In a typical year, an enterprise IT department will deal with any number of network disruptions that can derail a business—severe weather events, cyberattacks and sluggish performance from bandwidth-straining cloud applications. In response, IT tends to behave reactively, on a case-by-case basis, to restore their networks. Some may even have business continuity plans in place.
With the global pandemic driving entire sectors of business and society to work from home, continuity is now critical in order to keep working, learning and living. Continuous network connectivity is considered an essential utility, alongside electricity and running water. It follows, then, that ensuring business continuity depends on ensuring network connectivity. You can’t have one without the other.
The catastrophic costs of downtime
A recent study found 25% of respondents worldwide reported that downtime costs between $301,000 and $400,000 on average—with another 16% pegging the cost at $401,000 to $500,000 and an additional 15% of respondents citing the cost as greater than $5 million.*
Those are just the financial costs. Compounded by the stress of disruptions to daily routines—for students at all grade levels, frontline healthcare workers and their patients, and innumerable businesses trying to serve their customers—the impacts of network downtime become incalculable.
Why MPLS isn’t up to the job anymore
When introduced, MPLS was an ideal network option for organizations that ran multiple business-critical applications at several locations. It converges voice and data traffic over connections that are isolated from the public internet, while offering basic control over applications. As more organizations shift apps and services to cloud, multi-cloud and SaaS providers, MPLS has become obsolete as more network traffic is traversing public broadband. Now add the proliferation of personal devices and an unforeseen transition to full-time remote working during the pandemic, and the hunger for bandwidth and shifting application architectures have driven MPLS networks to the breaking point.
Unified communications: A critical application for any organization
Enterprises are now obligated to provide their home-based workers with the tools they need to succeed in a physically distanced world. Outdated, premises-based phone systems can’t support the real-time responsiveness and flexibility employees require without a costly upgrade. A cloud-based unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solution offers the voice, video, conferencing and messaging capabilities that keep employees productive and engaged with customers. Remote teams can collaborate securely in real time, from any device, over multiple channels at once.
Wherever employees work, security must follow
Since the massive migration to remote work in the cloud, the network perimeter has dissolved—there is no “inside the corporate network” and “public internet.” Consequently, the old model of routing network traffic through a centralized security stack is inefficient. To be effective against downtime from network threats—without creating complexity and latency for its users—enterprises need a security-as-a-service model that incorporates the key elements of SASE (secure access service edge): security services that unify and simplify secure remote access, content filtering, intrusion prevention and application control into one robust solution.
SD-WAN: The bedrock of a business continuity plan
As a software-defined network overlay, SD-WAN not only improves network performance compared to MPLS, but can deliver 100 percent uptime for increasingly complex network architectures. IT gains greater network optimization and manageability—as well as improved security and data center protection—while reducing downtime to near zero. When paired with active-active connectivity, SD-WAN delivers seamless failover and up to 100% uptime for critical applications, allowing an organization to offer a superior customer experience.
Get peace of mind from maximum uptime
Today business continuity matters more than ever. That’s why Windstream Enterprise has assembled a full suite of affordable, resilient Business Continuity Solutions—including SD-WAN Concierge™ for high network availability and uptime, OfficeSuite UC® for secure, cloud-based collaboration, and Managed Network Security (MNS) for a comprehensive suite of security services. All of these solutions can be managed with WE Connect, our customizable, AI-powered portal that adapts to the way you manage your network. You’ll gain access to the highest level of network resiliency and business continuity available. More details are available here in this fact sheet.1. Alsop, Thomas. “Average cost per hour of enterprise server downtime worldwide in 2019.” Statista, Mar 2, 2020. Accessed 11 Nov 2020.