How SD-WAN can improve homeworking

Unreliable technology, dodgy connections and poor security – working can be a nightmare, but SD-WAN technology can turn everything around.

Covid-19 has been a culture shock for businesses and people. Literally overnight, firms switched from the nine to five working model to a remote working environment. By and large, both employees and businesses have coped with it pretty well. However, the same can’t be said for the technology. Variable connection speeds and patchy security all interrupt the remote working experience. SD-WAN provides a solution.

For the most part remote working was successful, so much so that many businesses are considering making it permanent and reducing estate investment. Two thirds of small businesses say they plan to continue with flexible working. That will come as good news to employees, most of whom say they want the flexibility of working at least past of the week from home and balancing home/work life better.

So, whilst the move to remote working was reactive and rapid, the post covid world of work will look very different to what went before. In particular, the technological challenges facing businesses changed overnight.

Pre-covid in the main businesses focused on capacity of sites and balancing multi-site loads and capacity. During and post covid, businesses have had to consider the connectivity of every home-worker. No matter how good a firm’s on-site approach to technology is, there’s no way of knowing whether each employee’s home network is up to the task of supporting a full-time worker.

Home broadband speeds fluctuate, and signal strength varies based on location. Parents often found themselves competing for bandwidth with children who were involved in zoom home lessons or indeed binging on Netflix. Security became so difficult to manage, that many businesses stopped trying.

 

How SD-WAN can improve homeworking

How SD-WAN can improve homeworking

Predictably, a recent survey showed that working from home caused a surge in cyber security breaches. To solve these challenges, providers are selling the benefits of SD-WAN technology.

Traditional WAN, based on conventional routers is unsuitable for the cloud. Traffic needs to be backhauled from branch offices to a hub or a data centre where advanced security can be applied. This takes time, damages productivity and results in a poor user experience.

SD-WANs on the other hand create a virtual WAN architecture which allows enterprises to use a number of transport services such as LTE, broadband services and MPLS to connect users securely to applications. It directs traffic across a WAN from a centralised control function which speeds everything up, giving workers a much more seamless user experience.

For example, MLR Networks using Cisco’s Meraki Wireless solution can help companies cater to the rising tide of home working. MLR Networks can provide an all-in-one appliance directly to remotely based employees. This appliance handles wireless access and VPN connectivity. It also comes with a 4G LTE radio for cellular failover giving home workers a degree of redundancy capacity they might expect in the offices. This solution provides reliability without the worry of home connectivity issues.

This solution means businesses can extend their existing infrastructure to cover their remote workforce. By so doing it offers a host of benefits including:

  • Security: Secure encryption with next generation firewall technology. Home workers will benefit from the same level of security as those in the office.
  • Traffic priority: Prioritises traffic on the application layer and reduces interruptions caused by other users in the home draining bandwidth.
  • Reduced friction with the cloud: Cloud applications are becoming increasingly important SD-WAN can prioritise cloud traffic and helps your users get to the cloud more quickly with fewer interruptions.
  • Visibility: Provides more visibility of the network enabling you to identify problems early on.

Any new way of working, inevitably, requires a shift in technology. However, with remote working likely to be an increasingly important feature in the future mix, businesses need to ask themselves how they can ensure a secure, efficient and seamless user experience in the long term. An SD-WAN solution from MLR Networks provides an effective answer.

 

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