There has been a significant shift in the way in which businesses are choosing to work, with many turning to the cloud for the full range of software tools and services that they need to operate. This shift has been facilitated through applications that are now available as Software as a Service (SaaS) such as Microsoft’s Office 365 or Gmail.
Eliminating the need for a number of on-site servers, allowing businesses to start using software tools immediately. SaaS also allows businesses to be more mobile and resilient – typically offering access via any web browser – so usable from a mobile phone, tablet computer, laptop or desktop PC.
This shift to cloud based applications has had a big impact on how a business operates and what they need from a technology perspective. With the elimination of many on premise servers and storage devices, networks in many businesses can be dramatically simplified, but providing rock solid connections to cloud services remains critical.
Being able to access business tools from any device, whether that is an Apple watch, a smartphone or a PC makes businesses more flexible. For example, letting sales people have information at their fingertips on customer sites or in the showroom. However it does mean that compared to even just a few years ago, most businesses need to manage far more connected devices. The rise of smart devices and the use of digital media, especially video, has meant that each person on a network now demands more network capacity, described as bandwidth.
To tackle these challenges we developed a new class of network switch called Smart Switches, which by adding a layer of intelligence to the network, offer many of the same benefits as an enterprise grade fully managed switch, but without the complexity. Smart Switches do this by automating much of the functional control and ongoing configuration needed for an effective, reliable business network. This minimises the time spent configuring and maintaining the network – something that is especially important in environments with limited on-site IT skills and resources, such as an SME.
Smart Switches can also offer a significant upgrade from legacy networking technology in two other key areas; first by providing Gigabit connectivity with smart traffic management, they can deliver the bandwidth needed to ensure consistent, uninterrupted connectivity to cloud applications. Second, Smart Switches with Power over Ethernet (PoE) capability can deliver both data connectivity and power to a connected device. So a device such as a VoIP phone or IP CCTV camera only needs one cable to get it up and running.
This adds significant flexibility to the overall set-up of an office space. New devices, such as surveillance cameras or phones can be installed, set up and be running quickly without the need for an electrician to provide power, or the use of power adaptors and trailing extension leads.
The shift to the cloud is a huge opportunity to upgrade business competitiveness, offering new ways to work and the ability to improve services for even more customers.
Paul Routledge, Country Manager, D-Link UK & Ireland
Image source: Shutterstock/ Supphachai Salaeman