A network and infrastructure platform for the digital era

Digital-first has become a business imperative, transforming how enterprises realize and deliver value. To do that, they’re embracing cloud-based distributed modes of operating that rely on guaranteed connectivity and the ability to move quickly, all underpinned by fast access to data.

But this opportunity has a flip side: it’s exposing enterprises to new security threats, and the infrastructure required to deliver it is getting more complex. How do they tackle these challenges while still being able to seize the opportunities on offer? By using a network and infrastructure platform designed for digital.

The current situation: complexity, uncertainty, gaps

On one hand, enterprises have never had such an array of choices when it comes to technology. From developing applications and services to choosing the right environments and the network to connect it all, they can pick and choose from the best vendors in the business and find a consumption model that suits their specific objectives.

Many vendors are developing solutions specifically for enterprises wanting secure access to cloud applications and other resources. In theory, these solutions should be plug-and-play, with little need for intermediaries to install them – much like the cloud services enterprises are used to procuring.

Interoperability challenges

Yet the apparent simplicity of these network solutions often causes more complexity. Few enterprises use only one vendor, so ensuring interoperability between different services and meeting the needs of specific customers is challenging. Then there are rapidly accelerating upgrade cycles to manage. Services are always evolving and must be upgraded and patched to maintain their effectiveness and security.

In addition, many businesses still need large teams to manage deployments and operations successfully. That would be acceptable if the necessary skills were available, but they often aren’t: 36% of organizations said a lack of skills was most likely to slow down transformation initiatives.

Plus, more choice is not always positive, and many organizations are overwhelmed when deciding the best option to meet their strategic objectives. It used to be that a state-of-the-art infrastructure twenty years ago involved one or two services; now, even the simplest require 25 or 30.

Varied service quality

Then, there is connectivity. Enterprises should be wary of assuming that connectivity is the same everywhere. To be online in one geography could mean being subject to very different service levels, prices and provider approaches than someone else in a different country.

This is a particular challenge for multinational companies: finding the right local Internet service providers is only the first step. They must also manage installation, security, troubleshooting and support and align it with wider organizational processes.

Importance of the edge

Finally, there is the growing impact of the edge. With worldwide spending on edge computing predicted to hit $317 billion by 2026, managing the connections between multiple environments will only be more challenging.

While moving towards a cloud model for consuming IT and other services is critical to delivering digital-first businesses, services are still required at the edge. Sensors, SD-WAN boxes, routers, local firewalls, factories, shops or regional offices will all need local management and a secure, guaranteed connection between the device and the cloud.

Bridging a growing gap

This all contributes to a gap between enterprises’ strategic objectives and what can be achieved with their existing infrastructure.

Companies know that they need to transform legacy systems to operate effectively in today’s markets. Yet, at a business level, that understanding rarely extends beyond applications and perhaps cloud environments; few grasp that connectivity and network infrastructure also need to evolve.

A big part of that is how services are consumed. Cloud and as-a-service models for IT are commonplace, but networks are often traditionally deployed.

Enterprises need a way to bridge the gap between goals and reality. What’s the solution? A secure platform that allows enterprises to manage and deploy connectivity and security, aligned with how they procure cloud, without overloading existing resources.

A platform based on three key principles

This platform must deliver three things:

  1. A cloud-like consumption model: A truly composable provisioning experience is needed to meet the needs of current tech procurement approaches and, more importantly, fulfill the business needs for agility, scalability and flexibility.
  2. An open environment: Enterprises need to access the solutions that work for them in the locations they need. That requires an open environment to procure and deploy a network infrastructure that aligns with their objectives.
  3. Evolving security: Cybercriminals are constantly looking for the easiest way into enterprises; as IT security becomes more sophisticated, they are turning their attention to areas such as the network and the edge that corporate defenses have historically overlooked. The platform must provide the means to secure the network end to end.

With these requirements in mind, we have developed Evolution Platform, a composable and adaptable infrastructure to deliver a complete, end-to-end service.

What a digital infrastructure platform delivers

With such a platform, enterprises can launch and expand new digital business offerings and keep them online by reducing the time it takes to deploy or update the applications behind these services. This isn’t just about customer experiences, either; employees, too, would benefit and, in turn, be more engaged at work.

From a regulatory perspective, multinationals can ensure global IT governance and compliance and improve business continuity plans. They are also able to detect and respond faster and more effectively, mitigating impact and maintaining operations.

Finally, the platform improves the operational efficiency of corporate IT, ultimately leading to being able to manage and control infrastructure and cloud services costs. It all adds up to having a complete digital foundation from which to build a business that is set up for success.

Want to know more about acquiring a digital infrastructure that meets your network needs? Our new paper details how it can help your enterprise realize and deliver value. Look out for producing future deep dives on some of the topics it raises over the next few months.

Josh Turner
Josh Turner

I am a technology writer with a decade of experience in business, technology and logistics. From starting off my career writing questions for a TV quiz show, I’m now spending my time looking at how the world of business is going digital and transforming a variety of sectors and industries.