Managing the network for a business based across multiple locations comes with additional challenges compared with single site operations. Firstly, there’s the pressure to deliver consistent, cohesive and reliable network capability across every site. Secondly, the additional challenges from having multiple sites puts an extra strain on budgets, resource and security.
The network challenges of a multi-site operation:
The network needs to work across multiple sites seamlessly to deliver coordinated and often complex IT. Additionally, on-site IT staff can be expensive and increase risk.
Dealing with multiple sites is often complicated; communication confusions and localised solutions, with varied approaches, can quickly lead to a mismatched IT infrastructure that requires more time and effort to monitor, maintain and patch.
Local data storage needs
Whilst local data storage is sometimes necessary, it requires a lot of trust in the local team to manage and backup data. External storage can be a safer option in terms of minimising the risk of cyber-attacks, however this can be costly and hard to manage.
Security can be a challenge for multi-site businesses for the obvious reason that they have multiple locations and networks to keep an eye on. Multiple staff poses a challenge to security as most modern cyber-attacks rely on misguided behaviours and actions of staff on the inside of a network, rather than direct attacks on systems from external sources.
How a CATO solution can help
CATO enables businesses with multiple sites to move away from expensive, rigid, and capacity-constrained MPLS circuits to a combination of high-capacity Internet links and the CATO Cloud. Using CATO SD-WAN sockets (appliances), businesses can boost usable capacity and improve resiliency at a lower cost per throughput.
For businesses who operate a global footprint, CATO’s affordable global SLA-backed private backbone replaces expensive and unpredictable global MPLS circuits. The CATO cloud platform optimises performance and security whilst maximising the throughput to on-premise and cloud applications.
CATO in action
Everyday Loans is the award-winning, UK market leader in branch based, unsecured personal loans. With a network of 74 branches across the UK and an average of 4 staff per branch the company has worked hard to secure its position as a Gold standard Feefo Customer Service award holder.
With such a fast-paced business operation they needed to find a more effective and reliable solution to their network than the incumbent MPLS based on copper cable.
“Our existing MPLS based on copper contributed to too much downtime. If the circuit failed, it could take a long time to diagnose where the fault was and even longer to get the right people to the source of the problem.” Says Tony Sheehan, Technology and Infrastructure Manager for Everyday Loans.
Everyday Loans talked to LAN3 about their challenges, who recommended a SD-WAN solution using CATO Networks. As an initial trial, LAN3 installed a pilot using 4G routers in a couple of branches. It rapidly became apparent that the CATO network solution worked exactly as promised and the staff in the branches didn’t want to return to the old MPLS.
The proof of the pudding came when one of the branches suffered a water leak and had to be relocated to a temporary site very quickly. The CATO solution was quick and easy to set up, without the hassle of moving firewalls.
“One of our big network challenges was the speed at which new branches open up. We trialled CATO using 4G routers in a few new branches to see if it would work. I was sceptical at first, but it proved a complete turnkey solution. It was then that we decided to replace our MPLS with the CATO cloud.” Says Tony.
The business also opted to replace all of their internet connections with BTnet fibre from BT, utilising CATO dual sockets and 4G routers in every branch. High speed was not a primary driver, but reliability and low latency were important.
LAN3 project managed and helped install the new network to a tight schedule. In fact, the process was so slick it was all done ‘live’ with only 20 minutes downtime in each branch. LAN3 were able to coordinate the project to ensure a rapid turnaround whilst keeping the costs ‘sensible’ according to Tony.
“Working with LAN3, CATO and BT Everyday Loans were able to deploy a whole new wide area network architecture that gives us great visibility and a good toolset, meaning we don’t need to employ multiple high-tech engineers. Any problems are easy to identify and remediate.
CATO is a brilliantly agile solution for our fast-moving business and BT gives us the reliability we need with a good SLAs. As project managers, LAN3 were the glue between all the partners. They took oversight of the big picture and demonstrated great care and understanding of our objectives. The whole project was delivered as a turnkey service, with an end result that really enhances our business.”