It’s official. We’re now working in a world that demands seamless working and unified communications. Times have changed, and many multi-site hospitality businesses aren’t in a position to embrace new technology - still operating on a traditional WAN (wide area network) that doesn’t fully support them in today’s cloud- centric world.
Being put off by the concept of a technology upheaval or harbouring concerns about significant levels of investment no longer washes in a business environment looking to drive up its overall productivity, enhance customer service and deliver the ultimate engagement – something that cannot be compromised in the hospitality sector. Overlook future-proofing your business and you could be missing out on valuable customers and revenue.
So, let’s put these concerns to one side for the time-being (we’ll address them a little further down the line) and let’s take a closer look at SD-WAN, it’s benefits and how it could serve your hospitality business with 5 star connectivity.
First things first, what is WAN?
A wide-area network or WAN is a network that spans over a larger area consisting of multiple local-area networks (LANs) or other types of computer network that has the ability to share information with one another. A WAN is essentially a large network consisting of multiple smaller networks, commonly used by businesses that have multiple sites in order for them to communicate data with each other over long distances.
Legacy WAN connections
Up until now, legacy WAN (wide area network) connections have been complicated, offered low bandwidth, been expensive to maintain and a little on the painful side to change! And with more and more business conducted online and ‘in the cloud’, the relentless pressure on traditional connection services is beginning to have a detrimental impact on productivity, efficiency, communication and ultimately customer satisfaction.
Thankfully, rapid innovation and technological advances mean these fundamental issues can be resigned to the connectivity history books. Revolutionary SD-WAN architecture has transformed the rules of the game.
Introducing SD-WAN the future of wide area networks
SD WAN technology is a virtual, software-defined approach to managing a wide area network (WAN). It allows you to manage all internet-based applications and connect multiple sites and users securely. It is implemented as a layer that is placed over almost any existing transport services such as MPLS, fibre ethernet, leased lines and/or 4G/5G. And, most importantly, it was created with the cloud in mind. As such, it works through a centralised platform, which detaches the management of the network from the hardware and any traditional infrastructure.
The intelligence, delivered by the software defined wide area network core, enables fast and secure data transfers, rich voice communications and allows easy access to business critical applications across multiple sites. And crucially, the private network reduces exposure to cyber security threats as it doesn’t cross a public network at any point – providing vital protection in the hospitality sector when processing high volumes of personal customer data and payments.
Software defined WAN for the hospitality sector
Many businesses in the hospitality sector already operate on a WAN, but this brings about questions surrounding security, installation costs, disconnection, trouble-shooting and maintenance issues. Yes, you can bring in VoIP, cloud or data hosted systems, etc, but many WANs are simply not ready for the unprecedented traffic that cloud adoption brings. This can have a negative knock-on effect with regards to bolstering corporate innovation, growth and service delivery.
This is not true of Software defined WAN, which ticks all the boxes for current IT challenges, and those which may present themselves in the future. SD-WAN can deliver routing, threat protection, efficient offloading of expensive circuits and simplification of WAN network management.
Pave the way for digital transformation with a software defined wide area network
SD-WAN harnesses powerful, world-leading network technology to ensure multi-site organisations achieve digital transformation goals. Software Defined Wide area network (wide area network) the ability to manage connectivity across multiple sites from a single dashboard, together with enabling cloud connection with greater speed, reliability, and efficiency. Delivering unrivalled performance across your organisation
Other business benefits include:
- Secure your data – complete control and visibility on a next-gen managed security service.
- Centralised management across the branch networks – all sites and devices connected securely and efficiently for flexible working.
- Full visibility into the network – fast, secure access to all of your data.
- Optimised cloud connectivity – eliminates backhauling traffic, facilitates fast, direct access to cloud app regardless of location.
- Simplified infrastructure – quick and easy configuration and management of WAN, cloud and security.
- Reduced costs – SD-WAN reduces costs by leveraging low cost local Internet access, providing direct cloud access and reducing the amount of traffic over the backbone WAN.
Start your digital transformation with SD-WAN
So, the benefits of SD-WAN are clear, but where to start? There’s a wealth of information out there but it’s important to cut through the hype and begin with a clear understanding of the reasons YOUR business needs to invest in SD-WAN technology – whether it’s to improve business agility, upgrade your IT infrastructure, gain unrivalled network visibility, optimise cloud technology or to lay the foundations for a full digital transformation.
Once you’ve identified the business benefits, you’ll be faced with a marketplace that’s jam-packed with SD-WAN solutions, all of which offer the fundamental features such as transport overlays and traffic routing but there are also distinct differences - such as their ability to support complex networks, varying security requirements and different levels of routing.
Now it’s time to check your existing network capabilities. Remember that SD-WAN is an overlay technology so you’ll need to ensure your underlying network is robust, reliable and well-managed.
Decision time. You’ll need to define your network topology – it’s layout and its capabilities. You’ll also need to be confident your SD-WAN provider provides robust business-grade services, with the ability to meet a high-level end-to-end service level agreement to ensure your SD-WAN network delivers the benefits, user experience and performance promised.
Change the way you network with software defined wan?
Make 2022 the year your hospitality business prepares for an agile future with a SD-WAN network solution that gives you complete flexibility and control and puts your organisation in the best possible position to support your employees and capture (and keep) your customers.
Focus Group are experts in SD-WAN, with a long-standing relationship with Cisco – a worldwide leader in IT solutions including networking and cyber security solutions. As a Cisco Elite Partner, the team have supported businesses of all sizes across a wide range of sectors. Whatever your requirements, we’ll help you navigate all SD-WAN network technology and SD-WAN managed services options to create a tailored solution for your business, provide all the technical support you need to ensure the move to SD-WAN is seamless and be by your side every step of the way to ensure your future with SD-WAN Is solid.
Sonia Older is the Campaign Manager at Focus Group and a highly experienced copywriter. She boasts over 20 years of experience in content marketing and PR across multiple industries, and is the key driver of content and PR for Focus Group across all UK offices. Away from work, Sonia usually swaps keyboard strokes for ski slopes in the Alps with her family.