Cloud, mobile and IoT are three of the macro trends fueling digital transformation, but the underlying enabler is pervasive connectivity\u2014 driving the need to transform the Wide Area Network (WAN) and giving rise to the \u201cConnected Enterprise.\u201d\nThe pace of change, brought on by digital transformation, is staggering. Businesses of all sizes, and across all industries, have to move and evolve faster than ever before. The penalty for not keeping up is no longer slowing sales\u2014it is no sales. The traditional enterprise WAN, which has evolved little over the past 20 years, was not built for the current changing conditions, and has become a significant inhibitor to a company\u2019s ability to transform. It\u2019s time to change that.\nThe Network\u2019s Evolution\nThe historical enterprise topology has been the manufacturing plant, distribution center, branch office or retail outlet, along with the people within those sites. The branch office or retail outlet formed the edge of the enterprise network and the point of presence and commerce with customers, employees and suppliers. These sites have also historically represented the places from which information flowed and business insights were gained.\nIn the emerging Connected Enterprise, the network extends well beyond brick-and-mortar to span the internet and connect everything from kiosks, sensors and cameras to digital signage, vehicles and, of course, people. Work is no longer a destination, but something that can be done from anywhere. As a result, WANs that have to connect all of these people, places and things must be transformed to be more scalable, more secure, more reliable, more automated\u2014 plus more agile. It\u2019s the only way to respond to far-flung, rapidly evolving business needs of today\u2019s enterprises.\u00a0\nPerhaps nowhere is the need for WAN transformation more profound than at the Network\u2019s Edge. At Cradlepoint, we refer to the new paradigm of connecting people, places and things to the WAN over wired and wireless internet broadband as the Elastic Edge. It constantly expands, contracts, adapts, moves and evolves as business needs dictate. We believe wireless connectivity is essential to achieving the level of elasticity the Connected Enterprise requires, and we are providing the pathway from 4G LTE to game-changing technologies such as Gigabit LTE and 5G.\u00a0\nElasticity also means the WAN Edge is software-defined, policy-driven and highly orchestrated to eliminate the crushing complexity of today\u2019s WANs and remove human intervention from the critical path.\nElastic Edge Fuels Consume Versus Build Methodology\nHow new WANs are being built and utilized is also changing significantly.\u00a0 We are moving rapidly out of the era of \u201cbuild-your-own\u201d and into one of \u201cconsume-as-a-service.\u201d From an organization having to buy all the networking hardware, equipment and carrier services\u2014and then hire expensive CCIEs to build and run it\u2014to one that purchases the \u201cNetwork-as-a-Service.\u201d In this new emerging model, you can spin up and down connections, capacity and services when and where you need them, and pay for only what you use \u2014 combining elasticity with utility.\nIn the next Cradlepoint post, we will address how the digital transformation of the branch WAN is fueling the shift to an Elastic Edge and the transition from a \u201cbuild-your-own\u201d to consuming methodology.