- Optimizing the home experience – VPNs provide highly secure access to enterprise apps, but they aren’t well suited for real-time cloud services such as video-enabled meetings. Running meeting traffic across a VPN adds potential for extra delay rather than allowing remote workers to connect directly to cloud services. Split-tunnel approaches provide an alternative that preserves the VPN for access to apps served out of the company data center, but that also allow remote employees to access cloud-based apps directly via their own Internet connection. In conjunction with split-tunnel, IT leaders should evaluate and implement resiliency technologies that use wireless services as backup for critical remote workers, or primary access for those with limited wired network connectivity to their home.
- Securing the home experience – Allowing split-tunnel creates security concerns. The employee’s personal computer could potentially become a vector for attacks across the VPN into the enterprise and companies may lose the ability to manage website and app access. To address these concerns, organizations are increasingly turning to approaches like secure access service edge (SASE) that integrate firewalls, gateways, and WAN services like software-defined networking into a comprehensive security architecture. SASE supports zero trust models that treat all devices and users as untrusted, as an alternative to the old perimeter-based security model that granted widespread network access to users once authenticated. Consider SASE and zero trust as ways to apply appropriate security policies to remote users and protect your internal information resources.
- Evolving the LAN – Poor Wi-Fi performance is no longer acceptable in the age of video-first communications. As employees return to the office, on either a full- or part-time basis, ensure that you’ve eliminated wireless network dead spots, and that Wi-Fi networks can handle the anticipated growth in videoconferencing and streaming traffic.
- Evolving the WAN – WAN strategies must evolve to support reliable performance for videoconferencing as employees return to the office in some form or fashion. Remote sites with insufficient bandwidth for video will negatively impact productivity and potentially customer service. Evaluate SD-WAN, 5G, and other emerging access technologies to ensure that all sites are capable of supporting high-quality video for however many employees are anticipated to be on site at any given time.
- Optimizing cloud connectivity – Many leading cloud providers support direct access to their services, either through a private WAN connection or through “meet me” services in shared data centers. Examples of the former include AWS Direct Connect, Google Cloud Interconnect, and Microsoft ExpressRoute, while examples of the latter include AT&T NetBond and Equinix Cloud Exchange. These direct federation services can improve performance of cloud-based apps for on-premises users by reducing the need to traverse the public Internet for app access.
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