The modernization of legacy networks was a crucial step during the pandemic when enterprises were still unfamiliar to the remote connectivity needs demanded by the work-from-home and hybrid work, Aruba regional category manager Tan Kwong Hui said in an exclusive interview with Newsbytes.PH at the flagship user-vendor conference of local ICT distributor VST ECS.
At the height of the pandemic, one of Aruba’s initiatives to support the work-from-home model is through a cloud-native command center that connected end-users to cloud and even on-premises services, essentially an in-office experience at home or anywhere.
This platform provided enterprises with access to remote networking requirements through a single pane of glass, ensuring a consistent and efficient remote access deployment regardless of size location.
To utilize remote access platforms, enterprises had to include network modernization in their digital transformation priorities. According to Aruba, enterprises with networks that can’t keep up can have their new business models stalled, treat remote workers as second-class citizens, provide sub-par experiences to customers, open themselves up to dangerous security gaps, and waste significant IT resources on manual processes.
“The legacy networks were primarily designed to allow employees to access corporate resources in the office. In today’s context, where employees are working from anywhere and retrieving data, they are highly distributed. The need for network modernization becomes quite crucial,” said Tan.
An IBM Security report shows that prior to the pandemic, 80% of the respondents were unfamiliar to remote working while 50% had growing concerns on the impending cyber threats emerging from their new home office settings.
A more recent study by IBM Security says that businesses are still introducing risks especially in their cloud environments, with vulnerability exploitation maintaining its positions as a tried-and-true infection method utilized by cybercriminals.
“Before the pandemic, the work-from-home setup was not a popular terminology used by companies. Most of them worked in the office which is what the legacy network was primarily designed for. When the pandemic broke out, many organizations struggled because they were not designed to allow employees to work from home,” he explained.
Tan highlighted the need for increased automation, enhanced security and better agility, when undergoing the journey of network modernization. IDG’s “2022 State of the CIO report” revealed that 59% of IT decision makers are now expecting expanded budgets dedicated to network modernization.
“The automation part of network modernization is designed not to replace the human being, but to supplement them by using artificial intelligence and machine learning to help speed up troubleshooting and configuration,” he added.
Three to four months after the pandemic lockdowns, Aruba launched the EdgeConnect Microbranch solution specifically to bring advanced software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) and secure access service edge (SASE) capabilities to home offices.
“All the users had to do is connect to this access point. The user actually connects to the network as if he/she is in the office because it’s the same SSID (service set identifier). There’s no need to train the employee on how to connect remotely,” he explained.
Finally, Tan Kwong Hui said that enterprises should look at network modernization and security not as a financial investment point-of-view but instead consider the impact of non-investment. Beyond featuring its remote work solutions to users and customers, Aruba also highlighted during the conference how VST ECS complements their offerings in the country as a distributing partner.