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The pandemic impact on business and how SD-WAN can support small and large businesses

The last year has seen many a change, none more so than the majority of companies choosing to adopt a differing networking strategy. The impact of a remote workforce has not only led to a less interactive working environment, but also forced companies into assessing areas of their business that were previously unchallenged.

Shift to home working

Nationwide stats revealed that working from home has quadrupled across the UK as 90% of businesses have seen an increase in people working from home. A shift towards a remote work force is highlighted further as 65% of employees are now considered to be continually working from home, as opposed to 14% prior to the pandemic. This change in the dynamic of the workforce must balance with an infrastructural rethink to sustain productivity without sacrifice of key technology principles. Across the digital sector network, management and security has been transformed to adapt to added IT infrastructure pressures

Adaptations to remain.

It is also worth noting that these adaptations are anything but permanent, as these trends are expected to remain. Consequently, businesses are looking for permanent solutions as opposed to temporarily plugging gaps in their networking. At least 23% of companies expect the number of users working from home to stay higher, as we step into a modern way of working. Companies are prioritizing changes to ease the right network for the cloud so that all applications are available 24/7 to all employees without compromising security. Cloud hosted SaaS is the future and it is essential to long term stability and keeping up with a distributed workforce.

Increase in voice/video.

A switch to remote working has also inevitably changed the importance of certain applications. For example, voice and video usage has dramatically increased leading to a backlog of network issues and poor user experience. The best example of this is on platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Zoom has experienced an unprecedented increase in usage, with users rocketing from 659,000 adults in January 2020 (pre- pandemic) to over 13 million in April 2020. In addition, Microsoft Teams also experienced a drastic increase in users. Teams saw its audience more than double at the same time, from 3 million adults to 6.5 million. A substantial increase of this caliber ensures the importance of app prioritization to keep productivity and good user experience. Something an SD-WAN excels in.

SD WAN for All

Considering the fact, the pandemic has affected most businesses; Global companies are willing to invest in strategies that cut costs but also enhance the management capabilities of their IT infrastructures. An advantage of deploying SD-WAN for a company can be the cost of management as SD-WAN can eradicate the need for a upscaled information security team. Adopting automatic security, increasing reliability even if a WAN link fails, cutting branch and end-user outages and WAN and IT troubleshooting costs. Companies have always planned for a certain number of employees to be using VPNs to securely access critical applications in their own data centers. The pandemic took this number of predicted VPNs to an unpredictable level, that led to IT teams needing to add further support for added users in environments they do not control. Additional IT support spend, in addition to an already expensive infrastructure makes the added SD-WAN support model a no brainer for both small and large organizations.

Being able to increase bandwidth to keep up with the transformation of the digital world is important, SD-WAN offers this opportunity to smaller companies without spending a vast amount of money. A chance to adopt a digital infrastructure that can match global companies with a minimal cost, along with a much smaller TCO is an inviting proposition that was accelerated by a pandemic that changed the technology sector forever.

Fortinet Solution – SD WAN for all

When discussing the differing patterns in SD-WAN adoption between small and large companies it is important to highlight Fortinet’s SD-WAN solution that can augment the distributed network, a solution that Aequos proposes in many environments. This coupled with the Aequos carrier network allows for companies of all sizes to deploy appliances with mobile connectivity for remote users or virtual deployments that can harness public cloud and digital environments. SD-WAN is automation based, once configuration is set up the company; whatever size does not have to worry about change. In a post pandemic era this is extremely attractive as companies have been confronted with unprecedented change and have a great desire to ensure they are prepared for the future. SD-WAN allows the future to be embraced, whilst investing in predictability and deployment of the right sized secured next generation network.