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There is no such thing as a single site business anymore

As working lives become more flexible for many, the need to access business critical information and systems from a variety of devices and locations increases and the discussion has evolved from simple considerations about bandwidth consumption, to a more complex conversation around dispersed geographic locations, access types, security implications and resilience.

One of our key strategic partners, Virtual1’s advanced network enables us to provide our customers with access to applications and services, efficiently and securely, from the device and location of their choosing.

At a recent partner event, Virtual1 presented their view of the future and how they are leading the industry with solutions to our customers that solve problems and help organisations to communicate and run more efficiently. See below the thoughts and insight of Neil Wilson, Virtual1’s Product Strategy Director, on a changing business landscape and the challenges faced by organisations across the UK.

Internet access used to be just one of many forms of connectivity into a business, with much of a company’s critical applications and data held within the office, and customer contact primarily done over the phone (and even fax!)

In the last 5 years however, a lot has changed. Lifestyle changes (not to mention a pandemic) have driven the mass adoption of flexible working, which has put significant challenges on the accessibility and availability of essential business tools far outside the office. As a result, there has been both a massive uptake in the “as a Service” offering delivering businesses the flexibility and commercial optimisation that they need in highly changeable times.

Solutions like IaaS, SaaS or UCaaS alongside remote working and the rapid adoption of video technology have also had a significant impact on the availability and bandwidth requirements on internet access. Indeed, with the ISDN switch off rapidly approaching, internet access is how a business does almost everything, not just access data and applications, but also how it contacts and communicates with its customer base.

These trends and drivers are not new news in themselves, it’s the rate of acceleration within the last 18 months that is significant, so it is translating these into actual, practical conversations that are much more interesting than asking ‘do you need more bandwidth?’

It’s time to realise that a one-office business is no longer a single site network, because applications and data are now being stored and accessed from an array of other locations and helping businesses to optimise and secure this traffic makes a connectivity conversation much more outcome-focused than it has ever been. For example:

How do you communicate and transact with your customers if your internet service goes down?
Resilience is a necessity for most businesses. From a coffee shop that can’t take card payments, to 1000-employee offices unable to access Office 365, conversations about Physical and Carrier resilience or Technology diversity should be a no brainer.

How do you secure your data?
Every connectivity solution should have security built in, but how up to date is that solution? How often is it patched and maintained, and who by? Converged management of your internet access and firewalls make a lot of sense and removes a fair amount of headache.

Where are your critical data and applications located?
With Many businesses running services in Cloud vendors environments such as AWS, Azure, GCP and Oracle , direct connectivity can not only keep your data secure, and assure end-to-end control of the traffic. For high users, it can also be cheaper to run through private connectivity, which delivers reduced ingress and egress charges. It can be as straightforward as adding a new VLAN on the existing connectivity.

How do you optimise application performance?
SD-WAN is not just a multisite experience, it’s very relevant to individual sites by giving visibility and control of application performance and therefore the end user experience. When combined with private connectivity to the Cloud vendors above, you can be sure to maximise ROI on these environments.

What is your digital transformation strategy?
For businesses not already using the Cloud (where the above questions come into play), migration will surely be on your agenda. Whether that’s sweating existing hardware investments with a move to Colocation, or a migration to IaaS, these should be at the heart of your network, with the consumption of, and access to these locations simple, straight forward, and secure.

This all means that a single circuit internet access service is only one part of the full jigsaw of the connectivity infrastructure a successful business needs to be built upon to thrive today.

Incom-CNS are here to help, our strategic partnerships and managed service supports your business to enable your success. If the above has raised some questions or to discuss your specific business needs, please contact our friendly team.

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We pride ourselves on offering businesses award-winning customer service and first-class advice on every aspect of business communications. We would love to learn more about you and your specific communications needs, so please get in touch.

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