It’s easy to recognize the signs that a growing company needs to upgrade its office. There’s not a single desk to spare, the kitchen suddenly seems crowded, and conference rooms become hot commodities. Unlike physical space, however, the signs that legacy networking solutions are struggling to meet bandwidth demands can be more subtle.
According to AT&T Business, symptoms like an outdated router or stalling connection will eventually lead to the tipping point—when network productivity has slowed or, worse, stopped completely. Here, we outline the signals to watch and the proactive solutions to deploy when your midsize business is ready to expand.
Three signs it’s time to consider network virtualization
What are the biggest indicators that your midsize company is approaching the tipping point and ready for the next stage of growth? These three signals are early warnings it’s time to reevaluate your networking system:
🔍 Your business has run off the same router for seven years.
Most network hardware appliances have a life cycle of about five to seven years, representing a hidden and recurring expense. The fluid, dynamic nature of SD-WAN (software-defined wide area networking) negates the need for continuous and costly hardware upgrades; a software-first approach ensures businesses can keep up with shifting network demands and technology trends as your team’s employee count and device requirements grow.
🔍 Your IT team is overwhelmed by mounting bandwidth demands and security concerns.
Technical hiccups like stalling connections, clunky connectivity for remote employees, and security loopholes are hindrances that mid-market companies simply can’t afford at a pivotal point in their growth process. These obstacles are also damaging to productivity—no employee operates efficiently in a constant state of buffering.
🔍 Your company leadership is unsure how your current midsize tech stack will evolve over the next six months.
Business needs for emerging technologies such as IoT, analytics, and edge computing are difficult to project. A flexible network architecture enables businesses to experiment and scale their solutions with multiple devices, network types, applications, APIs, and cloud environments without redesigning their core platforms.
Three steps to modernize your network
If the above symptoms sound familiar, it may be time to upgrade to the network of the future. AT&T Business has an intelligent, edge-to-edge approach to networking that gives companies comprehensive control over all running applications. It also supports cloud migration and robust data storage and allows businesses to move away from multiple vendors toward a single, hosted solution.
For a smooth migration to a modernized network, midsize organizations need to develop a strategic vision and long-term plan. AT&T Business suggests the following steps to introduce a virtualized network:
💻 Perform an audit of your existing system.
Assess pain points, pinpoint and prioritize critical applications, and identify “musts” and “nice to haves” for the upgrade. A thorough solution blueprint is essential for determining what apps and traffic will utilize which connectivity options.
💻 Decide whether to migrate networks gradually, all at once, or to use a hybrid system.
It’s worth considering implementing software-defined solutions across your business while maintaining its existing infrastructure for mission-critical operations. Seamless operational handoffs and clear communication in the implementation process help ensure connectivity changes don’t pose security threats.
💻 Balance in-house and external resources.
It’s critical to find a trusted third-party provider that can guide a business through complex, transformative initiatives to modernize network infrastructure.
In a constantly evolving technology landscape, flexibility equals competitive advantage. Midsize businesses in growth mode can’t afford to let a lagging network drag down productivity or obstruct output and should instead use this tipping point to propel their growth to the next level. While SD-WAN is the capstone of forward-looking software-centric networks, AT&T Business has other efficiency-boosting solutions in their Internet and Networking portfolio that provide stronger application, performance, and reliability. Networking should be simple and customizable for any company, and with the speed and scalability of SD-WAN, it can be.