CDW Blog

Staying Connected in Challenging Times

11 June, 2020 / by admin

Most of us are now operating with a 100% dispersed employee population, using tools and connectivity probably not scaled for this level of disruptive working for long period of time.  

So, we turn our thoughts to how do we handle remote operations. How, do we bolster up the right services to replace the ability of our employees to work from their normal office desk?


Access cloud services, your email and collaboration tool set for example or your HR, Financial or CRM systems, may be hosted in a way that may make them accessible remotely with only a few configuration changes needed on your part. Whereas before you may have limited access to a particular IP range presented to the Internet from the company firewall gateway or required MFA to access them remotely, maybe some well negotiated policy changes can reduce or eliminate some of those hurdles to access those services.

While we have to be cognisant of security, we also have to be pragmatic about productivity. Some adaptive changes in security policies may be needed to help keep operations functioning during this time.

For those with Laptops, VPN clients are probably the first line of access, providing an ability to get the device through the “outer shell” of the enterprise security perimeter.

Maybe, however you’re not scaled up for 100% of your employees utilising VPN for 8+ hours a day – causing either contention issues or bottlenecks this will be causing increasing frustration and friction for your users.

Many organisations are struggling with the number of concurrent VPN’s now required by their remote workforce.  Those who have Aruba controllers in your infrastructure probably don’t realise they can act as a VPN concentrator.  Aruba has a VPN client software module, called Aruba VIA, which can be used to create VPN connectivity to a concentrator that’s exposed to the Internet.

Aruba controllers, by their nature, are full Layer 7 firewalls – so by policy you can limit that exposure to only allow VPN connectivity for example.  So, by deploying VIA and enabling it on your infrastructure, your now remote employee, using their internet service at home, can securely tunnel into your business.

Aruba’s controllers can be deployed virtually into either AWS or Azure which means without the burden of hardware you can set up this ability to expose a controller to the Internet, creating a cloud based gateway to your network without ever having to run a patch cord or mount equipment.

Aruba offers an array of tools – both on-premise capabilities and our cloud-based capability – called Aruba Central – to get you up and running and administer the network infrastructure – reducing the friction on already heavily utilised IT teams as much as possible.

Aruba is here to help support the new normal we find ourselves in.

Some organisations may be looking at how to set up remote locations to either expand or continue to operate particular services. The teams at Aruba have been involved with a number of Retail, Food service and of course, Medical and first responder scenarios over the last few months as organisations have  adapted to a changed need in their services.

In Food service – but also food retail, where services are now being done outside of the four walls of the building – from taking orders to distributing essentials – technology and connectivity is still needed to make that happen, to manage orders and keep track of inventory. Connectivity is key.

Wi-Fi deployed in a way that extends the boundary – either by adding Outdoor AP’s to an existing indoor deployment or utilising the RAP capabilities as discussed previously can create a quick-deployment option to handle the needs or expanded and disjointed locations.

In situations where wired connectivity, or fibre may not exist between buildings meshed Wi-Fi or line-of-site point to point Wi-Fi may be a way of delivering some connectivity to that location in a hurry, maybe until a wired option can be added later on.


CDW helps to de-risk complex projects

At CDW, we have a wealth of knowledge and experience to help de-risk large projects such as this including migrating workloads to the public cloud. Our solution architects and technical experts can offer the support you need to correctly assess your current environment, plan for a successful upgrade and remove complexity. Our processes streamlined over many years has allowed us to develop methodologies which reduce the time and cost for our customers. CDW have professional services to help carry out the work on your behalf, augmenting or freeing up your own resources.

To learn more please contact your CDW Account Manager.

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Topics: Networking & Connectivity