The requirement of high and fast network capacity management is mission-critical for enterprise and service provider networks.

Network Capacity Management Lessons from Remote Workforce at Scale

Authored exclusively for Voice&Data by Mohammed Hashim, Principal Architect, Digital Infrastructure, Brillio

India’s digital journey has always stood out amongst other countries. Being the second largest internet population in the world, India will home over 500 million mobile/internet users by 2023. As the health pandemic struck the world a couple of months ago, organizations had to rethink their working models and instantly move to remote working model at scale that no one had ever imagined.

Scaling IT infrastructure at a rapid pace is always a challenge. Only 20% of enterprises were able to make this move with ease as they had a robust mobile base – using laptop and other devices while rest of the spectrum is largely desktop dominant. Due to this, the immediate obstacles for the rest of the enterprises that needed to be tackled was to ensure company’s network performance supports the increase of people using virtual private network (VPN) and the variety of workloads efficiently. According to ExpressVPN, India has seen an increase of 15% of VPN usage since end of February.

With such market scenario, Mohammed Hashim, Principal Architect, Digital Infrastructure, Brillio talks about the best practices & tools to incorporate to manage the network capacity during remote working environment.

  1. Adopting an integrated cloud-based solution: Enterprises need to set a cloud adoption strategy to improve the scalability of Internet-based database capabilities while reducing costs and risk. While cloud computing as a concept and application has been available in the market for several years. Hybrid cloud computing is a new concept and is rapidly being adopted by enterprise. Solutions by cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services, SAP HANA Cloud Platform, VMWare, or Salesforce, Google Cloud are tailor designed for organisation’s need. Services such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), instant messaging, video conferencing, and file-sharing, centralized operations are streamlining to scale, and be cost-effective irrespective of being in a physical location.
  2. Ensuring AI led network capacity management: Requirement of high and fast network availability is mission-critical for enterprise and service provider networks. Challenges faced by a network manager are providing higher availability constantly, insufficient tools, unscheduled down time, lack of expertise, complex technologies, business consolidation, and competing markets. Therefore, it is crucial to have a network capacity strategy supported by AI based Network Management platforms, to determine the bandwidth required, what growth capacity will it accommodate over a period and end user response for applications. Comcast Octave is a success story of AI Ops managing the unprecedented Internet traffic surge of COVID-19.
  3. Right VPN & Bandwidth: At the core of remote work is the ability for employees on private networks to connect to applications and content via VPN. Products such as ZScaler, GlobalProtect from Palo Alto Networks, and AnyConnect from Cisco offer enough VPN appliances spread out globally to handle 100% of workforce working remotely. These appliances should also be in areas with large offices or larger number of workers to minimize latency to applications and adds an extra layer of security to safeguard your work.
  4. Highly available Identity & Access management (IAM): A very critical service during this new normal where enterprises digitally manage, identifies, authenticate and authorized users (employee or customer) access cycle. Role-based access to applications and services is a key pre-requisite to securely enabling remote work. IAM tools include password-management tools, provisioning software, security-policy enforcement applications, reporting and monitoring apps and identity repositories. Companies should consider access management platforms such as Ping Identity or Okta or Microsoft Azure IAM to keep critical resources secure any place any time.
  5. Business Continuity Practices: Ensuring availability and productivity by building a preventive framework and implementing Site Reliability Engineering (SRE), to reduce and mitigate the likelihood of business disruption and identify potential risks associated with adverse events for customers. Making sure business continuity plans, as well as crucial third-party tools & service providers from an infrastructure and services standpoint, have the same is important for sustained operations, shareholder value & scalability.

The COVID-19 outbreak has not only brought out the vulnerability of an enterprise but also how strongly it came back and made the smooth transition to digital and new normal. Additionally, there is a shift in focus towards intent-based networking & security, driven by natural language processing wherein the users can execute commands even without prior technical knowledge. We cannot stress enough on the importance of a flexible, agile, and robust networking infrastructure which can scale rapidly and automatically without human interventions or a surge in costs.

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