Network ArchitectureProvisioning for the future isn’t a foreign concept to those in the IT industry. But in a marketplace whose primary feature is rapid change, it’s often difficult to be able to predict with any certainty what the future will bring. Information technology is at the forefront of business, not only because of the rate at which new technology is being developed, but also because of the extent to which technology has permeated every facet of life. So, the challenge for many IT businesses of today is, increasingly, to manage systems that are a part of people’s everyday lives as much as their business lives.

Today’s network architecture will almost certainly be obsolete in the next few years, and it’s the responsibility of the proactive IT manager to keep ahead of the curve and adapt to industry changes as they happen. Here are some ways in which the network architecture of the future may differ from that of today:

Think Cloud, Think Mobile

The proliferation of smart devices throughout our private and professional lives means that in addition to a personal computer, each member of your staff is likely to bring at least one other bandwidth-hungry accessory into the office. Understanding the data requirements of your staff is paramount – you don’t want your resources being wasted on 100 instances of Candy Crush Saga, but you’ll want to budget some data for the essentials. Remember that constant connectivity is a must in a 21st century business, and your staff are no exception to this rule.

Another major change that has impacted network architecture in the past few years is cloud-based storage solutions. For professional and private use, cloud storage is changing the way people view their data. Seeing your network as something that exists within the confines of your company’s four walls is outdated – the network of the future is always on, and available from anywhere.

Choose the right fit

Do some research on how remote connections affect your resources, and determine whether it makes more sense to outsource your networking needs to a cloud services provider. Depending on your bandwidth demand, a physical network may add needless overhead and risk to your business. Additionally, if there are many mobile devices connected to your network, you may need to review your mobile platform strategy and adjust it accordingly.

A good compromise to consider is a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) solution – a category of cloud computing services that allows businesses to develop and manage their own web applications without the complexity usually involved in app development. It’s possible to outsource the network, servers and storage to a PaaS provider, freeing up valuable time for your staff.

Technology should be your business

Having different goals for technology and business is a 20th century malady. The businesses of the 2010’s should have a unified strategy that benefits technology and business targets. Solid network architecture can make a huge difference to your productivity, so your business strategy should be informed by your technology strategy and vice versa. As the world moves towards being reliant on big data, your server growth will be a natural indicator of business growth – and it’s important to understand that you’ll need to expand your office in tandem with your server size.

Don’t be anti-social

Another important paradigm shift for business owners and managers will be in how social media is perceived in the workplace. Though you might balk at the idea of endorsing in-office Facebook time, social media has become an inescapable part of how we communicate. Social media can be a powerful business asset in the right hands, and it’s up to you to decide whether it cripples or complements your workforce. You can’t expect your staff to cut ties with everyone in the outside world once they enter the office, so consider allowing your staff to use social media during work hours as long as they can make it benefit your organisation.

Iris Networking Systems offers a wide range of monitoring and management suites. Apply for a free copy of our Network Manager’s Guide to a Stable and Highly Available Network today to find out how you can start future-proofing your business.

Image Credit: Pin Stripe Eco