SD-WAN, SASE, broadband – alright, these aren’t all necessarily new network services. Advancements in ubiquitous broadband over the last 20 years have enabled the continuous connectivity we experience today, but the pandemic rapidly accelerated their business vitality in powering today’s stay-at-home economy, and businesses had no choice but to act.

Overnight, enterprises needed to rethink the way they selected, deployed, managed, and maintained network services, bringing to light a newfound emphasis on the foundational technologies that keep business and a remote workforce running. Not only did this mean a reliable network, but also supporting technologies that provide strong security, maximize staff performance, and maintain reputable brand image.

Engineers and technologists who once were in a place to make recommendations on how to modernize and manage their companies’ digital transformations were met with clear direction and authority to execute change from the C-suite.

In Network Computing, John Edwards recently reflected on the top five network innovations deployed during the pandemic that have shown real staying power. These include:

  • Stronger reliance on software-defined perimeter technology designed to secure remote access and create a Zero Trust security strategy has proven to be a critical tool to drive effectiveness and efficiencies, as opposed to reliance on more complex legacy systems.
  • SASE overcomes SD-WAN as it is recognized by Gartner as being at the peak phase of the hype cycle, combining SD-WAN capabilities with added security functions to facilitate secure network access across hybrid cloud and mobile environments.
  • Pervasive intelligence uses internal network resources to help staff better access, assess, and implement data insights, increasing scale, resilience, responsiveness, and agility.
  • Better and more accurate network planning as many organizations come to terms with the fact that they were entirely unprepared to meet a sudden, massive surge in network demands. Now is not the time to “take a breather.”
  • More precise network performance monitoring since COVID-19 put an emphasis on IT teams to understand how to discover and monitor detailed application network behavior.

Enterprise networking IT stacks will only continue to become more sophisticated as the stay-at-home economy evolves. Players in this space have ample opportunity to support both the C-Suite and IT decision makers in meeting the needs of global businesses for secure, agile and scalable networking solutions that drive business continuity and growth, empower employees and result in happy customers.