Authored By: John Tait, Global Managing Director, TNS Payments Market
Business continuity refers to an organisation’s ability to keep core business functions running steadily and without downtime, even during disruptive events. While business continuity preparations involve many components and span every function of a business, no enterprise can forget about contingency planning for its network infrastructure.
That’s because a network provides the connectivity foundation without which many business-critical technologies simply can’t function: cloud data storage and applications; digital and electronic payments systems; customer data platforms (CDPs) and customer relationship management (CRM) platforms; Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications; voice-over-IP (VoIP) phone systems and more.
In fact, just about everything within an enterprise these days requires a network connection, which means extended network downtime is out of the question.
To support these business-critical systems, enterprises can turn to software-defined wide-area networks (SD-WAN). An SD-WAN provides business continuity by ensuring networks, and the applications and systems that rely on them, continue functioning to the highest extent possible. While specific features vary between networks and vendors, some of the ways an SD-WAN can support business continuity include:
Reliability: Because SD-WAN uses software to route network traffic over the fastest path across multiple connections, it can dynamically adjust to changing circumstances, and can segment traffic flow to prioritise business-critical data. That makes it efficient, yet highly reliable, even when the same network must support multiple high-bandwidth and/or cloud-based applications.
Redundancy: An SD-WAN can be layered on top of other network connectivity solutions (broadband, LTE, MPLS, etc.) to create redundancy. This allows the SD-WAN to use the best network path and connection at any given time, so critical technologies and systems remain online.
Resilience: Some providers diversify by contracting with multiple carriers, so even if a specific carrier or service area experiences downtime or an outage, the SD-WAN solution can use a different carrier’s network to maintain connectivity.
High uptime: Selecting an SD-WAN from a service provider with global reach and geographic diversity provides high server availability. This makes it much less likely a business’ network will go down even if a certain region or part of the world is experiencing a disaster event (either natural, such as a hurricane, or manmade, such as a terrorist attack).
Risk management: Selecting an SD-WAN solution from a managed service provider (MSPs) means the MSP shoulders many or all of the administrative, security and compliance responsibilities (and associated costs) for a network. Using a trusted third party to manage an SD-WAN removes much of the burden of network management from IT staff, and it can also reduce business risk.
With an MSP that offers persistent monitoring from global network operating centres (NOCs), NOC employees watch the network, and all data travelling across it, at all times, and can take immediate action in the event of an issue. This can reduce risk in two key ways: It lowers the potential of extended network downtime, and it decreases the possibility a cybersecurity threat will seriously impact the business before being addressed.
Staying Connected is Mission-Critical
True business continuity requires careful planning to keep mission-critical operations running, and the network is a key enabler of most business functions today. Businesses can look to SD-WAN solutions to support their business continuity preparations and help employees access critical applications and systems; remote sites or branches to stay connected to one another; and data continue to be securely backed up.
John Tait is Global Managing Director of TNS’ Payments Market business. He is responsible for identifying and driving growth across the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific regions, and is focused on meeting the unique requirements of TNS’ customers.