Update Your Legacy Data Center With the End User in Mind

An infrastructure upgrade is almost always an investment intended to solve problems, but when IT chooses to update the legacy data center, they occasionally solve for some problems and overlook others. This is a common scenario when implementing secure access service edge (SASE) as a networking approach.

SASE combines the benefits of software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) with remote connectivity through zero-touch network access. It also embraces security as a service, using a cloud firewall and web security to provide secure connectivity to users no matter where they are working or applications are housed. It’s a secure networking approach designed to support the distributed enterprise.

The SASE is a powerful way to combine a variety of new technologies to improve security and ease the pressure on network teams; however, in implementing the approach, IT teams often overlook a critical piece: the end user experience. To update your legacy data center effectively, it’s important to examine the improvements that affect your user, not just IT.

The Missing Perspective: There are good reasons for investing in SASE: namely, the pursuit of improved application performance that’s also scalable, secure, and always available, no matter where the user is working. While SD-WAN is valued for its ability to both improve WAN resources and optimize the user experience, the user experience component is sometimes unintentionally shoved aside as SASE is added in.

As they implement SASE to update the data center, IT teams need to ask whether the user experience is getting better or worse, and they will need to develop an effective way to assess it. As more employees have shifted to remote work and are expected to stay there, these questions are coming into the forefront. IT isn’t responsible for the home WiFi, but they are tasked with ensuring that users can work effectively when they log on, and that requires some insight into the end-user perspective.

Addressing Latency: Latency is hard to avoid, particularly when there are poor-quality internet connections and important applications are not prioritized. Add in that many enterprises still put traffic back through the data center in order to meet security policy, and you’ve got a video conference freezing up on your end user.

Enterprises need to find a way to shorten the distance between end users and security. Some enterprises choose to handle it themselves, configuring a policy that allows all edge locations to reach security functions along the shortest path. But ideally this can be handled by your SASE provider, who can provide global points of presence that are geographically close to both end users and cloud and software as a service (SaaS) providers.

Improving Visibility: IT teams value tools available through SD-WAN and other SASE components that offer powerful visibility into network issues. Unfortunately, these insights are rarely delivered in a user-centric context. They often don’t provide information about how many users are being affected and which of their activities are limited.

Gaining these pieces of information helps you more effectively determine how network events are shaping user experiences. Your SASE provider should be helping you address these gaps by providing closed-loop self-healing, which can lead to opportunities around artificial intelligence for operations that eventually can fix application issues and help identify emerging trends for proactively addressing them. For instance, if a weekly promotion tends to introduce congestion every Friday, future SASE solutions will proactively utilize alternate gateways during that time.

Are you looking for an update to your legacy data center that keeps your end users at the center of your decision? Contact us at One Connect, and we will help develop ways of assessing which SASE tools will be most effective for serving your end users while also achieving your IT objectives.