Why an intelligent network edge will serve you better Posted on May 9, 2017 by Tim Burke The immense data traffic demands of always-on businesses, highly mobile customers, and the nearly universal embedding of Internet of Things (IoT) devices means the network edge has never mattered more. Although attention has long focused on increasingly cloud-filled network cores, note that it’s at the edge where lies… …The first line of defense against malware infiltration In a world where devices, firmware, and even operating systems are points of compromise, security policy applied and validated at the network edge prevents access management issues and helps keep your business less susceptible to infiltration or threat proliferation. …The bridge between your business and your customers A fast network that provides consistent, reliable connectivity keeps customers engaged and satisfied – and much of that consistent, reliable speed comes from leveraging edge computing. For instance, edge computing allows for highly-optimized Wi-Fi “fast lanes” and higher quality of service than customers would see in a centralized network environment. In addition, all the data traffic coming into the edge doesn’t have to be backhauled up to a cloud or to the enterprise network core to complete transactions. …A strategic portal for apps and services Since it’s the conduit through which your brand-making apps and services are delivered to your customers, prospects, suppliers, and employees, the network edge needs to serve up a seamlessly reliable experience to keep customers sticking around and productivity climbing. … The prime data collection spot Don’t forget that all the data (about users, applications, devices, and threats) first appears at the network edge. This data can be cost-effectively gathered, filtered, and analyzed for insights that help you make better decisions for your business, from reducing risk and costs to more effectively delivering what customers want and better supporting employees – especially when that filtered and analyzed data is immediately used in externally-facing real-time apps. Building an intelligent network edge The edge computing capabilities I’ve described here have two things in common. First, since only the network edge sees all your data traffic, it’s the optimal place to really understand what’s happening with your business. Second, to truly be a first line of defense against malware as well as fast enough to keep customers satisfied, a strategic portal for brand-making apps and services, and a data insight cornucopia, the network edge must have smarts. Such an intelligent network edge can be expensive, but the right network provider has already built intelligent network edge capabilities – such as Wi-Fi fast lanes and tagged apps for higher quality of service – into their operating systems and architectures, so customers can pivot into the benefits of an intelligent network edge without a painful payout. In my next post, I’ll lay out some questions you should ask about your network to get a sense of how it compares to the software-defined, self-optimizing network your future requires.