VPNs: which is best for Hybrid Connectivity

Teams Zoom Meet Vpn Sdwan Ztna Speed TestMany managers or those in leadership positions increasingly find they are presiding over a workforce that expects a much more flexible working model. There was already a trend towards more flexible working arrangements before the pandemic forced remote working for many people who didn't have to be physically present to do their job. 

Experience from this forced experiment in remote working over the last few years has shown that for many roles and people, remote working is not only feasible but for many, it is desirable. Data indicates that some people loved working from home but also that others did not. Many workers now expect to be able to work remotely at least some of the time. They are looking to use a flexible hybrid working model, with some time in the office and some time working remotely. Industry analysts expect the number of people working in a hybrid manner to increase this year. Gartner published a study in March 2023 that predicts that 39% of all knowledge workers will work in a hybrid way by the end of the year

In addition, multiple surveys show that many knowledge workers would quit their current jobs if hybrid working isn’t allowed. Organizations' leadership teams need to adapt their technology and HR practices to operate within the new hybrid working reality. 

A Problem with the Shift to Hybrid

The increase in remote work that comes with the hybrid model means increased use of tools like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, GoTo Meeting, and Cisco Webex. There has also been an associated increase in the use of public cloud productivity platforms like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, as well as SaaS apps like Salesforce and others. 

This shift means there is more use of video apps so colleagues can have planned and ad hoc meetings during their working days. This places a high demand on the networking connectivity that each worker has at their remote location and in any offices with staff who need to participate in meetings. 

A new lexicon in business speech has emerged to cover the issues that often arise when groups of workers are using a video communications tool. We've all heard the phrase, "You're breaking up." or similar, and seen the pixelated video that can often result due to network latency issues, or even just trying to do too much on a network connection. The result is that video halts, audio drops, time is lost, and productivity takes a hit. Plus, the poor quality of the experience and the frustration of trying to communicate this way is stressful. 

Current network and connectivity technologies such as SDWAN, VPN, and ZTNA were not designed for a landscape where over a third of people's connections to networks and apps are from outside of the office. That's not to denigrate those technologies. They have a role in the overall technical and cybersecurity landscape and strategy that every organization must operate. But a new approach to supporting remote staff connectivity is required to deliver hybrid working successfully.

What a New Approach Needs to Deliver

Successfully delivering the technology that supports the hybrid workplace requires a solution developed with this working method in mind. The solution needs to have the following:

  • Quality of experience (QoE) and maximum productivity regardless of where the user works. It should be invisible and seamless to all users.
  • Secure access to multiple cloud platforms, apps, and data centers. 
  • Deliver comprehensive visibility for the CIO and CISO, offering easy regulatory compliance, actionable alerting & analytics, and troubleshooting in real-time or after the event.
  • An integrated enterprise-class platform, available as a service without infrastructure deployment by any organization using it
  • Scalable to allow adding additional people and functionality as required.
  • Enhanced endpoint security via modern cryptography, authentication, and Moving Target Defense (MTD) to help thwart cyber attackers.

Cloudbrink exists to deliver on these requirements and provide the service platform that makes a hybrid worker's collaboration experience as close as possible to being in the office with their colleagues.

Cloudbrink’s New Approach Delivers for Hybrid Workers

For IT and business leaders whose remote employees are unable to be fully productive due to inconsistent network performance, Cloudbrink's Hybrid Access as a Service (HAaaS) is a high-performance zero-trust access service that delivers a lightning-fast, in-office experience to the modern hybrid workforce anywhere. Unlike traditional ZTNA and VPN solutions that trade off security for user performance, frustrate employees, and slow productivity, Cloudbrink's service secures user connections and solves the end-to-end performance issues that other solutions fail to address. Download our CxOs Guide to Hybrid Work to read a non-technical overview of delivering collaboration services to hybrid workers.

Cloudbrink HAaaS is a software-only solution that turns any internet connection into a secure and QoE-enabled tool that's invisible to end users. HAaaS replaces legacy VPN and SDWAN connectivity architectures and uses machine learning-based connectors deployed across multiple cloud regions to monitor local and regional connectivity and route packets for video conferencing and other apps over the best network route available at the time. The route taken will always be the fastest, e the one best suited at any time to deliver the optimal QoE for the end user. The solution architecture uses commercial access networks and multiple cloud providers and comprises three components — a Brink App, Brink FAST Edge, and Brink Connector. How they interact is shown schematically in the following diagram.

The Brink Protocol provides the core of how these three components communicate. You can read a technical solution brief on the protocol and how the components fit together in our The New Office is Anywhere download (ref 3). HAaaS builds on changes that were already underway in enterprise usage patterns, including cloud adoption, SaaS consumption, and multi-cloud. But it moves on from a world where these technologies were designed with office workers in mind, extending them to reflect the new hybrid reality most organizations now face.

Learn More

HAaaS will revolutionize how your remote workers communicate. It'll increase productivity, boost security, and make it easier for managers to attract and retain the workforce they need now and into the future by enabling the working patterns that people are demanding. Find out more on our website, and use our contact form to reach out and start a conversation about how Cloudbrink can help you deliver for your hybrid teams.

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