4 Ways to Tell Your Network is Ready for Digital Transformation
Digital transformation often brings to mind the next-generation technologies that are shaping the future of our world – things like IoT, creating an ecosystem of data-informed devices, or artificial intelligence, helping humans make more accurate and informed decisions. What’s often overlooked, however, is the underlying technology that underpins all of these exciting innovations.
Here at Zayo, when we think of digital transformation, we think of the network. Next-generation, data-intensive technologies require a strong foundation to work optimally.
Perhaps you’re just starting a move to the cloud or a hybrid environment or you’re taking your transformation to the next level by automating previously manual tasks with artificial intelligence. Wherever you are in your digital transformation journey, it’s important to evaluate your network to ensure you’re ready for what’s next.
In this blog, we’ll explore the four ways to tell your network is ready for digital transformation.
1. You have enough bandwidth to support your current digital transformation efforts with scalability to meet future needs.
Modern technologies like cloud and edge computing require massive amounts of bandwidth in the right places to accommodate an increased data flow. Legacy networks simply can’t meet the needs of these applications and basic internet connectivity doesn’t cut it.
So, just how much bandwidth do you need?
To find out, consider the following:
- How many users you’ll need to provide bandwidth for. Think about the number of people and devices that will be using bandwidth. Are they working from home or the office? Are you thinking about hiring more employees soon? These factors will impact the amount of bandwidth you need.
- Your budget. Consider the costs of additional bandwidth. Working with a provider that allows you to scale bandwidth as needed can help eliminate unnecessary costs.
- The level of performance you’re looking for. For instance, what kinds of speeds do you need? Higher speeds will require greater bandwidth. Also, what are your bandwidth needs by application? Web surfing, email, software applications, video conferencing, and more need varying levels of bandwidth. Several bandwidth calculators exist on the internet to help you determine how much bandwidth your team requires based on the applications you’re using and the number of users.
- Your future use. You need to understand what’s coming down the pipeline for your team, what growth initiatives you plan to execute, and what the bandwidth needs will be for these future initiatives and applications.
If your bandwidth requirements change in the future, you want to be ready to meet them. One of the benefits of using the cloud or edge over legacy systems is scalability. You’ll want to be able to scale your storage and computing resources up or down as your needs change. Using on-premises data centers make this more difficult because you have to purchase additional hardware to scale these resources. The cloud or a hybrid environment provides a more scalable infrastructure for these kinds of needs – no additional hardware required.
2. Your network offers low latency and speed for real-time applications.
One of the most important benefits of big data is its use in real-time applications. Several organizations today use real-time applications to make in-the-moment decisions. These applications require near-zero latency to operate optimally.
Here are some examples of applications that require minimal latency to perform properly:
- Real-time analytics and monitoring. You can monitor customer behavior, sales, site traffic, product performance, and so much more using analytics dashboards. Gaining insight into these metrics in real-time, as the data comes in allows you to quickly gather insights and make faster decisions.
- Video conferencing. Teleconferencing software like Zoom requires near-zero latency to avoid lags or delays between users, which can cause miscommunications. In some video conferencing cases, latency is critical. For example, if a doctor in a city is supervising a surgery happening in a rural area via a telehealth conference, they require the lowest latency possible to ensure a precise operation.
- Virtual reality (VR). VR applications require low latency so the system can accurately respond to movements from the user. Companies are using VR to provide training in a risk-free environment, allow customers to experience products or services before they buy them, and more. With the emergence of the metaverse, latency becomes a much more important issue. For the metaverse to work properly, extremely low latency (and high bandwidth) is required.
Your organization may not be leveraging them now, but these technologies provide a competitive advantage by allowing organizations to make instantaneous, data-driven decisions and connect with customers and employees in new ways. Using a network that provides the lowest possible latency will ensure that you’re able to use these technologies to your advantage if you choose to do so in the future.
3. Your network is resilient and agile.
Today, it’s critical your network is resilient against all kinds of threats to ensure business continuity amidst life-altering events. The pandemic tested the resiliency of a lot of corporate networks as entire workforces suddenly shifted from on-premises offices to remote locations. Many organizations accelerated their digital transformation efforts as a result when they quickly realized that digital environments were more suitable for a hybrid or remote workforce.
While the pandemic may seem like a once-in-a-lifetime challenge, there are a number of situations that require greater network resilience like natural disasters or terrorist attacks. Relying solely on on-premises or legacy network solutions can set you up for failure in the face of adversity. By moving your network to multi-cloud or edge environments, you’re better able to pivot quickly when data and traffic patterns change or when massive shifts in operations are needed and the organization needs to remain connected to customers and the workforce.
Your network must be equipped to handle sudden or gradual changes in bandwidth and latency needs in the face of rare situations.
In addition to moving to more secure, resilient cloud environments, it’s important to have a resilient and secure backbone infrastructure. Having a diverse, redundant fiber foundation with physical routing between locations can help ensure greater resiliency. A diverse, redundant backbone allows your network to stay up even in the case that one part of the network is down.
4. Your network is secure.
With the influx of data needed to support digital technologies and help make informed decisions, data integrity is more important than ever. This valuable data is often the target of today’s cyber attacks. That said, you need to ensure your network is secure before moving forward with digital initiatives.
Attackers these days have become more sophisticated and coordinate attacks on multiple levels of the network. Because of this, it’s critical to build security into every layer of your network. Simply filtering network traffic with firewalls won’t cut it – especially in a world where employees are accessing company resources from anywhere, on any device. You must consider the kinds of threats that can target you at every level of your network – from your applications to your network infrastructure – and secure each of these levels.
Secure fiber infrastructure provides a level of physical security as software-based solutions provide application-level security. Dedicated bandwidth on a fiber network reduces downtime and increases security.
In addition to having a secure fiber backbone and software to keep applications secure, digital-first organizations have started to adopt zero-trust policies to secure their resources. This concept means that organizations don’t immediately trust users trying to access their resources. Instead, every transaction needs to be authorized. Today, teams are building zero trust into their applications to ensure a high level of security.
Prepare for what’s next with a future-ready network
In order to transform and be ready for future transformation, you need the right network. Zayo’s network is there wherever you need it, preparing you for what’s next with a deep, expansive fiber network including long-haul and metro connectivity. Our 400G and 800G-enabled network empowers customers to reach their digital transformation goals with low-latency, high-bandwidth, and scalable connectivity.
Are you ready to transform? Explore our network map and see what Zayo connectivity can do for you.