Internet Solutions
Internet Solutions Staff Writer

Connectivity is the most significant enabler for success when establishing new branches and offices to support expanding business operations.

Remote offices/branch offices (ROBOs) have often been on the back foot when it comes to harnessing digital transformation technologies such as the cloud due to complex infrastructure, remote locations, geographical distances, and patchy connectivity.

However, with the advancement in various connectivity options, these satellite offices can remain relevant – becoming less of a liability and more of an extension of the organisation’s ability.

Broadband connectivity

One of the key benefits of a remote office is the ability to consume corporate applications and resources and connect with colleagues without having to be at the head office in person. However, limitations arise in the form of stable, affordable and rapidly deployable connectivity, together with the importance of maintaining a secure connection.

Broadband offers the advantage of Internet connectivity to connect remote and branch sites with the added benefit of a reduced price point to provide these services, especially for small remote sites which may have a limited number of users.

The ability to connect these sites rapidly is critical as fixed infrastructure in remote areas might take months to be implemented. This is the perfect use case for 4G connectivity, and more so now as the mobile network operators in South Africa are significantly improving coverage.

Another key benefit is the use of broadband Internet access for the cost convenience and agility afforded by cellular connectivity. Together, these forms of Internet connectivity can provide maximum uptime for a site.

SD-WAN technologies

To accommodate the growing demand for ROBOs, more geographically dispersed organisations are turning to SD-WAN. Virtualising physical management infrastructure offers a new world of opportunity. The real value of being software-defined is the ability to quickly deploy via zero-touch provisioning features and manage and upgrade via a central management console.

SD-WAN appliances enhance the functionality of ROBO sites by providing seamless integration with the corporate network. SD-WAN also enables increased performance and intelligent routing, depending on where the packets must go, via application steering and control.

In the South African context, this truly enables smaller businesses that don’t have the budget for the more expensive connectivity mediums to still consume cloud-based applications, connect small branches and grow their businesses in an agile way – with the potential knock-on effect of economic stimulation.

Hyper-converged infrastructure

Historically, ROBOs have had more single points of failure than they should, in part due to using single servers with directly attached storage. Hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) might be expensive to implement at the outset but is far more cost-effective than managing old infrastructure in the long run.

The most significant advantage of software-defined infrastructure is the ability to centrally manage and view the health of the network, identify areas of concern and set traffic policies. This allows remote sites to receive the same level of support as the larger sites, especially when partnering with a managed service provider.

At IS, we have an advanced understanding of the technology your business needs to remain competitive in an evolving digital landscape. Our connectivity solutions provide the speed and reliability you need to operate your remote offices with complete peace of mind. Find out more about the connectivity solutions we have available for your business here.

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