that’s best for data. Plus, traffic can switch between the two links in less than a second. SD-WAN can even improve the quality of service when only a single link is available.
Managed Ethernet services are another connectivity option for organizations with multiple sites and offices. It’s important to validate that Ethernet services are certified by the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF), the global industry association of network, Cloud and technology providers, to ensure the services can reliably and securely connect all sites according to the highest standards.
When Internet service goes down, businesses suffer. Weather, technology failures, human error and cyberattacks are some examples of the threats to digital services. Network redundancy and providing multiple paths for data transport helps maintain connectivity.
The router, the networking device that forwards and receives network data, should have redundancy in case of failure. One alternative to a second landline service that can ensure reliable connectivity is Wireless Internet Backup, whereby if an outage occurs on the primary landline, mission-critical traffic automatically switches to the wireless LTE network.
Centralized insight and end-to-end visibility into the traffic and components of a communications network are important to ensure connectivity is not interrupted.
SD-WAN employs analytics based on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to enable centralized monitoring and control of all traffic across the network. Network intelligence can pinpoint where a disruption may occur and potentially take action to avoid a disruption.
Another connectivity threat: Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are increasing and can be devastating. Ongoing network traffic monitoring, analytics and proactive mitigation services are highly recommended to keep organizations up and running, despite the prevalence of malicious attacks emanating from the Internet.
Connect with Great Plains Communications! Learn how we can support and help you simplify your digital transformation going forward to improve connectivity throughout your enterprise with solutions customized for your business.