Cisco: Making remote users feel at home on the new enterprise network

QA Box CEO Aaron Levie looks at the future of

When Covid-19 reared its ugly head earlier this 12 months it altered the way in which hundreds of thousands of company staff access enterprise sources.  Now that it’s apparent these modifications in lots of circumstances are going to be extra everlasting than initially thought, many shoppers and distributors need to help distant staff in methods not likely anticipated previously.

“The Covid-19 pandemic brought about a huge experiment in widespread remote working,” mentioned Gartner vp Elisabeth Joyce, of a latest survey of 127 firm leaders that discovered  47% mentioned they intend to permit staff to work remotely full time going ahead. “As enterprise leaders plan and execute reopening of their workplaces, they’re evaluating extra everlasting distant working preparations as a approach to meet worker expectations and to construct extra resilient enterprise operations.”

See “How to find out if Wi-Fi 6 is best for you”

Indeed constructing sturdy distant networking environments is driving what Cisco and others are making ready for. 

“The basic shift is that we want to consider our individuals working from residence, and the house networks they use, because the default network. What we would like is to create a high-quality micro-branch workplace in your house,” mentioned Greg Dorai, vp of product administration and technique for Cisco’s Enterprise Infrastructure and Solutions Group.  “Now we must consider every work-from-home worker and every one of their home offices as worthy of the same level of connectivity support as our company headquarters and branches.”

Realistically each firm can’t present each employee with headquarters-level help for his or her residence networks, however there are applied sciences accessible and coming within the close to future that may handle the totally different wants of various staff, Dorai mentioned.

In Cisco’s case a few new choices handle wi-fi and broad space networking connectivity for distant customers. 

“For employees for whom best-effort connectivity isn’t enough, we can replace or augment their home-networking access point with a Wi-Fi router that acts as an extension of the corporate network,” Dorai mentioned. “Home wireless access points, configured by company IT before the employee installs them, can provide advanced security and monitoring and prioritize bandwidth for applications that need it.”

Corporate access factors could make the in-home person expertise seem the identical because the expertise on the corproate-office network. If the gadgets mechanically join on the workplace, they’ll do the identical at residence – no have to hassle with firing up a VPN, Dorai mentioned.

As distant extensions of the company network, company IT can have full visibility into these access factors, and may handle the gadgets remotely and monitor efficiency and safety points, Dorai mentioned.

In Cisco’s case IT can handle distant customers by way of its DNA Spaces package deal, which is comprised of Cisco’s Connected Mobile Experience (CMX) wi-fi suite and enterprise geolocation know-how. Cisco CMX is a software program engine that analyzes location and different intelligence gleaned from Cisco wi-fi infrastructure to assist ship providers to prospects on their cellular gadgets. DNA Spaces additionally offers companies with analytics about who and what are of their bodily places together with the flexibility to behave on these insights in real-time, in keeping with Cisco.

To handle a few of these points, Cisco has not too long ago added a package deal known as Remote Workforce Wireless Solution that lets prospects provision and handle residence staff. 

Another distant employee extension Cisco suggests is using SD-WAN routers for the house that embody a wi-fi connection. 

“While this solution is overkill for most workers, when connectivity is mission-critical it’s the best option. It’s also a good solution for employees who don’t have a reliable primary ISP,” Dorai mentioned. “IT can configure this equipment so critical communications are routed over it – either all the time, or when the main link becomes burdened.”

Cisco not too long ago added a package deal known as Remote Workforce Routing that provides zero-touch onboarding of all distant staff’ wired and wi-fi gadgets and the corporate’s wi-fi LTE Advanced PRO for backup. The bundle additionally options Cisco’s SD-WAN Cloud OnRamp and Umbrella safety help to let distant customers access functions remotely and securely, Cisco says.

Security for distant customers

“For many office employees in companies that rely heavily on corporate applications, the standard model of equipping them with virtual private network software for their computers will continue to work. Configuring split tunneling can optimize performance to cloud-hosted services while still giving employees secure access to corporate-hosted resources,” Dorai mentioned. 

Split tunneling is lets prospects choose particular, enterprise-bound visitors to be despatched by way of a company VPN tunnel. The relaxation goes on to the internet with out going by way of the tunnel. Otherwise all visitors, even visitors headed for websites on the internet, would undergo the VPN, by way of enterprise safety measures after which again out to the internet. The thought is that the VPN infrastructure has to deal with much less visitors, so it performs higher.

At the onset of the distant employee rush, many VPN suppliers – together with Cisco and Microsoft – have been speaking up cut up tunneling as a key know-how to assist firms deal with distant visitors.

“Remote customers that require access to principally cloud-based sources can use zero-trust applied sciences for safety,” Dorai mentioned  “But even in cases where the end user isn’t connected to corporate-controlled resources or for whom connecting to a VPN is superfluous, IT should still monitor the performance of the services they are using, to get ahead of any issues that may arise in their cloud services.”

Dorai mentioned that Cisco is engaged on different packages it can finally supply “as-a-service” to assist prospects help distant staff.

The as-a-service technique is a component of a bigger Cisco purpose of accelerating service choices. Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins mentioned within the firm’s latest monetary outcomes name that the seller “will accelerate the transition of the majority of our portfolio to be delivered as a service,” Robbins mentioned. “We will also accelerate our investments in the following areas: cloud security; cloud collaboration; key enhancements for education, healthcare, and other industries; increased automation in the enterprise; the future of work; and application insights and analytics.”

Cisco’s not alone

Across the board different distributors are providing enterprise prospects higher remote-worker help as nicely.  For instance, earlier this month Juniper prolonged its household of Wi-Fi 6 wi-fi access factors with the specific thought of serving to enterprise prospects help distant staff.  The access factors characteristic integration with the Juniper Mist Wi-Fi Assurance cloud service to assist prospects with automated WLAN configuration, anomaly detection, efficiency and service-level metrics to finally make wi-fi networks extra predictable and dependable.

Other wi-fi distributors similar to Cisco’s Meraki, CommScope, Cambium Networks are concentrating on the distant workforce.

For instance, HPE’s Aruba has additionally focused distant customers with providers from it not too long ago launched Edge Services Platform (ESP) which guarantees to investigate telemetry information and mechanically optimize connectivity, discover network issues, and safe edge networking. Its SD-Branch help gives a wide range of company network-type characteristic help. 

Extreme too, by way of its ExtremeCloud IQ package deal and Wi-Fi 6 choices, has additionally prolonged the enterprise network to assist run and handle distant staff.

VMware has made upgrades to its Workspace Workspace ONE platform that securely manages finish customers’ cellular gadgets and cloud-hosted digital desktops and functions from the cloud or on-premise.

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