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The new workplace: network management in 2021 and beyond 

20th November 2020

The normal workplace is gone; now, we’re negotiating the new workplace, a careful, cautious mix of physical and remote, commute and home office conversion. Where once this line was treated with the assumption that the pandemic would end – a gradient reassuringly flatlining from perilous highs – we’re now faced by a new reality: one of peaks and troughs, and of boundless uncertainty. 

Faced by this, the pursuit is now on for new solutions, and a new paradigm that will guarantee some modicum of stability, no matter the capricious graphs. The workplace is no longer workable. Even a half-half measure exposes businesses to risk. Instead, many are accepting that remotely coordinated organisations aren’t only a temporary salve to our current crisis, but an answer to the future.

Network managers: the bastions of remote connection

In terms of the infrastructure available to us, it’s fortunate the pandemic came when it did. Even 20 years ago, the outcomes would’ve been drastically different: restricted multi-chat VoIP software and a sparse offering of multi-person video calling would have been frustrating, to say the least. More importantly, only now do we have the capability to support large, global networks using cloud-based infrastructure, such as AWS. In fact, for many organisations, it’s long been more profitable to do so, as performance and capacity can be more easily scaled and traffic surges better protected against. Physical networks require maintenance, protection, manual fault diagnosis and upgrading; they’re expensive, not least in that they demand significantly more upfront investment compared to cloud-based networks. 

The serendipity of these events – the need for remote networks and the parallel ability to support them – can’t be overstated. Through our impossible web of connections and international travel, we have both the means to spread a virus and circumvent, at least in part, its impact. For us, where one door has closed, another has opened. Possibly forever. 

So, for all that we can begrudge, we can also be thankful. The extent of disruption to companies is majorly curbed by their ability to transition their workforce, not only to maintain processes and collaboration but, in many cases, improve them. In this new world, the role of the network manager – no longer the warden sitting attentively by a server, but a guardian of virtual spaces – has been irrevocably altered. Digitally distributed corporate intranets pose their own set of unique security challenges. Many organisations rely on their employees having seamless access to critical information. Now, that information must be protected not only within an ironclad fortress, but in transit and at rest. As we discussed in our piece earlier this year, the danger of employee mishandling information or the potential consequences of unrevised, unrehearsed security policy has never been more real. 

Solutions, solutions, solutions

To weather this new reality, new solutions are required. Luckily, we discuss monitoring and network security solutions all the time. With distributed networks using more applications than ever, the need to monitor every network connection is paramount. Any connection is an entry point; knowing from which network connection data have arrived, and having an in-depth understanding of what they contain and where they’re going, is critical. This can be achieved with Plixer by Scrutinizer, and it can also be achieved by ntop’s nBox Probe and Recorder. Edge monitoring, meanwhile, and the ability to gate network access, can be achieved using Ixia Vision Edge 10S and Vision Edge 1S, which we discuss in this piece. And then there’s Statseeker: an agonistic and predictive network managing solution used to significantly optimise network performance – and which we similarly discuss in this blog piece

For more information on how to transition your organisation’s network to support long-term remote working, or the solutions discussed here, contact us today. 

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