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After a year of change for customers and employees (and IT infrastructures) during COVID-19, it appears distributed operations are here to stay. The question for many companies is the same: Are the remote-working and network provisions they put in place for the pandemic enough?

At NETSCOUT, we define end-user experience by its five tenets: availability, reliability, responsiveness, quality, and security. Now that the world has changed irrevocably, the network has become even more critical for businesses to function, skyrocketing the importance of these five tenets.

The Rise and Stall of the VPN

When the pandemic forced organizations to send employees home, use of the virtual private network (VPN) exploded—often to support the remote working of an entire workforce, a task the VPN was never designed for.

Deploying a VPN in this way is not only unscalable; it’s a productivity killer. One recent report found that remote access infrastructures that support remote work simply do not provide enough capacity for everyone to work effectively, causing sluggish response times, crashes, and even outages. Ultimately, this damages the productivity of your end users, delaying project timelines and increasing costs.

Delays during 2020 were understandable, but with all arrows now pointing to the remote way of working becoming “normal” and with the number of permanent remote workers expected to double in 2021, businesses must start viewing their distributed networks as core to their long-term business continuity strategies.

CX to Digital CX

A poor end-user experience can damage your employee productivity, and this can have a knock-on effect on customer experience (CX), but what about the customer’s direct online experience? During the pandemic, the digital experience became the only experience, and great network performance became a vital ingredient for customer retention.

For industries such as ecommerce, poor network performance—a lag time of two to five seconds, for example—would cause many customers to abandon ship (or cart). For sectors such as financial services, where customers have trusted the organization with their money and personal information, performance issues can be even more damaging.

The Need for Visibility

There are two sides to the new digital business continuity coin: ensuring your employees can work to the same capacity remotely as they can in the office (via VPN), and delivering an amazing, consistent digital customer experience.

Just because your teams can work remotely does not mean the job is done. As the needs and size of your internal teams and the behavior of your customers change, you need visibility across your entire network infrastructure to plan, run, and evaluate the risks of your operations.

With the new way of working becoming a permanent reality, visibility is no longer a luxury: it’s critical for ensuring the user experience is one of availability, reliability, responsiveness, and high quality while remaining secure across newly distributed environments such as hybrid clouds.

With a solution that provides real-time visibility into not only user experience but also its components of network time, server performance, and client time, IT teams can easily track down any culprits damaging performance in the network—culprits that would never appear in standard application monitoring tools or network performance monitors.

The distributed network will soon be the backbone of service deliveries across sectors. To ensure businesses continuity, companies must assure the network for the new remote future of work.

Learn more about user experience in a digital world

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