Your network is the backbone of your organization, allowing your employees to access the tools they need to do their jobs and connect with your clients. Future-proofing your network is vital to ensure your network is able to continue to meet your evolving needs as your organization grows and expands. By designing with the future in mind, you can set your organization up for success and make it easier (and less costly) to expand and upgrade your network later on.
The Benefits of Future-Proofing Your Network
Taking steps to future-proof your network gives you the agility and flexibility you need to support your organization as it adopts new initiatives. By planning ahead, you can help minimize your TCO (total cost of ownership) and get the most out of your network by extending the life of components to help ensure they won’t need to be replaced before they are no longer able to meet your needs.
Planning ahead avoids unnecessary upgrades, which saves time and money. Since internal IT team members won’t need to invest as much time tending to your network, they can instead focus their attention on more strategic initiatives that grow your business.
Common Challenges That Future Proofing Solves
The most common mistake organizations make when designing their networks is not considering future workloads or demands. While no organization can ever know exactly what their future networking needs will be, organizations should expect an increased demand on their network and plan accordingly. Much like packing an umbrella when the forecast predicts rain can keep you dry, planning for future growth can help ensure your organization doesn’t outgrow your network prematurely.
One of the most common challenges organizations report when it comes to designing their network architecture is configuring their networks according to best practices and doing so efficiently. All organizations should consider the hardware they are using and ensure it is able to perform well, even while using all the features they currently use and may use in the future. To help organizations ensure their hardware is able to meet their expanding needs, we frequently suggest organizations invest in hardware that is able to support 10 Gigabyte Ethernet.
Undersized networks remain a large problem for many organizations. While oversizing a network may seem wasteful, planning ahead and creating a network that can comfortably meet your needs until your next scheduled expansion or upgrade can keep your TCO lower. Avoiding unplanned upgrades also helps employees remain productive and reduces the chances of network outages when the system becomes overloaded with more traffic than it was designed to handle.
How to Future-Proof Your Network
Your network is the proverbial pipe through which all of your organization’s data flows. The network is responsible for moving data between the internet and your internal network, as well as between different individuals, teams, and departments in your organization. Because the network is so critical, it is one of the first areas organizations set out to secure. As more organizations are adopting SaaS (Software as a Service) and cloud-based services1 (such as Office 365 and Salesforce), the demands we place on our networks only continue to increase.
To ensure your network is able to meet your expanding and evolving needs, consider these three factors:
Bandwidth refers to the amount of traffic that flows through your network. While your network is likely already configured to meet your current bandwidth demand, the increased adoption of bandwidth-hungry apps and services means that your network needs to be able to scale up quickly to ensure everyone continues to enjoy the fast, reliable connections they need to remain productive.
Redundancy is equally important. This safety net (which can come in the form of multiple firewalls, multiple internet connections, and SD-WAN solutions) ensures that if a critical component fails or becomes compromised, the network is able to remain fully functional while the problem is being addressed. This ensures that employees can remain productive and clients can continue to access customer services on your network.
Security2 is critical for keeping your digital assets (including your network and your data) secure. By taking steps such as segmenting your network, relying on multiple firewalls, and using antivirus software all contribute to a “swiss-cheese” style approach to security: no single layer is 100% guaranteed to keep all unauthorized users out, but by layering multiple products and solutions you can make it increasingly difficult for unauthorized users to access private data (including financial records, personnel files, and client lists) and sensitive areas of the network.
Tips for Future-Proofing Existing Networks
Ideally, all networks would be designed with future-proofing in mind during the initial planning stages. However, if your organization is looking to enhance an existing network, you can improve redundancy by leveraging SD-WAN or multiple internet connections built using easily available networking gear.
How Mirazon and CommScope Can Help
Not everyone is a networking expert, which is why the friendly team at Mirazon is here to help. We have extensive experience designing networks with the future in mind as well as re-configuring existing networks to future-proof them.
Our team takes a simple approach to networking with a focus on high availability and functionality using robust hardware options from trusted partners like CommScope. We begin by assessing your current network design and using that information to design a new network based on your current needs and future growth plans. Once we have a plan in place, we will assist with your network installation and offer troubleshooting and maintenance services to help keep your network humming along smoothly.
For clients looking for a turnkey “set it and forget it” approach, we offer world-class managed network services. For a flat monthly fee, we will manage your network for you and offer ongoing troubleshooting and maintenance services, so you and your team can focus on your core business and leave the IT to Mirazon, your friendly neighborhood IT company.
For more information, or to get started future-proofing your network, please contact our team today.