By: Mohsin Shah, Channel Sales Manager at Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company
The explosion of smartphones and tablets is transforming the way we communicate, work and manage our personal lives. We stay connected everywhere, and collaborate on the go at every opportunity we get. We need the ability to access business applications at the highest speeds and quality possible – regardless of where we are or which device we are using.
The combination of mobile devices and cloud based applications is changing the way small and midsize businesses (SMBs) operate and how their employees engage with customers and interact with business processes. Forbes reported that SMBs who adopt mobile technologies are seeing double the revenue growth – and are creating up to eight times as many jobs as their less mobile-ready peers. Empowering your employees to interact seamlessly with customers and partners can help build a competitive advantage and also greatly improve productivity. In the US alone, SMBs are saving more than $67 billion USD a year using mobile applications, tablets and smart phones in day-to-day activities.
Do you find yourself smiling when you enter a restaurant, coffee shop or office and see a prominent “we’ve got Wi-Fi” information sign? I sure do! Nothing better than being able to get a solid connection with “excellent connectivity” so I can send quick emails, reliably skype into meetings and perhaps peek at Instagram. Today we live and work in a world that has become dependent on our mobile devices for access to both, personal and business applications in a safe and productive manner. This connectivity requirement crosses boundaries of business size. So whether you are a large multi-national enterprise, a branch office or a small to midsize business (SMB), the need to connect is there.
SMBs using the network as a business enabler
SMBs are embracing new technologies such as mobility, cloud and unified communications to help them compete cost-effectively in this new mobile work environment. For them, the network is evolving from an IT resource to a strategic business enabler. To support employee productivity—whether working from home, in meeting rooms, or at client offices – SMBs need a simple and reliable network infrastructure that can be supported by limited IT resources.
A recent study shows that 67% of the SMBs are using tablets for business purposes, and 93% are using smartphones that are often owned and managed by the employee but used for business purposes. Given their sheer number, properly securing access for these BYOD devices and onboarding them to the network without significantly increasing IT operations costs need to be an integral part of the conversation when preparing the foundation for your mobile-first business apps.
A Mobile-First Network creates a solid foundation
It’s clear in this new business environment, the mode of choice for employees is mobile. Your business must have an affordable, high-performance and secure Wi-Fi infrastructure that can support this growing number of mobile devices and cloud-based applications. It also needs to deliver the quality experience that users expect along with the level of security controls that your business processes will demand.
Mobile Unified Communication (UC) solutions such as Office 365 now extends enterprise-grade voice, conferencing, collaboration to mobile devices and are more widely available. A strong network infrastructure allows you to prioritize and optimize business critical applications, so you can respond faster to customers and make smart decisions quickly. You need an integrated solution that can handle issues like network reliability, security and intelligent application management:
Here are important considerations when choosing a Mobile-First solution:
- Screaming fast connections - While wireless is the primary means by which employees will access the network, you need an end-to-end integrated wireless and wired infrastructure that is easy to deploy, offers built-in security and high connection speeds, along with the tools to collect and analyze network performance data.
- Security - With the arrival of digital workplaces comes added security threats. You will need integrated and automated security controls to help protect your business data from malware and unauthorized users. Wireless intrusion detection and prevention can safeguard your infrastructure from wireless threats, rogue access points and clients.
- Network and application visibility - With the increasing number of devices connecting to the network, you may need more insight into users, devices, and applications running on the network as well as ensuring that the network is running smoothly. You need a flexible and easy-to-use network management solution that can grow with your business – from free built-in network management to full-feature enterprise management.
- Room to Grow - Your business is constantly evolving, and so should your network. You need a solution that can grow as you grow. It should provide you the flexibility to build out your network to suit your business needs. Whether you start with a controller-less Wi-Fi solution, and then add a controller to scale – or use built-in management interfaces, then add cloud-based or software-based options later – your network should evolve with your businessand allow you to protect your existing investments.