How Wide is Your WAN?

Managing multiple locations is riddled with issues that just donbt exist for the single location business.B Even if your single location is 100,000 square feet of space, itbs easier to get your arms around it.B Geographic diversification of your locations forces you to build a wide technology infrastructure. This is referred to as a WAN b wide area network.

Before you dismiss this, thinking that it doesnbt apply to you, Ibd like to remind you that teleworkers extend the footprint of your business.B If they work remotely, that location becomes a location on your network.B Or, if you have vendors that you are tightly aligned with sharing data real-time, that company is part of your network.

Sure, you could use a VPN connection but that isnbt an elegant solution. B For example, this week we started working with a new company that provided VPN access into their network to maintain security of files and documents.B Once a file was updated, it needed to be signed and then e-mailed.B This presented a problem.

The file could be printed for signature but then needed to be scanned and uploaded.B It wasnbt possible to do this with the VPN.B For good reason.B Once the file was printed at a remote location it was no longer secure.B Since I have a pretty good understanding of compliance related to security, I was intent on coming up with a solution that worked.

We had to scan the signature to a file.B Email the file from the local email address to the email address on the virtual desktop.B Drop the signature into the document and mess with it until it looked OK.

It worked but it was time-consuming and required determination.B How many people working in remote locations would be willing to go through this b or would even understand why itbs necessary?B And, an even better question, why hadnbt the company pursued electronic signature technology?

So, managing your WAN involves much more than just providing access and enough bandwidth to minimize the time spent staring at a screen as it refreshes.B Once you determine how you will centralize data and applications, training related to access and security is critical.B You donbt want to wait until you are facing unpleasant consequences to make this a priority!

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