Software as a Service (SaaS) is having a transformative effect on both businesses and the IT industry. Applications and systems stored on a central server are allowing increasing numbers of companies, ranging from SMBs to enterprises, to use virtualised desktops and software-as-a-service solutions in place of individual PCs and laptops with their own copies of the same office tools and applications.
As such, SaaS is enabling businesses to reduce costs by minimising the amount of time and budget needed for IT teams to set up and maintain a network of computers.
By enabling all networked computers to be linked to a central server hosting SaaS solutions, regardless of specification they can all use the same versions of security, office and application software without requiring any individual configuration.
However, for a business to tap into the benefits offered by SaaS, it first needs a robust network backbone with the capacity to handle bandwidth hungry services such as database applications and multiple connected devices.
Strong backbone required
This can be provided with business-grade routers that feature gigabit connections and protocols, such as load balancing, that deliver reliable connectivity and efficient bandwidth allocation, to ensure solid SaaS performance.
Plug & Play Ethernet switches can also be used to easily expand connectivity to the central SaaS server without a drastic overhaul of an internal network.
The network monitoring and traffic prioritisation, features of such switches, along with an extra layer of network security, further enhance the delivery of SaaS within a business.
Deploying SaaS enables users to have remote access often through the cloud or via a VPN connection. In this instance, the router which sits between an external device and the internal server, needs to be able to support multiple VPN connections and protocols.
Keeping out the cyber threats
However, given the growing concerns over data and cyber security, CIOs and IT teams need to consider how they keep their internal networks secure from malicious external threats.
Using routers that are able to automatically detect and protect against attacks, yet still enable effective VPN connections from approved external devices, are paramount if secure and effective internal and external SaaS use is to be achieved.
Smooth remote access via VPN is predominantly reliant on a user's ISP connection; however, some enhancements can be made to a home or external office network to ensure that it is up to the task.
Replacing standard routers with those that offer dual band and gigabit connectivity will not only provide the capacity needed to support SaaS, but also provide an extra band of wireless frequencies that can be dedicated for work use.
This will avoid the bandwidth hogging that can be inherent in homes with numerous devices connected to a single band router.
Supporting the mobile workforce
Home connectivity, for remote workers can be further enhanced with wireless range extenders that can help provide Wi-Fi connectivity to parts of the house where previously a stable connection may have been difficult to achieve.
These simple solutions give remote workers the flexibility to work from home without dips in performance due to dropped connections or poor SaaS performance.
By enabling the fluid and adaptive use of virtualised desktops and remote working, SaaS has the potential to revolutionise traditional work environments without compromising productivity.
And at the core of this revolution will be a clever collection of networking hardware that forms the backbone of future corporate workplaces.
- Eric Wang, UK Country Manager, TP-LINK UK Ltd has been immersed in networking since 2007. Having launched TP-LINK UK Ltd in 2010, Eric understands the complex and demanding issues facing business owners and decision makers on a daily basis.