Welcome to your new enterprise network: the internet itself

Jan 28, 2022
Cloud Computing

The hyper-distributed world of cloud-based apps and hybrid work have upended the status quo

Credit: Cisco

By Joe Vaccaro, VP-Product, ThousandEyes

Your enterprise network used to be, well, your enterprise network. 

For the most part, all your apps, network hardware, and end-user devices were owned by your organization and under the same roof. Keeping them secure, visible, and optimized was, in hindsight at least, relatively simple. 

But the hyper-distributed world of cloud-based apps and hybrid work have upended all that. 

Today, your enterprise network is nothing less than the internet itself. Workers depend on a complex web of apps, VPNs, APIs, service providers, and multiple clouds, public and private. And all those end users can be just about anywhere — at home, in the office, or on another continent. 

They also have high expectations. As the pandemic proved beyond a doubt, cloud-based apps are a lifeline— for employee and business productivity alike. And a network or application outage can be devastating for both workers and customers, as recent headlines have shown. 

In short, people demand a seamless, highly reliable digital experience. And organizations that fail to provide it will fall short in productivity, talent retention, and innovation. Because today there’s no going back. 

But providing that great digital experience can be challenging. What seems as simple as entering a URL into a browser or accessing an internet-connected application from your laptop is actually quite complex. Between an end user and an app lies an intricate digital supply chain, and all those myriad technologies must work in concert, without interruption.  

At the same time, IT no longer maintains the same level of control over that environment. Whereas in the past, an organization of 1,000 employees would maintain a few networks at most, now those 1,000 workershave become a branch office of one, if you will, and represent, in effect, 1,000 bespoke networks — each of them outside the traditional channels of visibility. 

Technologies like Cisco Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) have made much of this possible, by bringing security and connectivity to the edge. But gaps in visibility remain. 

So, how can IT monitor how far-flung networks are functioning? And how can it optimize performance and identify and respond quickly to network or app outages? 

Regaining that lost control is what ThousandEyes is all about. We provide visibility to the edge of the network (for example, your home) and everywhere in between. That means pinpointing problems in the networks you own and the ones you don’t, when and where they occur. But it also provides valuable data and information into the overall health of networks and apps, even under so-called “normal” conditions. 

Because even when IT isn’t inundated with service tickets and requests, frustrations can still be present. ThousandEyes reveals key bottlenecks and heavy usage times and geographies, insight that can optimize performance, inform how to better manage providers, and help prevent future problems. 

Of course, when IT is inundated with service issues, they often don’t know what’s happening. Is it the app itself, the service provider, a VPN, or any number of other potential causes? IT will most likely be flying blind. 

ThousandEyes closes that visibility gap by becoming, in effect, both a real time x-ray and a time machine. In the hybrid work world, visibility and context become IT’s greatest assets. Knowing where, when, how and why an employee’s experience is poor not only saves internal IT teams’ time, but it’s also key to working with third-party providers to quickly troubleshoot. A live view into the health of all your connections allows for a much faster response time, thanks to the ability to quickly identify where an issue is happening and which provider is responsible. At the same time, access to historical data allows for a deeper analysis to any point in time to examine a wide array of conditions across the digital supply chain, including identifying those hard-to-troubleshoot transient issues that come and go and create frustration for end-users and IT alike. What applications were being used and how did they function? What were the device statistics, the CPU, and the local WiFi metrics. What networks were being used at the time, and what was happening with the service provider, or across multiple clouds?

This end-to-end visibility into cloud and internet networks is complemented by ThousandEyes’ collective intelligence, harnessing insight based on billions of ongoing measurements and thousands of vantage points across the globe. 

It’s this ability to provide data and context that sets ThousandEyes apart. And these capabilities will be ever more important moving forward. IT is burdened with unprecedented challenges and complexity, all at a time when talented, skilled workers are harder to find. By streamlining processes and empowering IT in new ways, we can realize the full potential of hybrid work. 

As we move past the pandemic, people will continue to demand a more flexible experience. The Great Resignation has shown that many will express their feelings by simply quitting. So, IT will need to meet the challenge. 

The new enterprise network may be the wild, untamed internet itself. But cloud-based apps and hybrid work are the future. And creating visibility and control over complex digital supply chains will enable that future.