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As we enter the last quarter of 2020 and begin the inevitable Q4 reflection period, the enormity of the changes 2020 ushered in is difficult to ignore: Most workforces are now remote and many day-to-day activities are reliant on digital technology. A recent study showed a 97 percent skyrocket in the number of U.S. employees who traditionally worked in an office but have now transitioned to working remotely. This unprecedented increase in remote workers places businesses under major stress when it comes to ensuring the same connectivity, latency, security, and ability to withstand increased traffic are all maintained while their workforce is remote.
Most companies have realized they must reckon with the new demands that accompany these changing business norms. While there are many strategies companies can implement to overcome these new challenges, one that supports them all is burstable bandwidth.
Burstable bandwidth provides a base of sustained bandwidth, which is set to be able to handle an average day of traffic, but also contains a built-in method in which an open network port is leveraged to provide additional bandwidth when needed. This solution allows for companies to instantly handle any strain on bandwidth at any time, such as a short-term drastic spike in traffic.
Many businesses are turning to technologies such as VPNs and migrating their workload to the cloud to be able to compensate for their employees’ technical disadvantages while working remotely – burstable bandwidth brings many benefits that enable businesses to roll out these technologies more efficiently and with greater simplicity.
To combat these challenges, businesses are increasingly using VPNs. A VPN (virtual private network) allows a private network to be extended across a public network. This enables users to send and receive data across public networks in the same fashion as if their devices were directly connected to the private network. It has been reported that VPN usage in the U.S. has increased by 124 percent per week since the pandemic began. A VPN allows for businesses to tackle the issue of security and access; however, the VPN is still reliant on the employee’s chosen network to deliver these without the issue of latency. This is where burstable bandwidth plays a key role.
Having a burstable bandwidth plan allows for companies to compensate for any issues an employee’s network may bring. Once connected to the company’s VPN, the burstable bandwidth can make up for an employee’s possibly slow connectivity by increasing the bandwidth and allowing an easier flow of data between the point of access to the VPN and the source of the private network.
Burstable bandwidth can also allow for security measures to be implemented without increasing the latency. Allowing easier flow of data between the employee’s device and the private network means that security tools installed into the network can work effectively without clogging up the bandwidth and slowing down operations.
Cloud migration has also played a major role in the average workforce during the pandemic, with many companies who once utilized physical storage turning to the cloud to ensure that all data is accessible during the surge of remote workers. In fact, a recent report showed that 87 percent of IT decision makers cite the coronavirus as the reason cloud migration is being accelerated, and 75 percent of IT decision makers believe that 95 percent of workloads will be in the cloud within the next five years.
Burstable bandwidth enables companies to make the transition to the cloud without fear of latency issues or connectivity problems. The ability to garner a boost in bandwidth during high-traffic periods, such as migrating entire databases to a cloud platform, means that companies can do so without the fear of negatively affecting the efficiency of their employees.
Additionally, burstable bandwidth greatly benefits the retail industry, which has arguably seen the most change since the pandemic started. Recent data from McKinsey shows that the growing trend of online shopping will only continue to increase as consumers are likely to keep the behaviors they’ve adopted amid stay-at-home orders. As we approach the holiday season, retailers are preparing for an altered peak season due to the pandemic. Several major retailers have already committed to limiting their Black Friday sales to online only.
Having the tools to increase the bandwidth capability is key to a retailer’s success during this unique holiday season. In past years, we have seen many retailers experience technical difficulties during peak times such Black Friday and Christmas sales, but they mostly had the benefit of still utilizing their brick-and-mortar locations. This may not be the case this year. Therefore, ensuring that there is enough bandwidth available to handle the unprecedented increase of online shoppers – and still operate both the necessary security measures and new technologies to boost the user experience – is imperative.
The last quarter of 2020 will significantly test the technical abilities that many companies, not just retail organizations, have put in place. The holiday season will see more employees travel farther away from their place of work to be with family, which will in turn change the connectivity and security of the devices that employees may be using. Q4 of 2020 also brings a rush to get everything migrated to the cloud as the year comes to an end and we take the necessary steps to prepare for 2021. Burstable bandwidth is a solution that any company having to tackle either of these should have in their arsenal. The ability to increase bandwidth when needed and provide employees with the necessary digital tools to work efficiently is key to a company’s continued success during this time.