As the world goes digital, IT plays an ever more critical role in business success. Beyond simply supporting applications that connect employees and customers, IT has become either the key enabler or inhibitor of business growth. Competitive advantage can only be sustained by continuously executing innovative strategies.
However, it’s hard to add strategic value when you’re overwhelmed with tactical burdens. Rapid growth, mergers, acquisitions and other events can leave IT resources nearly consumed by “firefighting” activities to support legacy infrastructure and applications that may be beyond end-of-support or end-of-life status.
One area that can be exceptionally demanding on resources, is the local area network (LAN). The LAN is the network specific to a single location, consisting of devices like WiFi access points, switches, security cameras and more, which have traditionally required administrators to make configuration changes locally. The LAN can consume a significant amount of time and resources, especially when adding or managing multiple locations that require higher levels of on-site support.
Strategically approaching network needs
Overcoming inefficiencies and rising to your organization’s strategic challenges may require rethinking how your resources are allocated. This is a major reason businesses are enlisting partners to help manage their LAN needs such as software installations, updates and the deployment of cloud-based network devices. Not only to benefit from outside expertise, but to eliminate the need for IT specialists to be physically on-site at each location.
Migrating your LAN to the cloud
Transitioning to a cloud-managed LAN services model can increase efficiency by delivering the services needed to support employees and customers, without the physical and IT burdens that traditional LAN services require.
For example, access to LAN devices—including every switch in a deployment—can be managed remotely by administrators via online dashboards when moved to the cloud. This enables administrators to make changes across an entire organization simultaneously, eliminating the need to physically access the telco closet at each site to adjust devices one at a time, drastically simplifying the management process.
Centralized cloud-management of the LAN also ensures higher levels of security, enabling administrators to set security protocols across their entire network in just a few clicks, while leveraging the latest technology to proactively discover malicious activity. If anything does arise, administrators have the ability to quickly isolate and identify issues, significantly reducing time to resolution. When IT organizations spend less time “fighting fires”, they can spend more time on strategic initiatives.
In truth, your IT organization can spend more time on strategic initiatives when they spend less time managing your LAN overall. Migrating to a cloud-based model can make a considerable difference and working with a provider that will configure and maintain your devices, can have an even bigger impact. When planning your move to the cloud, make sure you do your homework and work with a partner that will not only provide the services you need, but can also take on some of the management responsibilities as well.
Investing for success
As you consider the benefits of migrating LAN management to the cloud as part of your digital transformation strategy, you should also consider other elements of your corporate strategy where costs and benefits may be challenging to quantify. Are there ways that you can leverage your newly freed resources to drive growth within the business overall? How can your IT organization help you achieve your strategic goals? Technology is vital for business growth, but outdated legacy environments can have an adverse effect when they require more resources and lack flexibility. Investing in technology now that can support the evolving needs of your organization into the future, will be vital to achieving long-term success.
Travis Mininger is a Senior Product Manager at Windstream Enterprise where he is responsible for the LAN Services, Managed LAN/WAN, Managed Network Services and Hospitality WiFi solution portfolios. He has over 15 years of experience managing many different products and services with a strong background in LAN, CPE-based and security-based services. Travis joined Windstream in 2017 and held previous product management positions with Broadview Networks and EarthLink.
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