We live in a hyper-connected world and cannot imagine living or doing business without quality networks. Every device, every app and every server needs a connection to the world. However, networks are not just about connectivity but also about security.
- Core networks
- Software defined networks (SDN)
- Local, wireless and wide-area networks
- Network Access Control
If servers are the brain, then core networks are the heart of an IT system and a key point for delivering information services within a company. On the one hand, a core network needs to transfer information between servers or applications to users while on the other hand, communication within the IT system is also becoming increasingly important.
With the rise of digital transformation, the most significant shift is happening at the level of system integration that leads solutions such as big data and Internet of Things, which mean that IT systems are now having added devices and sensors that haven’t been used in IP networks until now.
Did you know that 80% of all network traffic is generated within the data center without ever leaving it?
This is why we can no longer imagine a core network without broadband (10 Gb or more) networks. Regardless of the company size, the core network needs to be designed carefully as each core network is a story unto itself and needs to be adapted to the company’s needs and processes.
No matter how large the company, the basic rules of core networks need to be followed:
- Simplicity: Core networks need to be planned for simplicity, since quality solutions are based on symmetry.
- Robustness: A core network needs to deliver redundancy across all levels and the downtime of any component should not affect the system stability.
- Scalability: Every core network needs to be planned so it can be expanded at any time. If a core network’s capacity is too low, you may face the need for a potentially expensive upgrade relatively quickly down the road.
- Security: The core network needs to be planned to ensure basic operational security. You must primarily focus on correct network segmentation to support effective deployment of security features into the network.
Software defined networks (SDN)
We often hear talk about software-defined networks or SDNs. Is this something that’s actually useful to companies? Of course, modern solutions are based on networks built in virtual environments.
Server virtualization has become a reality for almost any company looking to stay competitive in the global market as virtualization enables much better management, flexibility and reliability. In the past, communication traffic was routed through external dedicated switches and separate management systems. This required companies to manage servers and networks separately, resulting in a slow and laborious process. At the same time, this approach gave rise to security concerns as all servers were a part of server clusters, which means that an attack on a single server put the entire system at risk.
Network virtualization opens a completely new dimension of IT infrastructure management, mainly by delivering significantly improved security through the ability to define the manner of network access for each server individually. This delivers a high level of security as each server is isolated and ensures that when a server is attacked other servers are unaffected.
For companies that often deploy new services (servers or applications) network virtualization means network definitions are automatically applied immediately after the server is deployed without requiring additional switch configuration, which means significant time savings.
Local, wireless and wide-area networks
Allow your employees to connect to the company network at anytime, anywhere and from any device.
The way we work has changed profoundly over the years. 10 years ago, we exclusively relied on desktop computers that waited for us on our work desks. Today, we use several devices instead. The ability to access business e-mail using a phone is now standard and the dynamics of business has changed so profoundly that we need to remain responsive and adaptable.
Local networks provide connectivity for personal computers, company networks and internet. Physical connections remain the most reliable and widely recommended connection type for desktop PCs and office devices (laptops, printers, IP phones, conferencing systems).
A great advantage of wireless networks is that they provide connectivity not only to laptops but also to wireless devices that are increasingly popular. It has become very common for managers to use tablet PCs at meetings and to rely on mobile phones to respond to e-mail. Company guests also often ask for wireless network passwords. Wireless networks have become standard and a service required by users.
Is your company spread across multiple locations in Albania or globally? With the rise of centralisation and virtualisation, most server capacities that provide IT services have been moved to the company’s central location. To support this trend, you need a WAN solution that makes it possible to connect securely, quickly and reliably from remote locations.
Network Access Control
Do you remember the attack by “WannaCry” ransomware and the consequences it had for infected companies? Network access control is primarily a security solution as it ensures that each user connecting to an enterprise network is authenticated. This means no user or device can access the network unless the authentication process confirms they are trustworthy.
If we return to WannaCry ransomware, a network access control solution would have contained the damage caused by malicious code to the computer of the user who triggered it and stopped it from spreading across the entire company.
Network access control is applied per user, device and type of access based on which the user’s level of access is determined. For example, John has different permissions when connecting through a smartphone or personal computer as the system recognizes the user as well as the device.
New forms of work occur in practice (work from home, contractor work) that do not require the worker to be physically present; all they require is a connection to the company’s data center. Using remote VPN access, we can ensure that the user used IT services securely, regardless of where they are located.