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Transformed by the cloud: 4 reasons to migrate your business to a software defined network

As businesses increasingly use cloud-based services to run core operations, the networks powering them have become complex, messy and hard to change. However with software-defined branch networks you can maintain operational agility and save money on IT support without compromising the client's experience.

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

The spread of cloud-based enterprise software has made it truly possible to access all kinds of services from the convenience of one’s home. From retail to hospitality and even banking the cloud has brought businesses closer to their customers. Powering this transformation are a complex and ever-growing set of networking software which receive data from multiple branches and relay it to the central servers of a company.

However, this proliferation of cloud services is not without its own challenges. Due to the increasing number of mobile and Internet of Things (Iot) devices, bandwidth requirements have increased while the IT teams which run and maintain these networks have shrunk. Routing traffic from various branches to an organization’s private data center is no longer feasible, not to mention the additional management and security pain points that comes from having enterprise workloads on public cloud services. To better manage remote networks, varying client inputs and in-office data, businesses need to think in terms of an end-to-end network which runs these functions through a single platform.

In such situations, deploying a software-defined branch (SD-Branch) network can help simplify operations and lower costs without compromising the flexibility of scaling up to meet future business demands. SD-Branch networks merge networks and services that were traditionally managed by different stacks of software. This reduces the clutter of virtual LANS and access control mechanisms scattered across multiple network devices.

High end luxury retailer Vera Wang is an organization that is facing the challenge of building a distributed infrastructure for its stores as it scales its operations. The company has used software provided by Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, to provide non-technical staff at the branch a plug-and-play experience that eliminates the need for manual onsite configuration.

“We need to get stores up and running quickly, and maximize our WAN availability and efficiency," said Stewart Ebrat, CIO for Vera Wang.

Here’s how SD-Branch networks can help you manage your business better:

1. Reduce the clutter: Core company services are no longer run through data centers. This creates the headache of multiple platforms communicating within the business. By using a single platform that supports SD-WAN (Wide Area Network), routing, integrated security and LAN/Wi-Fi functions, SD-Branch technology allows these different systems to be managed centrally. SD-Branch also promises to reduce the need for buying specialized hardware for each branch by deploying software on consolidated hardware.

2. Operational agility: SD-Branches can be deployed as and when required, without the trouble of setting up dedicated hardware and software as well as putting in the required management controls specific to that branch. Unlike traditional WAN deployments, where bandwidth may be lying unused, this software uses virtualization to use existing bandwidth efficiently.

The latest software like Aruba Central’s Cloud management platform provides a single pane of glass for wireless, wired and WAN management, enhancing IT’s ability to proactively see what is happening in each branch. An added benefit is that IT can quickly implement new services and network changes across large distributed environments.

3. Save money on IT: Perhaps the most compelling argument for this technology is that it will reduce the need for tech teams to visit each branch individually to setup the IT infrastructure which will result in significant savings. Also the cost of IT support and maintenance contracts will decrease as fewer vendors need to be involved. IT administrators can control and adjust all branch network and security functions using a centralized management console.

4. Better security: Employees are now accessing company networks from different locations without being in office. This lack of awareness is a big concern for enterprises which use cloud services like Office 365. IoT devices get connected without the knowledge of the IT administrators. This can lead to users sometimes bypassing security controls set for the branch. Aruba’s SD-Branch solution has role-based access security that allows dynamic segmentation of devices and traffic.

To solve security vulnerabilities outside the branch perimeter, Aruba has expanded its security partnership with Check Point Software Technologies and Palo Alto Networks to provide cloud-based firewall and advanced threat protection functionality to secure sensitive traffic heading for public Internet-bound destinations.

To know more about Aruba’s software-defined branch network solutions, fill out the form below.

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