zWAN Client – CLIENT SOFTWARE TO FACILITATE BRANCH OFFICES
Many organizations operate from several dispersed branches or campuses. Traditional WAN’s are struggling to keep up with the demand for bandwidth, prioritization of business critical applications and an ever growing utilization cloud based applications (SaaS apps) such as Office 365, Sales Force and collaborative tools such as Teams and Zoom. Traditional WAN networks are inherently complex to manage and slow to adapt to changes resulting in higher operational costs.
AmZetta Technologies delivers an SD-WAN solution that is simple to implement, manage and is highly adaptable. The AmZetta zWAN for Branch easily scales to new edges of the corporate network and balances outstanding performance with reliability. The zWAN solution additionally provides centralized control over the entire network footprint while simply integrating with your Security and endpoint management solutions.
Problems with Branch Offices
The work force is constantly evolving and it is apparent that remote work is a permanent fixture. Remote opportunities leapt from under 4% of all high paying jobs to more than 15% in the past year. In the near future 25% of all professional jobs in North America will be remote. Over the next year, we will see a major increase in the number of permanent remote workers.
Employees and Employers share a different viewpoint of branch office working. Employees enjoy working remotely and feel they are very productive working outside of an office environment. However, employees are concerned with security, employee productivity, OpEx costs and the overall employee experience of branch office working.
The Employee Viewpoint: Owl Labs surveyed 2,050 fulltime remote workers and found the following:
• 90% of remote workers surveyed said they were as or more productive working remotely, compared to when they were in the office.
• 74% agreed that working from home is better for their mental health.
• 84% of remote workers surveyed said they are much happier working remotely and would even be willing to take a pay cut to remain working remotely.
The Employer Viewpoint: Employers like Apple and Google have stated that they want their employees back in the office mainly due to security concerns and poor employee productivity. Elon Musk recently stated, “Remote work is no longer acceptable… [remote workers] should pretend to work somewhere else”.
The main concerns from the employer perspective are as follows:
- Security Issues – Hacker Targets
Hackers are targeting Home Networks and Devices. A never-before-seen remote access trojan dubbed ZuoRAT has been singling out small office/home office (SOHO) routers as part of a sophisticated campaign targeting North American and European networks. Warnings about nation-actors’ intrusion campaigns aim to exploit publicly identified security flaws in network devices such as Small Office/Home Office (SOHO) routers and Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices with the goal of gaining deeper access to victim networks.
- Operational Expenditure (OpEx) Issues
WFH inherently brings about more OpEx issues in the form of complexities in network requirements and an overall increase in IT OpEx. Network requirements increase from needing to on-board additional devices for employees to work from remotely and needing to manage all those devices, an increased investment in a more reliant VPN infrastructure for all the remote connections being established, and an increase in support for remote users. Overall IT OpEx increases include increased support and maintenance costs, having to buy more equipment for remote users, and increased ISP related expenses.
- Employee Productivity Issues
Most employers feel remote employees spend too much time on home or personal items and less time on work related items. A lot of employers share the viewpoint of “out of sight, out of mind”. Without having visual observation on its employees, employers are always questioning the productivity of their employees. However, there are studies and reports that paint a very different picture. A study by Stanford of 16,000 workers over 9 months found that working from home increase productivity by 13%. This increase in performance was due to more calls per minute attributed to a quieter more convenient working environment and working more minutes per shift because of fewer breaks and sick days. In this same study workers also reported improved work satisfaction, and attrition rates were cut by 50%.
- Employee Experience Issues
Employees working remotely face many issues that a conventional in-office user doesn’t normally experience. One of the biggest problems they face is the lack of an on-site IT support staff. A majority of a typical organization’s workforce is typically non-technical, meaning that if technical problems arise, they will have a hard time trying to debug the issue themselves without the help of IT Support. Other issues that may arise deal with the type of internet service users have. Some users may have slower speeds from their ISPs than others or they may be in more remote/rural areas. There may not be adequate Wi-Fi coverage in their home, creating dead spots. All of these issues can have a negative impact on day-to-day activities such as video conference call quality and responsiveness to remote corporate resources.
Benefits of SD-WAN for Branch Offices
Stories and coins have two sides, so we Employers must weigh the benefits of branch office working as well. Working remote provides benefits to Employers and Employees alike. Listed below are the main benefits supporting a remote workforce.
Listed below are the main benefits supporting a branch office based workforce.
The Primary Benefits:
- Better Cloud Usage
Most organizations have adopted more cloud based applications and services in lieu of hosting and managing them on prem. Through a traditional WAN access to these tools still flows through the main corporate network which is commonly referred to as “back hauling”. zWAN delivers the ability for cloud access at the branch to directly flow through the internet rather than back through the corporate network. This means users can access these resources wherever they are and lessening the strain on the corporate bandwidth.
- Enhanced Security
Digital Transformation such as adopting more SaaS based applications and moving to a more remote work force certainly improves user satisfaction and productivity but also expands the network surface area vulnerable to security risks. AmZetta’s zWAN provides intelligence to the overall network and provides control over network data flows and insight into network conditions as well as provides Identity management and data encryptions. zWAN also provides seamless integration into existing security solutions.
- Reduced Costs
Considering the exponential adoption of SaaS based applications and services and the amount of data competing for bandwidth the tradition WAN is easily over burdened which results in the need for additional costly bandwidth. zWAN helps lower these cost by utilizing less costly broadband for less critical data flows, internet breakout for cloud access and prioritizing bandwidth usage for business critical activities.
- Less Complex
Modernizing a traditional WAN adds a lot of complexity to the environment. This often times leads to poor network performance, a bad user experience and adds to the work load of IT staffs. zWAN lessens the burden on IT teams by simplifying the infrastructure, utilizing less expensive broadband connections for less critical data, provides insight into users activities and centrally managing data flows.
- Improved Performance
AmZetta’s zWAN allows admins to provide priority for business critical applications and services to properly direct data flows to the most efficient path. This data steering of business critical applications reduces latency and packet loss resulting in a better user experience and boosting productivity
Employers can greatly benefit from a branch office work environment for its employees. Listed below are a few of the main benefits to employers who support a branch office working model.
The Employer Benefits:
- Cost Effective & Instant ROI
There are significant costs savings associated with WFH for both employees and employers. More employees remotely mean less employees in an office or leased building. Companies can downsize on leases, real estate, utilities, office supplies, equipment and insurance.
- Unified Security with ZTNA
Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) allows employers to extend security measures across all layers of the digital estate that explicitly and continuously verify every transaction, asserts least privilege, and relies on intelligence, advanced detection, and real-time response to threats. ZTNA is based on the idea of never trust, always verify, meaning that this approach protects companies and users by managing and granting access based on the continual verification of identities, devices and services.
- End-To-End Employee Monitoring
Employers can install software in the remote workers devices and computers to track their productivity and generate real time reports on apps used, data accessed, emails sent and more. Employers can drill down into an employee’s actions to ensure the employee is productive while also auditing the work output.
- Expanded Talent Pool
Companies can greatly benefit by being able to attract employees from a wider geographic area. Instead of drawing resumes and applicants from local candidates, employers can now post job openings and attract more and better talent.
Bridge the Gap – The Complete Branch Office Working Solution
AmZetta’s zWAN Client utilizes the existing home network underlay connectivity such as broadband, internet, Wi-Fi, LTE or 5G and routes the data within the network using highly secure overlay tunnels that are encrypted. The zWAN Client monitors the performance of the network and WAN connections and manages all network traffic to optimize connectivity of users to applications consistent with QoS and SLA objectives.
- Seamless Integration – Fits Seamlessly into Existing Home Networks
AmZetta’s zWAN Client makes it quick and easy for employees to setup at home. Employees can either deploy a software solution on their corporate devices that requires a simple installation process and then they are ready to connect securely. A hardware solution can also be deployed that allows employees to add a device to their existing home network and then connect their corporate device to it, either directly or through Wi-Fi with no disruption to the overall home network.
- No Changes to the Home Network Setup
Whether an employee opts to leverage the software or hardware solution, neither solution requires any change to the overall home network. Employees don’t have to change any settings on their home network devices in order to integrate the zWAN Client. Spouses and children can continue to connect to the home network without having to change which Wi-Fi networks they connect.
- SaaS/Internet App Breakout
The zWAN Client can be configured to classify packets and steer them directly to the Internet or specific corporate destinations, be it a data center or branch office or even cloud resources. The advantages of this feature include reducing latency by reducing the number of hops required to reach a specific destination. This also reduces the amount of data traversing the corporate backbone, as packets deemed to be going to trusted SaaS applications can go directly to those destination without first having to be scrubbed by corporate firewalls.
- Load Balance & Failover
Load Balancing divides traffic along multiple WAN interfaces to reduce Network congestion. AmZetta’s zWAN Client supports multiple WAN interfaces including broadband, internet, Wi-Fi, LTE or 5G. One WAN interface will be the primary data path while the secondary WAN interface will be the secondary data path. The zWAN Client will automatically failover from the primary WAN interface to the secondary WAN interface if it detects any failure or downed scenario with the primary WAN interface.
- Simple Installation Process
A simple single step installation process that is designed for non-technical employees to perform. The installation process is done via a simple and intuitive wizard.
The AmZetta zWAN Branch OFfice Work Solution
AmZetta’s zWAN provides organizations with a comprehensive Work from Home (WFH) solution and has the following software components:
The zWAN Client can be installed on any corporate laptop or desktop that an employee uses at home without the need for any additional hardware in their home network. The Provider also runs on Commercial Off-the-shelf (COTS) x86 hardware or can be hosted in a virtual machine (VM). The Provider has a simple, intuitive interface that makes managing, configuring, and monitoring the branch office work environment a breeze. AmZetta’s zero-touch provisioning allows organizations to quickly integrate new components to the overall branch office work architecture with ease by allowing the configuration and settings to be auto-downloaded and applied by the main orchestrator, no matter where the component is being implemented.
Extend Corporate Security to protect Data, Apps, Devices and User Access at Remote Locations
Separate Corporate Network Traffic from Personal Home Network Traffic
Extensive Report Generation
Extensive logs are available, which are parsed to provide reports on employee activities