Beyond the Office: The Future of Network as a Service

The only way is up

For today’s organizations, the cloud service model has become an intrinsic and irreplaceable part of the digital transformation roadmap. Despite the economic slowdown brought about by the pandemic, the ultimate cloud service model – Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) – has continued its rapid pace of growth unabated. According to MarketWatch figures recently published, projections are to surpass 50 billion USD by 2025 making NaaS one of the fastest emerging service-based solutions in a generation.  

But why? What exactly is NaaS, how does it work, and what can it do for the average business? These are the questions we’re about to unpack and answer.  

What exactly is NaaS?  

Over the past decade or more, businesses have gotten used to the so-called “as-a-service” model. Instead of purchasing a piece of software upfront then installing and maintaining it on local machines, software-as-a-service (SaaS) has allowed businesses to tap into software via the cloud that’s always up-to-date, requires no upfront investment and more importantly consumed on a usage basis, where you pay only for what you use. This “as-a-service” model has been extended to network infrastructure and capacity, which we call NaaS. Think of NaaS as applying the same principles of “cloud” (pay-as-you-use, flexibility, agility) to the network. Instead of investing in physical infrastructure and on-premise equipment to optimize network connectivity, organizations can simply tap into NaaS for an optimized, managed network experience that is tailored to their own specific business requirements.  

What’s more, the total cost of ownership is slashed because there’s no need to invest in physical on-site infrastructure or hire in-house teams to manage, monitor and maintain it. Instead, businesses can tap into NaaS via a subscription-based model and simply have it scale as they grow, making it a low-risk endeavor. NaaS is sometimes offered in addition to, or instead of, Infrastructure-as-a-Service (SaaS). The key difference is that NaaS serves to actively streamline and optimize connectivity as opposed to just providing basic access to network infrastructure.  

Why is NaaS gaining such momentum? 

Today’s “pandemic-aware” businesses know all too well the need to stay agile and fluid, and how vital it is to offer employees a remote work experience that’s on par with the in-office environment. According to Gartner, by the end of 2022 around a third of the world’s workforce will be made up of remote workers, each logging on from their office at home or wherever they happen to be in the world.  Not only does this offer greater convenience and a better work-life balance for staff, employers themselves have noted the benefits of remote working and most are only too happy to facilitate it. More than half of employers surveyed during the pandemic said they saw an increase in productivity, with more than a third noting increased efficiency, higher worker morale, and greater rates of talent retention.  

Why is this important? Because in a world where hybrid working has become the “new normal”, having the network infrastructure in place to support those hybrid teams is absolutely vital. Remote working was once a luxury; today it’s a necessity.  

How does NaaS work and what are its benefits? 

Many IT professionals would position NaaS as a logical step forward in a hybrid world, replacing the likes of VPN and MLPS connections. NaaS is an all-encompassing enterprise networking solution that offers equipment, capacity,  and proactive management as part of one recurring subscription fee. It’s low risk, has a lower total cost of ownership, and is a way for businesses to effectively futureproof themselves and ensure they always have the network their business requires at their disposal. NaaS elevates the cloud transformation journey by enabling faster connections without the need for new infrastructure, automatically utilizing the most effective and cost-efficient network connections so their business doesn’t have to worry about day-to-day operations and can focus on evolving to meet today and tomorrow’s business demands.  

NaaS represents a very important shift in how network services are delivered. Instead of organizations having to pay over the odds and settle for a one-size fits all connectivity solution, they can now tap into a bespoke networking solution that’s customer-centric and tailored to their specific business needs at a fraction of the total cost outlay. In other words, we’re seeing network architecture move from CAPEX to OPEX, giving businesses far greater control and flexibility as they scale. And that need for flexibility and control is what sets the “new normal” apart.  

About the Author

Francois Champagne is Senior Solutions Engineer at Expereo  With over 20 years of engineering experience, Francois joined Expereo as a Senior Solutions Engineer in 2020. As an expert in WAN, he has a wide breadth of knowledge around voice, video, data centre and security products. At Expereo, Francois leverages his technical knowledge to design and develop solutions and ensure compatibility for the customer. 

Featured image: ©Kentoh