Branch of One®: Delivering the Secure Office Anywhere

Mick Higgins

“COVID-19 has challenged business leaders to do three things at once: stage the return to work, understand and leverage the advancements they enacted during the crisis, and chart a new path forward.
Source: Deloitte Insights

Organizations are looking to capitalize on the engagement and productivity gains experienced during the lockdown through remote working. However, aside from a few outliers (e.g. Twitter), businesses are not looking to keep 100% of their employees as homeworkers long term. Businesses post COVID-19 are looking for a hybrid approach with ‘Office Anywhere’ emerging as a key enabler for the future of work. The future office will extend beyond the HQ and branch to wherever employees can be engaged, productive, collaborative, and deliver on innovation. Furthermore, ‘Anywhere’ literally means anywhere, that it is not just working from home folks!

What about the Corporate Network in Office Anywhere?

Making the Office Anywhere a success involves many aspects from corporate culture, employee well-being, the right collaboration tools, and information systems. Underpinning the Office Anywhere success is the ability for employees to access corporate information and services wherever they work and doing so securely.

Today most medium to large enterprises have a corporate network based on WAN technologies i.e. MPLS VPNs, SD-WAN and emerging Zero Trust (ZTNA), and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). But what happens when employees are out of the office most of the time? These shiny corporate networks are sitting idle, and employees are using remote VPNs to access the corporate resources in private data centers and private clouds. Contrary to what you may hear, private applications and private DCs/clouds are not going away anytime soon!

Today’s Remote Access Technologies are not fit for the purpose

“68% of businesses expanded VPNs as a result of COVID-19
Source: Help Net Security

When the lockdown happened, many businesses had insufficient remote access licenses to meet 100% of their workforce using remote access all day every day. The result for many IT managers was a lot of unhappy employees and a lot of lost productivity.

Scale is not the only challenge with current VPNs. Most VPNs are deployed centrally, with limited concurrent seat licenses, and rely on clunky VPN clients on the end device. VPN performance issues can make your high-speed broadband connections mimic snail speeds, breaking many applications. Also, most VPN connections are not designed to be always-on and shut down after periods of inactivity. The result is further frustration for users waiting for the VPN to be re-established; that is if the seat license has not been re-assigned to someone else!

Some Network Service Providers (NSPs) and WAN vendors are offering alternatives to remote access such as Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) to make your home become a small branch of the corporate network. Besides the costs and inconvenience of plugging another CPE into your home, this is not precisely the Office Anywhere, but ‘home office’ only. Many remote workers (including yours truly) have poor at-home broadband performance, and these home CPEs will not make poor broadband go away. Hence, why many employees move location throughout the day.

Branch of One® enabling a truly secure Office Anywhere

Branch of One® provides an office anywhere experience by delivering secure, frictionless access to all business resources, with full mobility. This can be done quickly and easily from a single user to a large team. Every user becomes their own Branch of One® of the corporate, private network with seamless access to corporate applications in the private DCs/cloud, all with no remote VPN clients such as Cisco AnyConnect. CISOs can ensure security policies apply not just to fixed endpoints like laptops/PCs, but also enterprise mobile endpoints.

The Asavie Branch of One® is a cellular (4G/5G) network-based service. This means wherever employees can get a mobile signal; they are instantly a Branch of One® all with no user intervention or no VPN clients to launch. Not only do enterprises get enhanced security avoiding public Wi-Fi, but CIOs and IT teams can scale with ease without additional licenses on their VPN headend.

Learn how Asavie supports organizations in creating a secure office anywhere with Branch of One®.