Managing Multiple Network Providers

Delivering the network you need, with the best value for money.

In today’s highly competitive, global business landscape, organisations must be both agile and cost-efficient if they want to compete successfully. Demands on network bandwidth continue to grow at an unprecedented pace as ever more systems, services and devices connect. At the same time, the drive to be lean places ever greater pressure on IT departments to do more with less.

That’s why most large businesses are trying to divert more of their network traffic over VPNs using lower-cost Internet lines where possible. The goal is to relieve pressure on core MPLS networks while still ensuring provision of reliable and secure services to users in dispersed countries, regions and branches.

But given no single Internet provider can offer the best or most cost-effective network connection in every country across the world, global organisations today face the challenge of managing multiple network providers. Without an effective means of co-ordinating multiple service providers, it can be nigh on impossible to make and implement strategic decisions or deliver one consistent service level for your organisation.

For example, how do you roll out a new policy across hundreds of locations? And – critically – how can you do it securely? When you make a change to policy centrally, it needs to be simultaneously applied across your entire network.

See clearly, gain control

Managing the complexities of multiple network providers requires transparency and control. You need to be able to see clearly and quickly how much your connectivity is costing you (and switch to a more cost-effective option if and when the opportunity arises). You need a visible control panel that pulls all your network providers together under a single interface and allows you to orchestrate network policies centrally. And you need the intelligence in your

 

network to be able to discern automatically how to route particular traffic – whether it’s mission-critical data that must always go via MPLS, or packets that could feasibly be sent via business or consumer-grade Internet lines with less rigorous service levels.

Be agile, flexible... and ready for anything

Fortunately, various technologies are emerging to ease the challenge – bringing the management of network providers, traffic and security into a software-defined environment so they can be controlled centrally, with any changes implemented network-wide automatically according to your organisation’s policies. A technology like SD-WAN, for example, makes it possible to build out secure, manageable networks to branches and remote locations. Traffic is routed across the most cost-effective lines automatically, again according to policy-controlled conditions and priorities. In other words, with the right technologies, implemented properly, you can solve the key challenges of managing cost, performance and security in a multi-provider network environment. To take this a step further, businesses should consider engaging one provider to manage all the other providers and look to them to offer a single service support model and service guarantees.

"Without an effective means of co-ordinating multiple service providers, it can be nigh on impossible to make and implement strategic decisions or deliver one consistent service level for your organisation."

Top related technologies

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Cloud Strategy

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