Dominic Birch, Solutions Director at Capita, explores the value of network connectivity in the public sector.
Connectivity has changed so many aspects of our daily lives. It’s created new ways to communicate and socialise, new business models and industries and more efficient ways for businesses and employees to operate. Connectivity has also changed the way in which public services, healthcare and education are provided and shared.
Now more than ever, connectivity is the key. Not only to grow and compete in a global environment, and to reach new customers and markets online, but also to support communities, citizens and public services to work more efficiently as budgets get tighter.
People expect greater speed and bandwidth everywhere, to download data in seconds, easily access documents on the move or to deliver emergency services. Accessible, guaranteed and affordable connectivity is an essential part of life. However, with this increased demand, it’s no wonder that whether we are at work, at home or on the move, we now expect a network that brings everything together; that is fast, robust and reliable, available 24/7, from even the most remote location.
How to get started
Whatever your business challenges, a reliable and resilient network means you have an enabling platform that supports your key transformational programmes, allowing your teams to work together efficiently, effectively and remotely. So where do you start?
Strategy 1: Understand your connectivity requirements
Look at your existing infrastructure and identify changes to meet future infrastructure requirements. Consider your bandwidth needs to support your organisation and look at all the sites and locations that need to be covered to build the underlying IT strategy to support your connectivity requirements. You also need to understand your traffic patterns and workloads as you adopt a cloud-centric infrastructure and where your clients are in relation to their data.
Strategy 2: Carrier-agnostic networks
Build out your network with a carrier-agnostic approach to gain greater coverage, network diversity and high-availability solutions to create a secure, yet nimble network with almost 100% uptime. Think about evolving technologies in the Networking space; software-defined networking can bring benefits such as agility and choice when it comes to designing the network.
Strategy 3: Local full fibre networks
Go full fibre. Local Authorities, through funding from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), are enabling Local Full Fibre Networks (LFFN). They are able to seek Central Government backing to drive local social wealth, through employment and unsurpassed digital communications, benefiting all within the region.
By working with suppliers who can help you leverage this funding across your region, the LFFN programme will enable infrastructure to create gigabit cities and drive superior connectivity and investment back into your region. Through regional partnerships and a regional network, the investment will deliver reliable, scalable and robust network connectivity for a far greater number of authorities, businesses and citizens.
Strategy 4: End-to-end security
Hackers are sophisticated – and hungry. As your business grows, so does the threat landscape. You need to ensure you are protecting all of your assets wherever they may reside; across endpoint, network and cloud. Look to deploy an end-to-end security service that includes products at multiple layers from the access network, through the core and out to the perimeter, to ensure your data is protected and your online presence and services remain available to legitimate users.
Strategy 5: Meet compliance
In order to deploy secure and cost-effective public services, compliance and governance issues must be identified and addressed. Seek out a network provider who is accredited to provide a fully managed Public Services Network (PSN) Encryption Overlay service to support your connectivity plans, while helping you purchase and deploy connectivity and services with the aim of delivering best value.
The steps above will enable your business to benefit from the value of connectivity. No matter which sector you operate in, and whatever your business challenges, a secure, available and compliant network can drive operational efficiencies, improve the quality of service to citizens and help achieve best value.