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Remote Work is here to stay – Here’s how to overcome traditional networking limitations

Remote Work is here to stay – Here’s how to overcome traditional networking limitations

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Don Boxley, CEO and Co-Founder, DH2i, tells us SDP overcomes VPN connectivity and security obstacles, while ensuring lower cost, increased performance and fast ROI. 

Don Boxley, CEO and Co-Founder, DH2i

Even before the pandemic, the move towards remote work was trending up. A 2017 Gallup poll showed 43% of employed Americans were already working from home at least some of the time.

In 2018, the Census Bureau reported that 5.2% of employed Americans worked from home in 2017; an increase up from 5% in 2016 and 3.3% in 2000. However, once the pandemic hit much of the world’s workforce found themselves sent home virtually overnight.

For many, it was a bumpy transition. But it didn’t take long for employees and employers alike to get used to the idea and eventually, more preferred this new work mode, than didn’t. Prevailing research bears this out.

The University of Chicago’s Becker Friedman Institute for Economics surveyed 10,000 employees who stated they were just as productive working from home compared to working in the office, if not more so.

Their research also revealed both a benefit to employee work/life balance, as well the carbon emissions and the environment, in that commuting time was reduced by 62.4 million hours per day.

Likewise, in its 5th Annual State of Remote Work report, Owl Labs found that 55% of respondents stated they work more hours from home than from a physical office. And, 32% stated that they would resign from their job if they were not allowed to continue working remotely.

Similarly, Upwork’s Future Workforce Report 2021 key findings included that 40.7 million American professionals, nearly 28% of respondents, will be fully remote in the next five years, up from 22.9% in its last survey conducted in November 2020.

What’s more, having recognized the productivity and significant financial benefits of employees working remotely, many businesses planned to take it a step further with 71% of hiring managers stating that they plan to sustain or increase their use of freelancers in the next six months.

So while some of us may eventually go back to the office, likely in a hybrid fashion, it has become clear that remote work is here to stay for all shapes and sizes of organizations.

Of course, that’s not to say a few bumps remain. This is particularly true when it comes to network connectivity and data security.

Today more than ever, almost every organization has remote users and third parties who need to be able to connect to cloud or on-premises applications from wherever they are – the airport to the home office to the local coffee shop.

Unfortunately, traditional approaches like virtual private networks (VPNs) for remote users rely upon complex, expensive and less-than-secure network-to-network approaches that are obsolete for the new IT reality of hybrid and multi-cloud. They create too large of an attack surface.

One need only to read today’s news to validate this fact. So, what is the solution? The answer is a new and reliable approach to networking connectivity – the Software Defined Perimeter (SDP).

This approach enables you to build a secure Software-Defined Perimeter and use Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) tunnels to seamlessly connect all your applications, servers, IoT devices, and users behind any symmetric NAT to any full cone NAT: without having to reconfigure networks or set up complicated VPNs.

While SDP solutions in general are able to overcome the security risks inherent in conventional networking connectivity approaches – like VPNs – there are differences across vendors. Here is a check-off list of the ideal features and functionality that can be used when evaluating various SDP offerings:

  • Micro-perimeters – Application-level micro-tunnels give network admins the ability to deep segment by application, not by network. Limits remote users to fine-grained access to specific services. Eliminates lateral network attacks
  • Discreet invisibility – Randomly generated non-standard UDP ports for dynamic on-demand micro-tunnel communications. Servers are cloaked and secured with no open ports. Virtually eliminates network attack surfaces
  • Multi-cloud secure – Enables secure communications ‘from any host, to any host, anywhere’ with application-level DTLS encrypted micro-tunnels and Public Key Authentication. Scales across environments to build a secure hybrid/multi-cloud distributed application infrastructure. No cloud vendor lock-in
  • Smart high availability – Dynamic movement of micro-tunnel gateways and application workloads with self-healing automatic fault detection and failover. The entire application infrastructure is ‘always-secure and always-on’
  • Lightweight software – Just install on any host and connect. No appliances to deploy, configure or maintain

SDP also delivers sound business benefits and return on investment (ROI). SDP enables cost avoidance. Traditional networking tools for multi-site connectivity can be complex and expensive to maintain-especially for the cloud.

Since SDP is an unVPN solution, it doesn’t require dedicated VPN appliances, and for cloud connectivity there is no requirement to pay cloud vendors an hourly VPN fee to allow clients to connect. Costly direct links, dark fiber and VPNs can be phased out for even more savings.

SDP also enables the highest performance. With no intermediate brokers, tunnels are direct-resulting in superior performance. Gateways can be configured on any commodity hardware allowing the user to add or remove resources to meet optimal speeds. Tunnels can also be made redundant and highly available with built-in failovers all without requiring DNS resolution.

And, SDP could not have come at a better time. With trends like the Great Resignation (aka, the Big Quit) and prevailing research – such as that from Harvard Business School – continuing to affirm that people who spend most of their time working from home perform best, it is clear that remote work is here to stay.

About Don Boxley

Don Boxley Jr is a DH2i Co-founder and CEO. He has more than 20 years in management positions for leading technology companies. Boxley earned his MBA from the Johnson School of Management, Cornell University.

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