As federal agencies continue their accelerated modernization journey, there’s something more they can do to speed their transformations – and this time, thankfully, it’s not brought upon by a global pandemic. Just as during the beginning of the pandemic agencies powered through digital transformation activities to continue to deliver on the mission remotely and ended up several years ahead of their planned schedules, focusing on the next-generation network will have a similar impact on agencies’ modernization journey.
While software-defined networking has helped agencies build more resilient and reliable networks, this is just the beginning of the network transformation journey. The next step is for agencies to embrace Network-as-a-Service (NaaS). By adopting the NaaS framework, agencies will create the foundation to deliver next-generation applications and services, such as 5G, multi-access edge compute (MEC), artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML), and augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR).
Additionally, NaaS brings the cloud services model to the network layer. Instead of needing to own their own network infrastructure, agencies buy the Network-as-a-Service from a specialized provider. In the same way as buying storage, or computing, Network-as-a-Service helps agencies manage costs and access value-added services such as analytics and insight reporting, security, and scalability.
While the focus of NaaS conversations is often around the cost savings of renting over owning, the real benefits of NaaS come from the reliability, flexibility, and value-added elements. “Take security, for example,” noted Verizon’s Brett Barganz. “With certain NaaS offerings, like Managed Detection and Response, an agency’s network traffic could be monitored and compared against a database of know threats and, if triggered, the service could use automation to immediately remediate a threat and stop an attack.” Also, Barganz noted, other NaaS offerings, like Secure Cloud Solutions, could allow agencies to “keep their users safe from threats on the open web through serving as an internet gateway.”
This added layer of security is just the beginning of the value that NaaS brings to federal agencies. From the benefit of not owning – and therefore not being responsible for the burdens of network maintenance – to being able to segment networks to deliver critical information to only those with the appropriate access and clearances, there are many advantages according to Barganz. “NaaS built on SD-WAN it is inherently more flexible and reliable,” he said. “Network traffic can be directed over different routes on an agency’s network to avoid outages, which can happen during a national emergency, like a hurricane, wildfire, or earthquake.”
Reimagining the Network-as-a-Service, instead of as a physical infrastructure that is owned and operated by an agency is a major innovation, not just for federal agencies but all organizations. However, for federal agencies, in particular, the flexibility, resilience, and scalability that come with it bring many opportunities to speed the digitization journey in a secure and cost-effective way.
To learn more about Network-as-a-Service, click here.