In today’s evolving IT landscape, businesses have a difficult time keeping up with their users and the bandwidth demands for the multitude of applications that their networks host. Where the applications themselves reside is a factor in how much corporate Wide Area Network (WAN) bandwidth is required. As applications move outside of the firm’s private infrastructure, the type of connectivity is shifting as well. An IT leader must question if a potential network is able to support their mission critical workloads no matter where those apps reside or where the users themselves reside.

We are living in an “as-a-service” world. It is crucial to choose a provider that affords your enterprise the ability to flex your connectivity to meet your ever-evolving IT infrastructure. Key factors to consider when choosing a service provider are network reach, accessibility, network security, motorization tools and reliability. Having the right product set and network is important, but it is vital that the provider is capable of managing the deployment of their network and is present for the ongoing life cycle administration of the network.

What’s the Holdup?

Level 3 Communications, one of several global IP providers, operates one of the industry’s leading Internet Protocols using a Virtual Private Network/Multi-Protocol Label Switching (IP VPN / MPLS) service platform. They continue to invest in their platform by offering highly-secure managed solutions, performance monitoring and security features all backed by best-in-class Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Even though they have numerous industry accolades and a deep product set to ensure their applications perform optimally, many potential clients want to know what latency can be expected. Level 3 makes it easy to verify a network’s performance around the globe by offering access to the company’s Looking Glass web portal.

Balancing Accessibility and Security

In order to keep up with customer demand and the application evolution, a good provider understands that clients require secure methods to access their applications no matter where the workload lives. In today’s market, access does not only refer to access being delivered to a physical address. With applications moving to an “as-a-service” model, one needs a provider that offers cloud connectivity access to these services. It is also important to work with a provider in the connectivity space that works closely with both AWS and Microsoft Azure to match the market demand for connectivity options. Now that traffic is moving outside of the secure corporate server, WAN security is vital. The industry is shifting from protection to detection in the security space. Level 3, as an example, operates three fully staffed global Security Operations Centers (SOCs) as well as four diverse “scrubbing” centers in strategic locations thereby maintaining an available “attach” bandwidth in excess of 380GBps.

A service provider can have the best platform and capabilities, but if it doesn’t embrace best practices when it comes to project management, they will have unhappy customers that cannot properly utilize the services for which they contracted. This is why it is also important to work with a provider that has a project management organization that makes the transition of a global WAN into a turn-key process. Don’t get me wrong, it is a large undertaking on the part of the customer, the carrier, as well as the partner, but through proper planning and appropriate expectation-setting the right provider can take a ton of pain out of the transition process.

If you have questions related to Level 3 or any of our aggregation partners, call your CDW account manager to speak to a solutions architect today.

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