How business video killed the traditional enterprise network

The increased number of bandwidth-intensive applications such as video is placing demands on the network that cannot be accommodated just by adding more bandwidth. Instead, organisations need to look to hybrid networks to maintain secure and stable services, writes Spyros Salpeas of Orange Business Services.

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How business video killed the traditional enterprise network Salpeas: Hybrid networks are built on three pillars: distributed Internet breakout, Internet offload and cloud interconnection, along with application optimisation.
By  Spyros Salpeas Published  November 23, 2014

The unrelenting growth of network traffic is the key reason that the enterprise network needs to evolve. Networks are like roads, they don’t cure traffic or congestion, they create more; so there is as little point in adding lanes to a highway as bandwidth to a network. There comes a point when you have to think differently — you cannot go on adding more and more roads. We have reached that point.

The latest analysis from Cisco predicts that global IP traffic will triple between 2014 and 2018 to reach a staggering 1.6 Zettabytes per year. For the first time in the history of the Internet, the majority of traffic during this period will come from devices that are not PCs. In addition, Wi-Fi will exceed wired traffic, and high-definition (HD) video will overtake standard definition (SD) video.

Enterprises are just as affected by this explosion of traffic as consumers are. In fact, desktop video conferencing is the fastest growing business Internet service in the forecast period. It is predicted to grow by 45% to a total of 238 million users by 2018. Business IP telephony users are expected to number 244 million by 2018, making it the most popular business Internet service of all.

Mobile devices are beginning to outnumber PCs in the enterprise environment. By 2015, Gartner predicts that shipments of tablets alone will outstrip PCs globally. Mobile phones are already the most common device, with over six times as many shipping as PCs.

As more organisations have embraced bring your own device (BYOD), the need to secure the mobile device in the enterprise environment has increased — and organisations have had no choice but to address the issue proactively or risk the inevitable security breaches. Unified, Web-based network protection is vital with the number of devices and apps demanding access to the network from so many different locations.

The rise of BYOD means organisations also need to implement access control, automated provisioning, segregation, prevention of data leakage, encryption and compliance as priorities for the IT department.

The nature of applications has also changed. The consumerisation of IT is enabling users to download a vast number of apps on a range of devices to help them at both work and play. These bite-size apps are cheap, easy to use and are a million miles away from traditional monolithic enterprise applications.

According to Digi-Capital, spending on apps has more than doubled from under $10 billion in 2011 to over $20 billion in 2013. It predicts that this rapid growth will continue to reach over $70 billion by 2017.

Enterprise end users now want and expect to use apps at work. This leaves the IT department with a whole new range of IT resources to manage, resource and make secure. The network itself needs to handle different kinds of traffic — to numerous different destinations — with end users expecting better performance.

Security has become increasingly critical in this networked age, but the IT department can no longer rely on just protecting the company perimeter. The growing use of Internet services and the increasing mobility of workers make this perimeter approach meaningless.

Attacks on the company can come from anywhere, and traditional security tools are ineffective against significant threats such as data leakage. In addition, the IT department needs to extend security tools, such as identity and access management, out of the enterprise and into the public cloud and beyond.

These changing enterprise requirements and working habits mean that the network also needs to evolve.

Enterprises need the flexibility of a network that can dynamically prioritise traffic based on importance, location, device and user. It also needs to be capable of connecting to and interacting with other public cloud service providers securely.

The hybrid network can deliver all of thisby combining the best features of both the traditional IP VPN and the Internet. It is built on three pillars: distributed Internet breakout, Internet offload and cloud interconnection, along with application optimisation, all delivered on a secure platform.

The network is now at the heart of everything businesses do, powering more applications, connecting more devicesand carrying more data than ever before. Today’s end users want the network to be everywhere, to work as it’s supposed to work, and to do everything they need it to do quickly and consistently. They also don’t want to have to think about it at all: it just needs to be there and be effective. Simple.

Spyros Salpeas is Head of Global Services, MENA, Orange Business Services.

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