Creating a Consistent User Experience Across the Network

Consistent quality of experience is key. Are you providing the best experience for users and IT, no matter where applications reside?

abstract people silhouettes against glass picture id1282596364
iStock

By: Tom Hollingsworth, Networking Expert.

Crucial to any user experience is consistency. After all, users can be fickle. They want things now. They might even want it to be fun, but more importantly, they require a consistent experience. Between increased speed or consistency, users most always pick consistency. No matter where they log in or on what device they happen to be using, especially when it comes to real-time communications experiences on an app, they want the same treatment time and time again. It’s crucial to their success.

That consistent experience requirement also extends to aspects they may not see or even realize is vital to the capabilities they rely upon. Chief among them is security policy. Policy enforcement should not be predicated or determined by whether they are using a company-issued laptop inside the proverbial corporate firewall or not.

The past two years have shown us that employees will work from anywhere and at any time, initially by necessity while dealing with the global pandemic. Now, where they decide to work is often by choice as they have grown accustomed to flexible working styles. This has forced IT to think and act critically about how security policies are defined and deployed. Users don’t want to be forced to connect to VPN each instance they are outside the secure confines of the corporate office.

Managing the Hybrid Work Experience

Aruba, a Hewlett-Packard Enterprise company, knows these challenges well. As a leader in wireless technology, they were a pioneer in accommodating the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement. That leadership has been invaluable in helping create platforms that can provide consistent experiences users demand and have grown to expect in their work lives as the nature of work has evolved.

Of course, the world today has changed dramatically since we all first heard the term COVID-19. Remote work is no longer a special case or perk (e.g., work-from-home Fridays) here and there. Hybrid environments are the norm and business leaders have had to negotiate and make tough decisions about which workers must stay on the corporate campus (or who may want to stay on campus) on a permanent basis, which can have flexible work environments, and which can choose to work completely remote. Beyond the human resources and corporate culture considerations, operations must also think about traditional perimeter security.

Today, what was defined as the perimeter is now defined as the edge—which is where users live, work, and even play. Again, the pandemic has drastically altered our perception of the edge—the perimeter now extends well beyond the corporate office walls and offsite data centers to encompass anywhere people work, whether that’s a coffee shop, the home office, or a child’s football practice. Those endpoint devices are connecting to the corporate network on wide-open public Wi-Fi or cellular hot spots on consumer or prosumer gear that they also bring into the campus environment. How do we secure those edges while still providing a high-quality experience for users?

Aruba EdgeConnect: The Unifying Solution

Aruba has the software-defined wide area (SD-WAN) connectivity solution that can handle the above scenarios via EdgeConnect. This group of technologies includes a number of platforms that can provide the consistency required to keep users productive and their devices healthy no matter where they choose to work.

For larger organizations, EdgeConnect Enterprise empowers users to connect their devices to the main enterprise locations via full-featured SD-WAN appliances that can ensure any remote office has the same consistent performance and reliability as if they are on site.

For those in remote satellite offices or who work permanently from home, Aruba has thought of that too with EdgeConnect Microbranch. Microbranch gives users the ability to install an Aruba Remote Access Point (RAP) or Instant Access Point (IAP) in their remote location and have a consistent experience delivered securely and safely through Aruba SD-Branch. Utilizing ClearPass for identity and role-based policy enforcement means IT can configure all users for full productivity, just like they are on campus while also ensuring these remote entities don't negatively impact the security posture of the entire organization. With just a single hardware access point that easily fits atop a typical work desk, the time and hardware investment is minimal while providing an enhanced – and safer – experience for all.

For Those on the Go – EdgeConnect Mobile

Should those remote users decide to take their work elsewhere, such as to the airport while they await a flight to visit the corporate office, Aruba has them covered with EdgeConnect Mobile, formerly known as the VIA client. This software solution can be installed on laptops, tablets, and mobile phones to ensure corporate policies reach the user and their myriad devices no matter where they are located. Because of the integration it has with all the other parts of the EdgeConnect lineup, operations teams can manage it all via a central location.

A Consistent Experience at the Edge

By unifying its SD-WAN solutions in a way that is seamless and consistent for users, Aruba EdgeConnect provides the pathway for secure policy enforcement for any edge environment, whether that is at home, on campus, or anywhere else users get work done. Productivity is no longer defined by the perimeter. Deploying an advanced SD-WAN solution like EdgeConnect provides the consistent experience for the user without sacrificing security policy.

For more on how Aruba EdgeConnect can help create a consistent but secure experience no matter where business is conducted, visit.

 

Related:

Copyright © 2022 IDG Communications, Inc.