The CSA Difference With SD-Branch – Importance of Design

In the first instalment of our SD-Branch blog series we explored the orientation of SD-Branch including key features and benefits. If you haven’t had the chance to read it yet, you can view it here.

Growing demands on the corporate network have brought a number of key challenges for organisations consistently being asked to do more with less. These include:

Networking Challenges

  • Cost reduction while delivering simpler and more efficient network operations across SD-WAN and cloud managed network infrastructure.
  • Correctly handling cloud migration. Key focus areas include SD-WAN, network simplification, carriage transformation and cloud network consultancy for best results.
  • Best-practice replacement of end-of-life and superseded network equipment without causing downtime.

Security Challenges

  • Remote working needs brought on by COVID-19 has seen a spike in already high numbers of phishing scam campaigns against end-users. Endpoint security and multi-factor authentication are critical in the digital economy.
  • Migrating from on-premise legacy perimeter-based security services to Public Cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS) tools.
  • Network security at the edge. Organisations need to mitigate unauthorised access at the edge as well as provide security for IoT networks.
  • Organisations don’t have the necessary internal resources or expertise to correctly manage security operations.

At CSA, we help organisations handle these challenges through defined implementation of network architecture and ongoing management from our team of experts. When undergoing a network refresh or transformation, it’s incredibly beneficial to take a consultative approach where strategy, architecture and design are identified and defined from the outset. A process we regularly undertake with our customers.

Getting the architecture design right is key to gaining maximum benefit from your network, and simplifying the rollout/implementation process. The beauty of an SD-Branch architecture from Aruba is that it can be adopted using an all-in or staged approach.

Some customers may opt to replace all branch networking equipment (LAN, WAN, WAN Router) in one swift cycle to make an immediate transition to a software-defined architecture. Circumstances permitted, others may need to take a staged approach, adopting elements of the SD-Branch architecture as current equipment reaches end-of-life. In this instance, we consult with the customer to develop an SD-Branch adoption strategy and delivery roadmap that aligns with their particular requirements.

Additionally, because the technology can support the increased adoption of internet services, organisations can transform their network carriage contracts. SD-Branch enables us to help customers optimise their carrier service costs and improve the speed of access to cloud-based resources which is validated through user experience monitoring. We often help our customers identify achievable cost savings through helping them navigate the minefield of carrier service offerings. This often helps to offset some of the expenditure associated with SD-Branch technology.

What key questions do we ask when starting a consultative approach?

During the initial stages of an SD-Branch architecture design, we like to get a strong understanding of the customers current situation, including crucial requirements and business goals. Some key questions include:

  • How much effort is required to maintain current network infrastructure?
  • What does current carriage look like?
  • How many sites do they have and over what geographic spread?
  • What applications do they run? (SaaS and Public Cloud)
  • How is internet currently provided to end-users and the WAN?
  • Are any critical sites experiencing carriage redundancy?
  • When are current carriage contracts due for renewal?
  • Are end-users reporting any network performance issues?
  • Have they evaluated the potential costs savings of moving from MPLS to internet-based carriage?
  • At what point of the lifecycle are their current branch networking components? (Example: Switches, Wi-Fi, Routers and Security Devices)

Through taking the time to properly understand the customer’s current situation, we can identify key focus areas and potential challenges that could arise down the track. After gathering all the information, it’s then time to develop the right architecture design and roadmap for implementation. An exercise we explore in the next instalment of this blog series, which you can view here.

Aruba SD-Branch is a comprehensive architecture vision that can serve as a platform for future capabilities and additional services. Contact us to book a free discovery and design session with one of our expert network and security architects. They will walk you through your current state and roadmap a best-practice design.

Ask about booking a free Discovery and Roadmap Session

About the Authors

Leon Slattery is Head of Network and Security at CSA. Leon’s security domain knowledge has been acquired over 12 years of experience in the IT services industry focusing on development and delivery of innovative network and security solutions for customers. Leon has applied his skills for clients within Utilities, Finance, Health and Higher Education industries giving him insight into the unique challenges faced in securing information in these environments.

Leon Slattery

Head of Network and Security, CSA

Marti is a networking specialist with 15+ years’ experience working closely with customers to translate business challenges and opportunities into technical solutions. Having a passion to expand his customers’ mindsets beyond the technology itself, Marti instead focusses on the strategic outcomes that secure network solutions can deliver. Marti has helped clients engage a mobile first approach giving travellers, sports fans and conventioneers memorable in-venue experiences, school students an exciting learning environment and office staff an end user-experience that motivates them to achieve their goals.

Marti Barber

Networking Specialist, CSA