The first annual Intelligent Technology Index finds that 61 percent of technology leaders say the most pressing area in need of improvement is network infrastructure. That’s no surprise, as the network is the foundation of the business that is constantly facing evolving needs.
Last time we talked about software-defined wide area networks and hyperconverged infrastructure as important network technologies that businesses should be aware of, especially those planning for the future. In the present, it can be challenging for small to medium-sized businesses in particular to know which network technologies they should be using to meet today’s needs and build on for the future. Here are just a few of those network technologies that growing businesses should be using:
Wireless networking is crucial to businesses in the age of mobility, and the new 802.11ac Wave 2 standard promises faster data speeds and, more important, more bandwidth than previous wireless technologies. In addition to being able to adjust throughput for devices on the go, a Wave 2 hot spot can also intelligently adjust bandwidth based on evolving conditions and needs.
Not only does the technology underlying Wave 2 enable faster speeds, it also supports more simultaneous users. Wave 2 is designed for the mobile age, as it’s uniquely suited for the needs of smartphones, tablets, and Internet of Things sensors. It’s also a backward-compatible standard, so older devices that were built for the previous standard will still benefit from the upgrade.
Infrastructure as a Service
As businesses grow, they are increasingly looking for network and infrastructure solutions that enable them to cut costs and free them from maintaining and growing their own data centers. Within the cloud stack, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is providing that opportunity. With IaaS, vendors offer infrastructure components such as computing, storage, networking, and databases as a commodity.
Businesses adopting IaaS have three broad options from which to choose:
- Public cloud, which uses off-site services shared among multiple customers
- Private cloud, which builds a cloud environment dedicated to a single customer
- Hybrid cloud, which blends elements of public and private
The cloud and IaaS enable businesses to greatly reduce their operational expenditure investments in hardware while taking advantage of scalable infrastructures that grow automatically as the needs of the business increase.
Next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) ably protect enterprise networks from intrusions and attacks with integrated network security platforms that include:
- In-line deep-packet inspection firewalls
- Intrusion prevention systems
- Application inspection and control
- SSL/SSH inspection
- Website filtering
- Quality of service/bandwidth management
Collectively, these abilities translate to greater threat protection and security as well as increased control and visibility into network activity. NGFWs can help reduce complexity by automating certain routine security tasks, relieving the business and internal IT from having to manually complete these processes. They are also scalable so that they can meet the needs of the business today and be expanded to meet tomorrow's growing network needs.
All three of these solutions are network technologies that businesses should be using today. For those businesses with a small or nonexistent internal IT staff, having the support of an experienced networking technologies provider can help bring the support and expertise that your business will need. This is in addition to having the vendor relationships with the leading providers in the industry to prepare your business for greater productivity, security, and a healthier bottom line.