Virtual Network Operators Address Micro-Multinationals
Micro-multinationals base their headquarters in the U.S. and efficiently leverage key resources around the globe for specific talents and tasks, such as development in India and manufacturing in China.
Since multinationals are geographically and nationally diverse, a key driver in making them efficient and effective is the choice of the communication method used to seamlessly link their various locations together. Thus one of the first things on their to-do lists is to design and implement an effective and secure network that can do everything from sharing data and sending emails to leveraging the network for VoIP calls or video conferencing.
Executing a global networking solution requires in-depth knowledge of access options in a broad range of locations, the ability to troubleshoot and service these locations, and the flexibility to connect offices in Asia-Pac, South America, Europe, and the U.S. Evaluating the network, from country coverage to access options, security integration, and pricing could make for a very lengthy selection and implementation process. To help facilitate and expedite this process, a Virtual Network Operator (VNO) provides end-to-end managed services, working with network providers around the world that offer best-of-breed last-mile infrastructure and implementing end-to-end QoS consistency. These VNOs can assess and plan for a complete, secure, and flexible network solution that is able to grow with the needs of micro-multinationals. By working closely with these organizations from a global network implementation perspective, a VNO is ideally positioned to help guide them through the maze of network performance, access, redundancy, and design options.
Security and reliability of the network infrastructure are also important factors for micro-multinationals. Because these organizations have “departments” scattered around the globe, they need to have a WAN that acts very similarly to a LAN, with secure networking services such as network VPNs or MPLS solutions augmented by firewalls and Intrusion Prevention Services (IPS). In addition, companies will likely need to securely integrate some employees who need to access this network from remote locations as they travel or work from home. As organizations grow, they might leverage more real-time data applications, video conferencing, and VoIP services to cut costs. All these services need the same secure network infrastructure with the ability to grow to meet demand and expand to add new types of services.
Micro-multinationals have a broad choice of network solutions and solution providers in the market today. Selecting the right alternative requires a strategic and a consultative planning approach by organizations and their network providers.
As part of consultative planning, the network provider should outline – and follow – key networking criteria to deliver a complete, secure and reliable solution.
In evaluating network options, it is important for the company to review the nuances of each network by location and determine how critical each site is to the overall corporation. Both the types of applications and the number of people at each location are factors that will determine the bandwidth type, speed, and upgradeability as well as future growth opportunities. Knowing these things will allow the network provider to design the network with the optimal redundancy or fail-over required in the event the primary connection goes down. Another factor, one that is often overlooked, is the need for security solutions to augment the overall network and keep viruses and unwanted DDOS attacks from affecting or infecting traffic flow.
Going through these questions in detail allows micro-multinationals to design and negotiate comprehensive bundled solutions with a provider for a competitive price point. In addition to evaluating their current environment, micro-multinationals need to consider their growth potential; they tend to grow rapidly and generally do not have or want to have staff to focus on managing their networked locations. Therefore, deciding on a fully managed solution is a strategic decision that can save organizations countless hours per day and ensure that network performance reaches optimal potential. When selecting a managed solution, having visibility into and being able to monitor the network environment should be part of the comprehensive solution.
Managed Services or Do-It-Yourself?
A managed solution provides key advantages over the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) model. The managed model can alleviate key pain-points such as the design, implementation, ongoing management, and growth of the network solution. Because there are so many factors to consider in building and maintaining a high-performance network, an organization often employs dedicated staff to deal with various issues that come up during implementation and management. This team must determine and coordinate installation times with an on-site contact who may be 15 time zones away, perform troubleshooting in the middle of the night, and also overcome possible language barriers. Micro-multinationals need to consider all of these things when choosing a provider.
A VNO has developed best practices to help micro-multinationals with their specific networking needs and specializes in providing global network and security solutions to many of these fast-growing companies. The VNO model embraces the fact that no single carrier network infrastructure can serve all locations while providing the best price and performance around the world. While other carriers try to build out infrastructure to cover more locations, the VNO model aggregates and integrates the best access and backbone infrastructures around the world. In addition, the VNO integration model not only provides broad reach but also leverages its infrastructure to select primary and alternate routes to allow for failover of the traffic.
VNOs use a consultative approach that allows them to work with micro-multinationals to select the appropriate network solution for the needs of a specific office location. For example, a customer can choose to use DSL at some of its remote sales offices, an E1 line at larger offices, and Ethernet access at manufacturing facilities that require a lot more bandwidth. Unlike VNOs, most of these customers have little or no time to research various network design options, select access providers, develop and negotiate contracts, and ensure all the locations can reach each other around the world. The VNO will also relieve the customer of the task of establishing local onsite contacts and following up with them when issues arise. Since micro-multinationals typically staff their organizations to focus on their business and not to manage their networks, they are open to having a network provider manage all of their networking and management needs around the world and provide a single comprehensive bill for all solutions and services.
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