September 1, 2009 Bandwidth, Network Connections “Working at home stinks – The network is so slow!” “Why does our CRM keep locking up?” “Your Web Conference is three slides behind what you’re talking about!” If any of these statements sound familiar, you may be sharing in the common “WAN Woes” many companies experience. Ever-expanding remote workforces, increased demand for wireless network access and collaborative technologies like Web conferencing, video-based services and application sharing has significantly increased the amount of bandwidth employees need to remain effective and productive. Unfortunately, the simple truth for many businesses is that their Wide Area Network (WAN) isn’t adequately equipped to handle the additional strain and traffic these applications demand. The result is that users’ productivity suffers because the mission-critical applications they depend on run too slowly. At ETA, we’ve helped thousands of companies identify and solve their “WAN Woes”. And though each company is different, we typically find the reasons WANs underperform fall into three primary categories: Remote workforce demand, convergence, and security. Remote Workforce Demand In years past, email and calendaring applications topped the list for applications accessed remotely. But recently, remote user needs have drastically changed. Now, says Forrester Research, the majority of remote workers are accessing mission-critical applications, such as CRM and ERP systems, on laptops and mobile devices far from the office. This raises the stakes for IT departments offering remote access. Remote users demand high-performance access to their mission-critical applications—the same performance they’d get if they “plugged in” at the office. When a company’s WAN isn’t properly configured to account for the needs of its remote users and deliver the speed they require, they miss out on a critical opportunity for enhanced productivity and faster customer response times. Convergence One prevalent and growing challenge for today’s WANs is convergence: The incorporation of voice and video services into IP (Internet Protocol) networks. This is because Voice over IP (VoIP) is the dominant technology in today’s business communications marketplace, and more companies are using video for everything from training to sales promotions to Webinars. In addition, voice and video require low latency and reliable network service – exactly where many WANs fall short. Because video is a huge bandwidth hog on its own, this can be a recipe for disaster. WAN configurations designed to handle the basic client-server data connections of five years ago often do a poor job addressing voice and video applications, because the data is already highly compressed. Layering on additional compression only leads to client-side delays as the network infrastructure burns resources trying to shrink data that can’t be made any smaller. Security If WAN configurations aren’t integrated with security solutions, companies often must make a choice: Accelerate voice, data and video traffic or secure it. Typically they choose the latter out of necessity, and application performance suffers. However, companies that deploy WAN solutions with integrated security features don’t have to sacrifice performance. In fact, building security into a WAN solution makes perfect sense. To accelerate traffic, a WAN appliance is already performing the traffic analysis and packet inspection required for making intelligent, policy-based decisions about threats and inappropriate traffic. When integrated into the WAN, security controls create little overhead and, by eliminating elicit traffic, can improve application performance. ETA’s Network Security PoweredUp!™ solution combines that logic, along with several other innovative optimization technologies, to help significantly boost the speed and performance of your company’s remotely accessed and Web-based mission-critical applications. Our award-winning, Enterprise-grade technology combines these state-of-the-art, customizable WAN Optimization features, comprehensive threat (virus, Trojan, malware, spyware, etc.) protection and Web/content filtering all in one solution. Best of all, because we manage the service for you, there’s no expensive equipment to purchase, maintain, or upgrade or staff needed for administration – That’s on ETA. But it’s not just technology protecting you – Our team of experts helps keep you out of harm’s way by proactively identifying “yellow flags” in your key networking statistics to wipe out potential threats before they can cause damage.