Connecting multiple offices to a secure, reliable network can be complicated. While many companies need to connect buildings in close proximity, others may need to unify hub offices, branches and a large contingent of remote and hybrid workers simultaneously.
Ways of working have changed drastically over the past few years - employees are more remote than ever before, and the large corporate headquarters of yesteryear is no longer the norm for doing business. It is far more common for employees to now do hotdesking or shared desk space. Along with this evolution, hybrid and remote working has created added security and collaboration challenges.
Despite the vastly different architectures and variety of industries configuring networks over multiple office locations - three key needs reign supreme: business continuity, efficient collaboration, and security.
Your Network Options
Just a few years ago, the standard approach for managing offices across multiple geographies was to connect one main office location, housing all the company’s data storage, servers and IT resources, to other satellite offices via a Wide-Area Network or WAN. Local-Area Networks or LANs, existed at these satellite offices to keep them connected to the corporate center.
The proliferation of big data paired with the rapid transition to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic has required businesses to look at how they work and reconfigure their models based on efficiencies and costs. LANs and WANs can be expensive as they require precise installation and overhead costs. Smaller businesses with fewer resources or those with workers in remote locations are looking for different options.
One option is Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). VPNs provide secure connections between individual users and their organization's network over the Internet, and have become a preferred solution for many companies embracing a new hybrid working model. VPNs provide a connectivity and security layer over existing traditional connections. VPNs don't host files, they provide a connection for phones, security cameras, badge access systems, and more. They provide a connection to whatever resource has the file or data.
It’s important to look at the needs of your organization, the geographic profile of your employee base and the use case for the data and applications your business requires before deciding on a network architecture.
Another solid option for network configuration is MHO's Metro Ethernet service, which provides a simple, cost-effective way to connect two or more business locations, or to an offsite data center within the Metro area. Each connection is customized to your network needs.
Cloud Solutions For Collaboration
With workspaces becoming more removed from the corporate hub, Cloud Computing has become more important than ever. Cloud infrastructure allows for fast adaptation, easy backups, quick disaster recovery, and is monitored and maintained in controlled environments, all of which leads to seamless operations and enhanced collaboration among employees and offices in different geographic locations.
MHO's connectivity solutions enable your teams to simultaneously run multiple cloud applications, video conferencing, VPN connections, and more. All of this without the latency, service degradation and potential downtime like other traditional service providers, and can be the ideal solution to help foster efficient collaboration among your geographically dispersed team.
Network Diversity vs. Redundancy
One vital aspect of managing connectivity, business continuity, and security is utilizing internet redundancy or diversity. Depending on your industry, either option may be a fit.
Redundancy typically refers to having a backup internet service provider. Many businesses make use of a primary connection such as MHO’s fixed wireless offering, with a secondary fiber connection to ensure the business is always connected. If there is an interruption in service the secondary internet service can be utilised seamlessly and automatically.
Diversity takes this a step further – this separates all of the factors for your internet service provider to make an outage even more unlikely. In simple terms, this means if one factor suffers an outage, another factor can work in its stead. At MHO, we use a three factor model, focusing on carrier, access and transport diversity. This separation means that if an unforeseen event causes an outage for one of these factors, the others will likely be able to carry on.
To understand more about diversity versus redundancy please read the full explanations here.
Choosing what is best for you
No matter how you choose to configure your company’s network, it's important that your decision is consistent and standard for all of your offices and that you accommodate for the core needs of your business and employees. We at MHO are here to assist as you configure your company network. We can provide a tailored solution that best fits your needs.