Ready for the Future of Work? Start with SD-WAN

By Ian Hoddle, Director of Enterprise - Virgin Media O2 Business.

  • 1 month ago Posted in

With the office now just a click away for millions of employees, businesses are being forced to embrace digital transformation faster than ever before as they battle for market space and talent.

Many workers are optimistic about the role of emerging technology in the future of work, according to research from Virgin Media O2 Business.

Nearly half (46%) of deskless workers agree that technology will play a key role in the future of work, over a third (36%) are excited by the possibilities, and 32% believe they would be more productive if their company adopted more emerging technologies. 

Many of these emerging technologies will no doubt be powered through AI and automation. And while there is a lot of content about how AI can boost productivity, it’s important to remember that connectivity is key to making this tech work.

CEOs may be asking their IT teams ‘How should we be using AI?’ But a better question would be ‘Can our organisation support AI?’ After all, dreams of productivity boosts won’t happen if businesses don’t prioritise having a solid network in place.  

Want employees to truly engage with new tech and become more productive? To work from anywhere and access data from whatever device they may be using? AI might help here, but you need the right network architecture first.

This is where SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Networking) enters the fold. 

With its ability to optimise network performance, enhance security and provide greater flexibility, SD-WAN can help people get the most from the network, wherever they may be working.  

Analysing existing limitations

The UK’s enterprise networks have been experiencing dynamic growth and transformation, as digital connectivity is increasingly essential for businesses. According to CBI, 81% of businesses say they see mobile connectivity as crucial. 

Hybrid workers need to access data regardless of where they’re situated, and therefore need a reliable network with a robust technological infrastructure in place. 

Traditional Wide Area Networks (WANS) were not designed with the demands of modern hybrid working in mind. As a result, they can have bandwidth limitations, inconsistent latency and inefficient traffic management. This means many businesses may want to first consider what their connectivity needs are to then determine whether they have the right solutions in place for their organisation.

SD-WAN stands as a unique solution

SD-WAN is a virtual WAN architecture that efficiently connects users to a centralised cloud system, regardless of their location. 

It routes traffic dynamically and securely over multiple connections to the cloud - from MPLS to broadband and LTE - making it ideal for businesses working remotely over multiple sites. Helping businesses benefit from enhanced application performance and greater operational agility. 

ROI savings can be seen in different ways. Not only do you make savings from an increased overall network capacity and availability, but there are also time savings from the reduced operational load required to manage and secure the network.  

Managing a hybrid workforce can strain IT resources, especially when businesses need to maintain and troubleshoot network issues. By automating routine tasks, and dynamically directing data through the most efficient paths in real-time, IT teams can quickly troubleshoot issues remotely, gaining comprehensive visibility into their network performance. 

Security is also a key concern for employees. It’s common for businesses to access their corporate networks from different locations and devices. SD-WAN enhances security by integrating advanced features such as end-to-end encryption and firewalls. These measures ensure that data remains protected regardless of where employees are connecting from.

Real world success

Numerous organisations have already reaped the benefits of SD-WAN as part of their hybrid work strategies. By switching to SD-WAN, NHS leaders who Virgin Media O2 Business spoke with were able to experience, on average: 

139% more available bandwidth 

61% less time troubleshooting issues and fewer security incidents 

70% more network visibility 

As a result, those NHS trusts were able to ensure their systems were more resilient to cyber threats across multiple sites, identifying faults before they could impact staff and patients. By bringing staff closer to the apps and data they need, SD-WAN helped increase staff productivity. It also allowed NHS leaders to provide a more reliable service to patients, prioritising their care. 

The path forward

As the hybrid work model continues to evolve, resilient and flexible networking solutions will become increasingly critical. 

SD-WAN empowers large businesses to fully embrace the future of work. By helping drive efficiencies, cost savings, and simplifying network management, it acts as a key stepping stone towards a fully digital culture. A culture that embraces emerging technology trends, where employees are not only engaged with new tech but are also ready to use it to tackle their work from anywhere.

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