Future-proofing your network will unlock better performance

David Millar, Head of Propositions at North

Digital transformation across the public sector has significantly accelerated over the last three years, with the pandemic pushing the fast-forward button on adopting a digital-first approach. That stands too for the modernisation of networks and security infrastructure, as it is quickly being realised across public sector organisations that legacy networks are causing a barrier to efficiency and unlocking best-in-class performance.

Whilst many organisations understand the rapidness of the digital takeover and have invested in modern technology and hardware, without network transformations, this investment will not realise its full potential. This is why organisations are embarking on a complete digital transformation, placing prominence on connecting and protecting their networks at the edge.

IT teams need to consider their strategies to transform critical digital connectivity and network security to support new working models. This is primarily a result of employees working remotely or on a hybrid pattern, which creates a more widely distributed workforce and a greater risk of cyber threats. For local authorities, it is critical that the network continues to deliver data safely and at speed, with customers, employees and services depending on a stable flow of information.

Ultimately this means that government agencies must prioritise the transformation of their network and security architecture to support this change in behaviour. Most public sector organisations also need to handle data streams from Internet of Things (IoT) devices. With so much happening outside the traditional perimeter of the network, cloud-based management is the most effective and efficient solution.

Early adopters of Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) are already experiencing benefits, such as integrating key security functions including WAN optimisation and next-generation firewall (NGFW) capabilities within a single platform. Coupled with optimised cloud connectivity and simplified management, SD-WAN provides a cost-effective network solution.

The security of a network is of course critical. Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) was born as a result of network approaches and technologies simply no longer providing the levels of security and access control organisations need. SASE identifies users and devices, applies policy-based security, and delivers secure, optimised and automated access to applications and data. In short, this approach allows organisations to apply secure access no matter where their users, applications or devices are located.

Rolling out a new network relies on two critical factors; the technology and the delivery partner. Selecting a converged single vendor approach for both SD-WAN and SASE delivers additional benefits including optimised performance, improved connectivity, enhanced security and reduced costs.

Combining SD-WAN with SASE unleashes networks from legacy barriers and guarantees consistent performance and safe offsite access for users. It also offers enhanced protection from new cyber threats. The automation of security checks and centralised networks improves resource utilisation, meaning that IT teams can focus less time on fixes and more on enhancement and strategy, multiplying the value of their work.

North has delivered significant digital transformations for a wide range of local government clients including the City of York Council. In a £7 million contract, we are futureproofing the local authority with a comprehensive digital transformation that will enable schools and the council’s corporate estate to deliver faster and safer access to digital services. We are very proud to see how this is evolving and benefiting the efficiency of operations that in turn, positively impacts the local economy.

Digitalisation within the public sector is evident, and it does not show signs of slowing down. Government organisations looking to improve their performance, enhance public services, reduce costs and become more efficient need to have a resilient and future-proofed network in place.

For more information, visit : Connect and protect what matters most (edge-to-cloud.net) 


13 June 2023