NetFoundry: Getting connectivity ready for post COVID-19
Asian businesses were hit early and hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was the first region in the world to bear the brunt of the disease, with its impact felt in sectors as diverse as tourism, agriculture and manufacturing.
Although governments and enterprises in Asia had lived through and survived SARS, and thus were pre-prepared in ways the rest of the world was not, the COVID crisis posed many new and unexpected challenges. Supply chains were interrupted, transport restricted and consumer demand affected. It was also the first region of the world where businesses and their workforces had to adjust to the difficult realities of mass homeworking – a test case that other economic blocs were able to learn from.
Once the first imperative of ensuring that employees are safe and healthy has been met, the next priority becomes to ensure that they enjoy a high quality of connectivity with each other, with management, with suppliers, with partners and of course with customers. In addition, enterprises had to assess the enhanced risks posed by a new everything remote situations, and rapidly implement action plans to address security vulnerabilies.
Enterprises have typically relied on the connectivity supplied by a traditional telco to unite their various locations and end points. The old school style of VPN and MPLS connections have been the staple means of linking office building to office building, branch to branch, outlet to outlet. But in a world of remote working where the network edge is a much more fluid and vulnerable thing, this model is simply not delivering the goods. It is technology that was not designed for a world of cloud-based applications and mobile workforces. It neither delivers the required agility and adaptability, nor answers the security challenges, performance challenges and management challenge of contemporary working practices – particularly at a time when those practices are having to adapt to a pandemic.
The pandemic has brought with it the need for organizations to embrace flexible working arrangements, and meet challenges such as poor or highly unstable internet connectivity, lack of suitable personal devices, unacceptable quality of voice services, and the need to provide secured access to cloud based applications. None of these needs is met by traditional connectivity suppliers.
The appropriate alternative is a software-defined, cloud-native platform that enables businesses to respond effectively to disruptions and achieve organizational resilience of the kind often referred to as Business Continuity Management (BCM). Moving on from reliance on VPN-based solutions will help organizations that want to support home workers while maintaining a ‘business as usual’ approach. These organisations want a solution that offers minimal loss of productivity by supporting work from home operations with highly secure network connectivity.
Such a solution would also provide on-demand networking, as agile as the applications and IT functions it serves and deliver unmatched control and security along with a software-defined perimeter. It would be all about providing secure Zero Trust
based remote access to workplace tools, software applications, and resources from any location over any connection, on demand, and able to be spun up in a matter of days. With such a platform, organisations ca become much more resilientaround business processes, workforce productivity, customer service, supply chains and logistics.
A good example of a localised solution to this challenge is furnished by a recent collaboration between Fujitsu Philippines, a systems integrator and solutions provider and cloud-native zero-trust security-based networking provider NetFoundry, between them helping businesses in the country to address key challenges thrown up by the current global health crisis.
NetFoundry provides a zero trust network as-a-service platform that is fully SASE (secure access service edge) capable. The NetFoundry platform empowers developers to create applications that run on controllable and secure networks. As noted by Gartner, NetFoundry is listed as a Representative Vendors of ZTNA as a Service, in the Market Guide for Zero Trust Network Access.
While Asia may have been the first region to feel the impact of COVID, with the right strategies in place and the right use made of next generation technology, it can be the first to recover and show the way for the rest of the world.