The Case for Cloud Network Management

The Case for Cloud Network Management

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Is it right for your organization?

Today, almost all computing devices – laptops, smartphones, cameras, cars, tablets, and more – are equipped with Wi-Fi and require network access. The number of connected devices is expected to grow exponentially. According to Gartner’s IoT forecast, 6 billion connected devices were online in 2018, and the number is estimated to increase to 35 billion by 2020. Today, Internet connectivity is getting as common as mainstream utilities like electricity.

Cloud-Based Network Management Overview

The evolution of SaaS has brought cloud-based network management systems. Previously, network management had required an on-premises controller which is usually a dedicated hardware device. The controller used to configure networking hardware, monitor the network and change settings as required.

A true cloud-based network management replaces on-premises controllers with virtual controllers that are hosted on the Internet by their respective vendors. This eliminates the need to deploy controllers on each site, reducing complexity and the upfront cost of the network. Vendors offer subscription plans which may have free and/or chargeable options for their cloud controller services. Cloud controllers offer remote provisioning, monitoring and troubleshooting of network devices without any additional hardware on-site.

Reasons Why Cloud Network Management is being Adopted

The adoption of cloud-based network management is driven by increased efficiency, rapid scalability and reduced costs. Here is a more detailed look at the benefits and what’s behind them.

Key Cloud Networking Vendor Considerations Checklist

Cloud-based network management systems have many benefits but they’re not all created equally. Here is a checklist of some important potential pitfalls to look out for when choosing a cloud network management system:

All-inclusive
Does the networking vendor provide a holistic management solution for all of your networking hardware requirements: WiFi access points, switches and security gateways? Many vendors only provide part of the solution or in some cases the gateway only provides VPN features without anti-malware protection.

Zyxel Nebula provides a holistic cloud network management solution with a range of WiFi access points, switches and security gateways with malware protection.

Reliability
Does the vendor ensure high availability of their cloud services? Does the network continue to operate if the Internet connection goes down?

Zyxel Nebula cloud management solution is hosted on Amazon Web Services and is backed by a 99.99% SLA. Nebula networks continue to operate if the internet connection goes down. Zyxel has been providing networking solutions since 1989.

Dual-WAN Access
Does the security gateway provide 2 or more Wide Area Network (WAN) ports so that 2 or more Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can be used? Using 2 ISPs mitigates any downtime for Internet connectivity and network management in rare situations where one service provider goes offline.

All Zyxel Nebula security gateways provide Dual-WAN ports. In cases where all Internet connectivity is lost, Nebula networks will continue to operate although network management tasks will be suspended until Internet connectivity resumes.

Zero-touch
Is ‘zero-touch‘ deployment a feature of the system?

With Zyxel Nebula, it is. IT staff simply need to use the Nebula mobile app to scan the QR code on product boxes before they’re dispatched. Non-IT employees on distributed sites then simply plug-in the devices and turn them on

Security
Does the cloud managed solution use robust security?

Zyxel Nebula uses TLS (Transport Layer Security, a replacement of SSL) between network hardware and the cloud controller. Management data is transported and encrypted with IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) standards based NETCONF (Network Configuration Protocol). Only management traffic and logs are transmitted to Nebula Cloud Control Center. Data passes directly through the LAN and the WAN without passing through the cloud controller. There are no controller bottlenecks.

Real Cloud
Is it a true cloud network management system without a premises-based controller or is it a pseudo-cloud system that is half-and-half?

Zyxel Nebula is a true cloud network management system that brings with it all of the cost saving benefits of the cloud.
Compliance

Does the cloud managed networking solution comply with regulatory frameworks; including the more recent European Union GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)?

Zyxel Nebula was compliant with GDPR six months before the deadline (May 2018). Additionally, Nebula is compliant with over 50 data protection and privacy certifications, laws, regulations and frameworks set out by regulatory bodies around the world

Licensing
Do the cloud licensing options suit the needs of your organization? Will failure to pay for the license halt all network management services?

Zyxel Nebula gives customers the freedom to choose between free and cost effective paid subscription licenses with additional features. Some vendors only offer paid subscriptions.