The sheer range and diversity of services provisioned by most government organisations can make managing technology a challenge. Throw in a global pandemic, and it becomes akin to juggling live grenades while riding a unicycle across a high wire.
Government organisations were, of course, already undergoing a digital revolution before COVID-19 struck. From building smart cities to connecting communities with information, all levels of Australian government have been driving efficiencies and designing innovative service delivery models. It was a steady, planned process based on long-term digital transformation roadmaps. A year marked by lockdowns and social distancing disrupted this cycle of incremental change, and IT teams were forced to make tremendous adjustments overnight.
Fortunately, the community of Australian government IT professionals rose to the occasion in hundreds of different ways. Libraries in suburban Melbourne scheduled online activities for pre-schoolers to the elderly. Courts facilitated hearings via Microsoft Teams. From registering pets to home learning, services were quickly provided online. Staff, too, transitioned largely to working from home, and the impact on existing systems was substantial.
Undoubtedly, the first focus for IT was to make government services available. The sheer number and variety of changes was beyond anything previously experienced. A common misconception is that government IT specialists have a rather more sedate existence than their corporate counterparts, but 2020 proved once and for all that this is a fallacy. Everyone rolled up their sleeves and got on with the business of supporting the nation in its time of need.
Now, while the rest of the world wrestles with the ongoing epidemic, Australians are in the enviable position of having some semblance of normality. Still, we aren’t going to let go of the online services now available. We prefer many of our interactions with government to be completed from home. The online service genie isn’t going back into the bottle any time soon. For IT teams, that means an immense behind-the-scenes effort to revisit security and manageability long-term.
The sudden changes made for completely different patterns of network traffic than seen before. Users, whether public or staff, were interacting from many devices, with data created and stored beyond the traditional reaches of the IT department. This created three key challenges. Firstly, the potential loss of data created at the edge. Secondly, the missed opportunity of analysing and investigating that data. Thirdly, the loss of visibility that led to increased security risks. Network managers have been flat out dealing with the inevitable pressure placed on systems that were typically not designed for this type of use.
Just as technology came to the rescue when enabling the many new services rolled out, it also has some answers that address these three challenges. Where previous generation networking was not designed for this new cloud and intelligent edge era, it is no surprise that Aruba is leading the way with a new generation that gives visibility of this expanding online world.
One of the exciting elements of the new Aruba ESP range is that they enable powerful analytics at the edge, where data is created and employed. They also use this enhanced intelligence to identify behaviour patterns, making it possible to identify and fix potential network or security problems before any impact is felt. Consistent with their heritage, Aruba also adds muscle to user access, with the most advanced micro-segmentation and ID technology yet. These capabilities are equally strong across wired and Wi-Fi networks, as well as remote users in all their forms. Everything is administered via a single, cloud-based management console – so not only can the network admin see their entire world in an intuitive platform, but they can do so from home or on the go.
The impact of the tremendous changes of the last 12 months will vary by organisation, and our experts recommend a network review to identify the most pressing needs. Now, with a little more breathing space, is the time to take stock of how well your existing infrastructure can handle this new world going forwards, and prepare it for the journey ahead.
Perfekt’s team of networking experts will help identify risks and limitations, examine performance, and pinpoint opportunities. Reach out today to start your network evaluation.