22 Nov 2022
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How to Choose Your NaaS Partner

Before committing to a network-as-a-service (NaaS) vendor, it’s important to conduct a comprehensive ROI calculation. Your partnership for the future. You’re looking not only for a vendor you can trust to deliver NaaS today, but a leader who will be ahead of everyone else. Thinking beyond Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN), how does your NaaS strategy fit into the context of your SASE architecture? Does this vendor have the capital to invest in delivering continuous innovations for the next five years? Here are questions to ask yourself and your vendor.

What’s Under the Hood?

What is the hardware backbone of their solution? Are they relying on HPE Aruba gear, Cisco, or a mix of other technologies?

Who are the market leaders in NaaS? What are you using today? Are you a Cisco house? Are there licensing costs that you could avoid by switching to Aruba HPE? Is your current networking hardware on its last legs? Ask yourself: how will my legacy infrastructure be impacted by a move to NaaS?

Do They Understand My Business & My Employee Work Model?

Can your ISP help you lay out the details of a careful, measured, phased approach that prepares you for scaling up and doesn’t disrupt day-to-day operations? Are you supporting an increasingly mobile workforce? And now for the lightning round: how many offices? How many cities? How many permanent work-from-home employees? How essential is Wi-Fi for hotel desking?

If you can answer all these and if your potential ISP partner can too, you’ll get a good idea of how well they understand your business model and your plans to scale.

What Are the Migration Costs?

Let’s say the migration takes longer than expected. In that case, what are the costs to a shift to NaaS? And how do you factor in migration costs when you’re calculating ROI? What are your risks? Do you care when it comes to vendor lock-in? How easily, if at all, can you switch NaaS vendors?

Once you commit to a NaaS vendor, will you get timely patches, the latest technology updates, and best-of-breed services? After all, isn’t that the whole point of NaaS? What types of SLAs can you establish for network downtime or performance-related issues? Will your potential partners service work if you have a multi-vendor environment for your core networking gear? What tools or services does your potential partner provide to help you calculate and track ROI over time? You need to look ahead to the game changers—the leaders in this capacity.

What Elements of NaaS Are Critical to My Business?

Consider the criteria unique to your business for selecting the best vendor partner. What matters most in your industry? What happens when your network is down? How many mission-critical work processes are impacted? This will depend primarily on your desired business outcomes.

Think about data and compliance. You should choose a vendor that provides robust security and a global presence to meet local regulatory and compliance requirements.

Also think about ability to deliver on service-level agreements (SLAs) or service-level objectives (SLOs). It’s helpful to think about which service levels are the most important for your strategy. For example, what are your unique connectivity, bandwidth, latency, and security requirements? NaaS with advanced AI-driven capabilities can help ensure SLAs and SLOs are met or exceeded.

Is Security Integrated Into Their NaaS Solution?

As you embark on a journey to more integrated security, you will encounter some vendors that piece together a network security solution and rely on third-party capabilities. For example, a SASE vendor may offer SD-WAN but not own security as part of their portfolio (but it might be on their roadmap). Your chosen NaaS solution will ideally be based on fully-integrated on-premises and cloud-based security.

Do You Want Flexible Management Options, & Do You Really Need Them?

NaaS services are delivered via a cloud model to offer greater flexibility and customization than conventional infrastructure. Changes are implemented through software, not hardware. This is typically provided using self-service. IT teams can, for example, reconfigure their corporate networks on demand and add new branch locations in a fraction of the time.

Consider end-to-end visibility, including the internet, cloud, and SaaS. NaaS provides proactive network monitoring, security policy enforcement, advanced firewall and packet inspection capabilities, and modelling of the performance of applications and the underlying infrastructure over time. Organizations may also have an option to co-manage the NaaS.

Also think of streamlined troubleshooting with AI/ML guided remediation. NaaS solutions with advanced capabilities deliver AI-driven actionable insights to provide closed-loop issue resolution and can help IT improve utilization of services, optimize workload traffic, and protect the business by integrating networking with cloud security.

Final Words

With higher demand on your network, how will you keep up with the demands of your business, your employee work habits, and your growth? Our professional services team is helping customers right now. We are looking at their real-time media requirements, the stability of their network, and the demands they will face as they scale their business. Request a technology consultation today and start a conversation about SD-WAN, SASE, and NaaS to help you implement tomorrow’s technology today and take your business forward.

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