As we (thankfully) close the books on 2021, it’s time to think about how best to promote business growth in the new year. In this post, we offer up five battled-tested network technologies and strategies that can bring more speed and agility to most small- or medium-sized businesses (SMB), perhaps even while lowering costs.
Consider them your IT New Year’s resolutions.
1. Investigate Wi-Fi 6
Wi-Fi networks are now business-critical, with employees and customers alike expecting fast, reliable connections wherever they are – and from whatever device they’re using. That’s the challenge Wi-Fi 6 is designed to address.
Originally known as 802.11ax, Wi-Fi 6 includes features that both reduce contention for bandwidth among devices and allow for up to eight devices to transmit simultaneously, each on a dedicated channel. It supports speeds up to 10G bps (thanks to 1024 QAM) and reduces congestion by allowing inactive devices to remain inactive for longer vs. previous iterations of 802.11. Wi-Fi 6 compatible access points enable networks to handle varying types of traffic more efficiently – from streaming HD video to shorter packets for voice and data – without sacrificing performance for any of them.
2. Explore IoT technology
Since W-Fi 6 compatible networking technology reduces competition for bandwidth, it has become increasingly critical to support both IoT applications and multiple high-bandwidth devices on a single network.
IoT applications that apply to SMBs include perimeter cameras and asset control systems to help detect and prevent building intrusions and resulting losses. Other use cases include sensors for inventory and asset tracking.
3. Shore up cyber security defenses
As we become more connected via IoT devices and other technologies, however, we also open up to new cyber threats. While a proper security architecture includes many elements, a good place to start is with the concept of Zero Trust. As its name implies, Zero Trust assumes all network users and devices are hostile and must be thoroughly vetted before being allowed to join the network and access business resources.
The good news is many of the crucial Zero Trust elements can be found in the same equipment that enables network access. Aruba wireless access points (APs), for example, support traditional network segmentation strategies and access control lists along with continuous monitoring and enforcement of security policies. But they also provide a path forward to a true Zero Trust security model as business needs evolve.
4. Enable scalability
Your company is likely expecting growth in 2022, so your network and other IT infrastructure will have to scale accordingly. That requires planning, whether it’s the ability to add capacity to your wired or wireless networks (or both), expand compute and storage capacity, or scale up your security defenses. Keeping scalability in mind as you make your hardware and software investments will help you seamlessly meet demand.
5. Turn to the cloud
The good news is SMBs don’t have to go it alone to implement many of these technologies. Cloud-managed network services make it simple for SMBs to meet their exact requirements with respect to scale, security, connectivity levels and more, even as needs change.
Cloud-based network management solutions help streamline IT workflows as well as simplify deployment, troubleshooting, analysis, and reporting. In short, cloud services enable SMB IT teams to reduce the time they spend on day-to-day network operations so they have more time for business-critical growth initiatives. In many cases, you’ll also save money versus trying to deliver the same service with in-house IT staff, equipment, and software.
To learn more about technologies that can set your business up for a productive, successful 2022, visit Aruba’s network solutions for growing SMBs.
Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.