Making Your Agency’s Networks Resilient

Remote work’s growing prevalence means government networks need to connect larger numbers of people across wider distances. Despite this, many agencies are discovering that the scope of their missions exceeds their networks’ capacity. No matter how far they reach, many agencies’ networks do not fully meet the needs of employees or the public.

The situation only grows more complicated when resilience enters the picture. From the federal level down, agencies need networks that work consistently, reliably and securely. Without these attributes, networks may experience service disruptions or even jeopardize sensitive constituent data.

Fortunately, software-defined, wide-area networking (SD-WAN) can put agencies’ missions at the forefront of their networking capabilities. WAN enables connectivity across vast distances, while SD-WAN simplifies management and removes hardware dependencies. Using SD-WAN, agencies can function more efficiently with fewer networking interruptions, allowing teams to focus on innovation instead of maintenance.

“It puts the mission first,” Robert Schumann, Federal Solutions Architect at Juniper Networks, a networking solutions provider, said of SD-WAN. “Agencies’ networks can now understand context about users and applications and how best to connect them across any type of transport.”

Schumann discussed three ways that SD-WAN strengthens agencies’ networking quality, resilience and security.

1. Boost connectivity

By now, most people have experienced poor connectivity issues like choppy video calls. Application and network problems – such as congested network traffic – cause these complications.

“It’s frustrating when citizens can’t do certain activities due to problems with agencies’ networks and applications,” Schumann said.

SD-WAN can prevent connectivity issues by intelligently routing sessions to improve application and network performance. The resulting application experience is more stable for both the public and government employees.

2. Increase innovation

Too often, agencies’ networks are not reaching their full potential. To innovate, agencies need networks that can launch products and services quickly, securely and affordably.

“You can create networks that are highly dynamic and agile,” Schumann said.

For instance, many agencies have traditionally needed significant time and funding to launch new applications. Embracing SD-WAN’s flexibility, however, agencies can adopt applications more easily, delivering quality user experiences (UX) in ways and places that were not possible before.

3. Reveal root causes

Whether it is for security or the UX, agencies need strong visibility into their networks. Using emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), agencies can gain fresh insights about topics such as user activity. AI imitates such human cognitive skills as learning to dramatically elevate agencies’ understanding of their networks.

“It all comes down to what and why,” Schumann said of how AI assists agencies. “Something is slow – that’s the what. Next is the why. AI solutions help automatically surface the why and, in many cases, can simply fix the problem instead of manually tasking it to personnel.”

Agencies cannot use degraded networks. But by using SD-WAN solutions such as Juniper Networks’ Session Smart SD-WAN, agencies can focus their networks on customer satisfaction and mission wins.

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, “Bouncing Back: How Your Agency Can Handle Disruption and Embrace Resilience.” Download the full guide here.

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