Considering how business networks connect is a question that most of us, give no attention to throughout the course of a normal working day. Instead taking the view if we can successfully connect online and to our various communication platforms (email, Skype, Teams etc) we can achieve what we need to. But when you dig under the surface you uncover it’s a complex area as there are multiple ways for a business to connect.
Starting at the beginning, what does network connectivity mean?
The ability to communicate internally with colleagues securely across multiple departments, offices, locations or countries. For many, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) delivers on this requirement, enabling a private link between all end points to facilitate direct communication in a secure way segregated from the internet.
But it doesn’t stop there, secure connectivity requires a server that is resilient and of a high functioning capacity. This is where the connectivity conundrum comes into force, with the main question being, do you stick with traditional datacentre presence (be these on your own premises or held in a third-party data centre) or consider moving to a virtual ‘cloud based’ server, which offers a number of options for how users can reach infrastructure hosted by Cloud Services Providers (CSPs).
Many businesses use global platforms such as HP, Microsoft Azure, IBM or Amazon Web Services as their CSP – which is the connection point to online access. This places increased pressure to be able to access these services both quickly, securely and reliably. Once a CSP has been selected there are 3 options to connecting the network to this and beyond.
Option 1: Directly connect CSP to the internet through an internal firewall
Things to consider: The issue with this, is the connection is via an uncontrolled service of the internet at large, meaning no SLA guarding access and traffic moves across an open channel.
Option 2: Use a dedicated VPN to connect
Things to consider: This is a step on from option 1 as traffic now travels through a securely encrypted link. However, there are still risks associated. There is still no SLA in place and traffic is still travelling across the internet as the pathway. Plus, traffic is now directed through an internal firewall, taking valuable resource and potentially impacting processing power and speed.
Option 3: Implement a direct connection / link to the CSP
Things to consider: The benefit of this approach is that not only does it mean no more traffic travelling over the open internet, but also giving peace of mind using a connection service with an SLA. Whilst also ensuring processing power is not slowed as traffics is not being routed through the firewall. Additionally, resilience is also improved as 2 links allow for backup in the event of failure or downtime. Also, if they were not compelling arguments enough, this approach allows for total flexibility to grow with the needs and increased demands of businesses, with remote upgrades available to increase bandwidth up to 10Gb.
There are a number of factors that can influence your organisation’s connectivity strategy and the path taken. Next time you log on at work, stop and take a minute to appreciate the myriad of options your IT team have had to consider getting you there.
If you are interested in finding out more information about your connectivity options and how you can improve our working day, speak to one of our experts and we can explain how we can provide a private connection to your global CSP.