May 07, 2024 | 5 min read
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Global network management is getting more complicated, so what can you do?

Sander Barens

Chief Product Officer

The Internet is vital to conducting business in every way. So much so that everyone from the C-suite down takes the Internet's uses in their day-to-day roles for granted. There are expectations of top performance without acknowledgement of what goes into global network management to ensure that performance. Technology leaders are tasked with ensuring this exceptional network performance. And it’s not an easy task at the best of times!

Where are the common challenges of global network management for enterprise tech leaders?

Firstly, the process of global network management is complex to say the least and it’s rarely static.

On top of optimizing performance and transforming to remain competitive, what do you do if you acquire a company via a merger or acquisition? They may have an entirely different infrastructure to rest of your business. Or they may have classic networks running on IPSec and MPLS for example. This means you’re presented with the challenge of breaking apart the network (divestment) or integrating it with your wider network.

Using the Global Internet as your backbone, the cloud, or SD-WAN/SASE is one way to make the above easier as they provide a new level of flexibility.

However, you’re still tasked with managing multiple (and increasing) Internet Service Providers with different languages, time-zone, invoices/currencies, support processes, technologies etc. which make the whole process more and more convoluted.

Add in expansion into new regions and the different compliance and regulation requirements, a growing portfolio of Internet Providers all billing in different currencies or languages, and it starts to get complicated as well as time and resource consuming.

These problems can be divided into:

  • Who are you Internet Providers?
  • What are the unique connectivity needs of each of your locations?
  • Where does your business need to go next?

To tackle these network challenges, enterprise technology leaders have two choices:

  1. Manage Internet connectivity on their own
  2. Work with a Managed Service Provider to do all the heavy lifting

I’ll explore what goes into managing the who, the what, and the where of enterprise Internet on your own or with an experienced network Managed Service Provider (MSP), so you can make informed choices about making managing your global network management.

Managing different Internet Services Providers on your own

In a Do It Yourself (DIY) approach for a multinational company, you need to put in the effort when it comes to managing your different Internet Service Providers. You will need to:

  1. 1. Research each of your ISPs thoroughly: Understanding each of your ISPs, if they are reliable in the region or if they have a poor reputation. Seeking testimonials from other customers is a great way to do this.
  2. 2. Understand your ISPs networks: You need to know how the ISP networks are connected to the national, regional and Global Internet networks and how this will impact your cloud applications and WAN technology.
  3. 3. Know what their customer service is like: Knowing what their average response time is important. Particularly in the event of a connectivity outage that can disrupt critical business operations. The timeframe that they respond in has a direct correlation to how quickly you can get your business up and running again in.
  4. 4. Outline their partner ecosystem: You should know who exactly you’re working with. You need to know if there are changes in an ISP’s key partnerships. Especially if a replacement partner is defined by lower-cost, lower-quality or slower traffic.

Then there’s managing the SLAs, billing, currency differences, different language barriers etc. Working with a managed service provider (MSP) can make this significantly easier as they can:

  • Manage and communicate with all of your different ISPs
  • Bring all your service agreements under one master services agreement
  • Streamline your processes by being the point of contact when anything happens

Navigating the complexities of your own network needs

Depending on the needs of your company as a whole and the resources available to your different sites and locations, you may have a few different types of network in operation. From LANs, PANs, WLANs,  WANs or VPNs – that’s a lot of choices to make based on purpose, cost, availability, scalability…

You may have inherited these networks or be tasked with (re)designing them to better suit the needs of your business now or in the future. And that comes with a host of challenges and considerations too when you DIY.

If you do it yourself, you need to:

  1. Assess the current state of your network: Understand the lay of the land when it comes to your network. Where are its strengths and weaknesses? Where does most of your data and bandwidth go? What cloud applications are plugged in? How does it perform during Business As Usual? etc.
  2. Establish visibility into your network infrastructure down to site level: You need to find a means to get real-time performance insights. There are many tools available to help you do this. Choose one that will plug into your existing tech stack easily without further muddying the waters.
  3. Understand your business needs now and in the future: Having a roadmap of how your business intends to achieve its goals is important when managing, redesigning or scaling your network on your own.
  4. Map the network and your critical systems: Having a visual of your network topology will help you see the wood for the trees to identify areas that can be streamlined. Knowing what critical systems make up your network, like core switch and document servers, routers, distribution switched, firewalls, etc. will also help you see the full picture of your network.
  5. Assess your network perimeter: Managing your network isn’t just about what goes on within the network. You should have a clear picture of activity at the perimeter and what traffic flows in and out of your network. So you understand how well your firewalls or Internet filters perform.
  6. Audit your licenses, certificates, and compliance standards: You need to know if any of your software licenses are out of date or are due for renewal. There can be steep prices for using software without a valid license, or it can even be a compliance risk.  
  7. Assess your existing equipment: Sometimes patches aren’t enough and your network equipment will start to show its age. Performance can slow, and you even risk losing compatibility with future hard and software.

However, if you work with an MSP like Expereo, we manage all of this for you.

Our Intelligent Internet platform, expereoOne, lets you keep an eye on the health of your entire network estate. All while we make proactive upgrades and optimizations. That means you can focus on strategic activities while we take care of the labor-intensive activities around ensuring your have a fit-for-purpose and future-proof network.

Connectivity considerations when expanding your business into new locations

Growing your business in any respect, even just opening a new branch in the same city as your headquarters, can be challenging as you may have to navigate logistical challenges with your demarcated point, cables, and ensuring your new office is as wired and connected as the other.

But when it comes to global network management in new geographic locations, you’ll be up against the following:

  • Managing local Internet Service Providers: You may have many or just a few to choose from when setting up new locations. But you’ll need to understand their pricing, capabilities, billing processes, and understand the compliance and regulatory requirements they work to.
  • Navigating remote locations: Not all areas will have the same physical infrastructure in place to support connectivity. You’ll have to consider technology diversity, rapid-fire solutions and flexible workarounds to combat this.
  • Delivery and installation of equipment: Some countries or regions will mean that international shipping will have to go through customs. This could involve specific paperwork and local language support to achieve.
  • Managing the transition period: After establishing connectivity at a new site, or even implementing a new network infrastructure (like replacing MPLS), you need to know you have the resource to manage the transition period. You need skills and experience to foresee any issues and solve them quickly, ensuring a smooth start and continuous connectivity.
  • Local, post-implementation support: Linked to our discussion of your ISPs’ customer service, you need to have a process in place if one of your locations goes down. Who will file the case, follow up, establish timelines, and communicate with leadership, etc.
  • Finding skilled talent: Supporting expansion, transformation, scaling and even just maintaining a network needs specialist knowledge and skills. You need to know you have the available in-house talent you need in the right locations.
  • Visibility of your performance: You need to have clear visibility of your entire network so you can pin point issues. That means you can resolve issues quickly, see which areas are underperforming and generally monitor the health of your network.

When you work with the right MSP, all of that gets taken care of for you. It really is that simple.

For example, Expereo has a worldwide, growing ecosystem of ISP and technology vendor partners. This means we’re able to make vendor-agnostic decisions so you get the best network to meet your needs at the best price, in any location.

Consequently, your internal teams save time and effort as our reach covers 190 countries. And we can manage any challenges or opportunities quickly and efficiently as they arise.

Visibility and control are all placed at your fingertips with our Intelligent Internet platform, expereoOne. From one pane of glass, you can:

  • See your network’s performance in real time.
  • Identify any issues.
  • Handle data and billing.

Can you see where I’m going with this? Working with a managed service provider streamlines your network, your SLAs, and allows you to concentrate on high-value activities. Leave your global network management to experts who understand your vision for your company. They can help you achieve it by intelligently optimizing your network.

In short, leave the who, what and where to us!

Enterprise Internet is hard, make it easy with Expereo

Wherever you’re based, whether you’re connecting a city office or a remote production site, we have the capabilities, partnerships, and technologies to connect your enterprise anywhere in the world.

Expereo empowers global companies to be future-ready. Meeting the business demands of today, and accelerating performance and growth for tomorrow.

Get in touch today to discuss your needs.

Sander Barens

Chief Product Officer

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