Don’t forget the internetBy Steve Coakley,
Like all foundations, it can be easily forgotten
The Internet is a foundation of the way we work today but like all foundations easily forgotten. As in construction it may seem like a simple part of the overall process, but your foundation is the most important part of your entire project. The biggest reason for this is that any mistakes you make in the foundation will only get worse as you go up. In construction this is known as ‘compounding defects’ and it means that mistakes grow.
Don’t compound defects in your IT infrastructure
This applies equally to how we build corporate networks. Poor choices at foundation stage will ripple through your IT infrastructure making you want to tear it all down and start again.
Don’t expect the internet to be the same, everywhere, for everyone. The internet will vary between suppliers, not only in price, but also in terms of the service that is provided. For a global business, it is therefore very important to make sure you don’t jump into managing multiple contracts with differing internet service providers (ISP), without considering all of your options.
Build your case
You’ll need to understand your organisation’s current and future IT requirements. What do your users need internet connectivity for? Is it just for e-mail and browsing? Will they stream content, upload large files, take part in an audio conference or use VoIP? Is the internet connection going to be the back-up to an MPLS primary circuit at key sites? What is the performance level required to support your business critical applications?
Deterring unwanted visitors
If your internet connectivity were compared to an external door how would you rate its resistance to intrusion? Like a door your internet connectivity to the outside world is a common-entry point for intruders. This might have you using a multi-point lock (firewall) and fitting an alarm (intrusion detection system). You will be ensuring that your internet connection choice isn’t like an interior door that you would want your kids to easily open.
Do your own visual inspection
Read the terms & conditions. Can you afford downtime, brown-outs or congestion? What are the performance terms, uptime guarantees, technical support parameters and what happens if something fails? Are the internet connectivity choices that you are making important building-blocks to a future-proof network incorporating (say) SD-WAN? If so, have you thought how this combination of choices will best serve your business now and into the future?
Inspection is smart, deep inspection smarter
As in construction a visual inspection may not identify major structural defects or other hidden problems. It’s the same with your corporate network. As your infrastructure project evolves your chosen foundation will act as the underlay to the success of your business. Technologies like SD-WAN are used to create an overlay delivering the ability to enable new services quickly and transparently to the underlay. Examine your options closely as this can give your business a competitive edge. Operationally though you’ll need to watch-out, because there will be trade-offs.
The road to success is always under construction
If we reflect for a moment on underlays and overlays; the internet itself started as an overlay on top of the public telephone network. Having begun as an overlay it has since become the underlay platform over which a multitude of applications now traverse the globe. As business transforms and technologies evolve the importance of choosing the right expert partner becomes critical to bringing all of the elements together.
Time to bring in the experts
You won’t pour the foundations for your new office block – you’ll call in the experts. Designing an optimal underlay-overlay IT infrastructure is just like that and your business requires the assistance of scarce expertise. Service providers, like BT, are experienced in managing underlay and overlay networks, globally. We have also invested in the tool-sets that give visibility into both layers to prevent finger-pointing when something fails.
To quote the songwriter David Allan Coe: ‘It is not the beauty of the building you should look at; it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time’.
With BT as a partner we will help you to build lasting beauty into your IT infrastructure. Have a BT expert call you today.
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