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Leveraging Cloud Connectivity for a Digitalised Experience in a ‘New Normal’

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Leveraging Cloud Connectivity for a Digitalised Experience in a ‘New Normal’ 1

By Rajat Mahajan – Hybrid Cloud Manager, GTT

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the world has experienced enormous amounts of change. The reliance on a reliable and secure connectivity infrastructure has become front and center. Over the course of the past six months, businesses across all industries, including firms within the financial services industry, have had to pivot to greater use of digital tools and ways of operating, all with the help of cloud connectivity.

Research conducted by Sapio Research late in 2019 highlighted that the move to the cloud would become the norm for businesses in 2020, as many expected to boost their cloud spend. Due to the pandemic, remote working has become key to business continuity, with employees using cloud-based collaboration services, such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom, accelerating the continued move to the cloud.

Despite cloud connectivity enabling businesses to remain connected, this in turn has put more of a strain on already stretched enterprise networks. To be able to meet the increasing demand and to be able to access cloud services securely and effectively, organisations need an efficient, low latency and resilient network infrastructure in place.

Hybrid vs. multi-cloud adoption

With businesses having to respond to the increasing demands of cloud usage, there is a drive to move towards cloud-first models. The market is embracing hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. In a survey of public cloud users conducted by industry research firm Gartner, 81% of respondents worked with two or more public cloud providers.

As businesses look to digitally transform, hybrid cloud provides flexibility and agility, allowing businesses to distribute workloads across both public (hyper-scalers) and on-premise private cloud. As a result, organisations can decide which business applications and systems are managed in the public cloud and which will function in the private cloud based on cost, data regulations, security policies and operational efficiency.

Multi-cloud works as a variant of hybrid cloud, optimising the ability to operate across multiple public clouds, such as Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud. This allows businesses to manage services across a mix of public cloud offerings.

A hybrid approach is often taken to meet regulatory and security needs across different markets and is supported by a need to drive operational efficiencies. However, the intention to adopt hybrid can often be accompanied by confusion around how to make this shift and how to correctly set up the wide area network (WAN) to support the move.

Meeting demand with a reliable foundation

Given the current climate, and challenges around cloud connectivity, organisations are increasingly thinking about how to manage the underlying network, as they move more towards cloud native applications and away from monolithic, legacy systems. Businesses are trying to understand how to support cloud applications that require greater flexibility, agility and scalability in a secure manner.

The previously cited research conducted by Sapio Research showed that 26% of IT decision makers have adopted a hybrid approach to support connectivity to cloud applications, ensuring they have the flexibility to choose the best network infrastructure option for each application.

Optimising the network to support cloud-based applications is fundamental to achieving digital transformation. As organisations migrate from a geographically concentrated data centre architecture to a more dispersed cloud architecture there is a requirement for greater network agility. To efficiently make the switch, a software defined (SD) approach is being embraced. The same research showed 68% of businesses planning to use SD-WAN as part of their future WAN strategies.

SD-WAN makes networks easier to configure so businesses can ensure traffic takes the most direct and low-latency path to mission critical applications. The SD-WAN approach is flexible and can be automated, allowing businesses to do a lot of orchestration which was difficult previously with traditional routing.

Getting what you need from SD-WAN

study by Forrester Consulting showed that an enterprise using SD-WAN can generate an ROI of 213% and investment payback period of less than six months. In order to realise the full benefits of SD-WAN without the risk of unpredictable costs and operational complexities, businesses should consider working with a managed service provider (MSP).

Going down a DIY (do-it-yourself) route may seem more cost-effective, however, businesses should be mindful of the hidden costs that can arise by choosing the DIY method including infrastructure setup, support and on-going maintenance which can significantly increase the TCO (total cost of ownership). Turning to a specialist SD-WAN solution provider to design, implement and optimise your service will positively impact the bottom line and save money in the long run.

When SD-WAN is combined with what’s commonly known as a ‘cloud connect’ service, a secure, low latency, low cost private connection that offers direct access to cloud service providers, it helps improve the performance of cloud applications by limiting any networking issues. Through fixed cloud ingress pricing models, data transfer costs are radically reduced, and cloud workloads can be accessed using connectivity that meets flexible bandwidth requirements. Working with a service provider to connect directly into the different cloud providers can mitigate much of the worry related to potential service degradation for globally dispersed users and applications.

The uptake of the cloud has no end in sight, from the events of this year that have accelerated the move to the cloud for many businesses, to the ongoing shift as organisations rebalance CapEx spending and OpEx models in line with requirements to gain elasticity and scale. As reliance increases, so will the demand for a cloud optimised network that can ensure security, resiliency, flexibility and agility.

For a seamless cloud migration it is crucial to work with the right provider that can offer network expertise, tools and services. Key considerations should include connection and integration with a secure global network, transferring workloads between private and public infrastructures and making the best use of your ICT spend.

As we progress through the different stages of health and safety precautions during this pandemic, the onus will remain on maintaining secure levels of connectivity and guaranteed performance as businesses adapt to the new normal. To prepare for the future, businesses need to leverage cloud connectivity as an integral part of their business strategy.

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First of a kind Virtual Coffee Machine app with social meeting moments to support workforce wellbeing in a remote workplace

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First of a kind Virtual Coffee Machine app with social meeting moments to support workforce wellbeing in a remote workplace 2

Powell Software’s first in a series of wellbeing technology innovations help remote employees socially connect with colleagues and keep the workplace culture alive

As the third UK lockdown continues and many countries worldwide face severe restrictions, Powell Software, a global organisation creating digital solutions and tools for the digital workplace, has launched the first of its kind Virtual Coffee Machine, an application within Microsoft Teams to ensure employees stay better connected, positively engaged and take regular breaks while working from home.

With employee wellbeing at the top of the global workforce agenda for 2021, Powell’s Virtual Coffee Machine app positively connects employees through virtual chats to maintain a culture of togetherness, even when apart.

Replacing the absence of the in-person coffee catch up, HR can swiftly set up a Virtual Coffee Machine break within any Teams channel, encouraging employees to take regular short breaks while inspiring networking and socialising between colleagues.

Matthieu Silbermann, Chief Product Officer at Powell Software said: “The effects of the Pandemic have reshaped the Digital Workplace and research has found that three quarters of employers intend to shift some employees to remote work permanently. However, with one in five remote employees naming loneliness as their top complaint regarding work from home, reinforcing togetherness needs to be a top priority.”

Take a virtual coffee

HR can set up a Virtual Coffee Machine meeting within any Teams channel defining time, frequency and date, and number of people. The app then uses an algorithm that collects data from employees registered in Powell Teams, automatically comparing outlook calendars and generating meeting invites based on the criteria of the meeting. For example, if the Virtual Coffee Machine meeting criteria was set at a maximum of five people and ten people are available to join then two meeting invitations would be sent.

Virtual Coffee Machine consciously avoids one to one or full team meetings, focusing on creating intimate, short social breaks where employees can take time out to engage with colleagues in a positive digital space.  Colleagues can also ‘travel’ to differently located virtual offices across their organisation to meet colleagues for a coffee break in different virtual buildings.

Employees are unaware of who else will join the group until the event, to encourage different team members to meet, chat and get to know each other. The app automatically books an agenda and also suggests ice breakers like ‘what was the last film you saw or book’?

If a team member does not want to or cannot join a Virtual Coffee Meeting, they simply decline the meeting invitation.

Silbermann continues: “Powell Software is passionate about connecting employees to their organisation and to each other, ensuring that they have a positive and stimulating experience at work, every day. Remote workers need to be connected, they need to feel part of the company, the culture and feel able to socialise in the hybrid or remote workplace.

“Powell’s new Virtual Coffee Machine app is all about the employee. We all miss the little social moments at the office, whether they be at the coffee machine or the cold water fountain. Coffee Machine allows us to progressively see our workplaces positively come to life again in a virtual way, promoting connectivity, collaboration and employee wellbeing. It’s part of a bigger goal and series of initiatives to bring the virtual building to life.”

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Top 5 Ways To Lose Your Video Files

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Most Video Content Created in the Summer Months, Finds Veritas Research

There are lots of reasons why you can lose video files in your system or device. While some of these problems are avoidable, others are inevitable. Simply put, it is only a matter of time before the latter problems will be experienced. The major challenge is that most people don’t understand why their video files are either missing, damaged or deleted.

Are you amongst those mentioned above? Do you always ask why a video file can get lost, deleted or damaged? Don’t waste time to rack your brain on a such topic/matter. This is because you have come to the right place. This well-researched blog will provide you all the top reasons why you are losing your video files. Before thinking about which video recovery software to start using, it is recommended you know why files are getting lost in your system.

Power outage

This is a common problem that is responsible for loss of data. However, most people are yet to discover it. Have you ever noticed any situation whereby there is sudden power outage in your system? Simply put, your system suddenly shuts down. In such case, applications and other files (photos, videos, audios and doc) will be closed without any prior warning. The implication of this is that your video files are likely to get damaged.

Top 5 Ways To Lose Your Video Files 3

You may want to argue that systems come with batteries. Therefore, there will not be a problem of power shut down. This is not true in any way as power shut down can happen due to some reasons. It could even be that your system is malfunctioning. Even when your video files are not damaged through such incident, there is every chance that your hard drive will be adversely affected.

Faulty hard drive

If your hard drive is damaged due to one reason or another, there is every chance that your video files will be lost, damaged or deleted. Most of the cases related to data losses can be traced to malfunctioning hard drive. In case you don’t know, hard drives are very fragile. They can easily become faulty because of poor handling. If your hard drive crashes, it is recommended you find out what must have led to such problem. Trying to use a data recovery tool without knowing the root cause of the problem won’t do any good.

There are numerous factors responsible for a faulty hard drive. These could be hot system, frequent crashing, constant freezing, slow processing speed, booting up issues. The longer you ignore these problems; that is how your hard drive will be further damaged. This will in turn lead to loss of video files.

Human error

The truth is that as humans, we are always bound to make mistakes. These could sometimes prove very costly since they can bring about loss of video files. There are cases when important business files have been deleted mistakenly in the past. Human errors are very common. They can bring about formatting of hard drive, data loss and repair of system.

The only way to avoid this problem is to ensure you understand files to be deleted or retained. Most people don’t read messages displayed in dialogue boxes before clicking on “Delete” buttons. This is an easy way to delete important video files without knowing.

Computer viruses

Computer virus is one of the major reasons why people lose video files. Just as the digital world is becoming increasingly popular, viruses and malware are also waxing stronger. One of the most notable causes is when you begin to explore unsecured websites. It can also happen when corrupt files are downloaded and installed in your system.

When your system has been compromised by viruses and malware, there is a very high chance of losing vital files like doc, videos, audios and photos. You will try to open these files but they won’t respond. The best way to overcome this problem is using anti-virus software. This will help to monitor your browsing habit online.

Hard drive formatting

This happens to be another major cause of data loss. Most people format their hard drive without backing up vital files. In the end, these files are lost. Without the help of a paid or free recovery software, you may struggle to get back such data.

It is recommended that you backup important video files before initiating such a process. There are lots of ways to do this. For instance, you can use an external hard drive or even store such files online. This will save you the stress of spending unnecessarily on a data recovery software.

Final words

When it comes to losing your video files, there are lots of reasons which could be responsible for such problem. The tips shared above can help you to a great extent. All you have to do is ensure they are avoided.

 

This is a Sponsored Feature.

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BNP Paribas joins forces with Orange Business Services to deploy SD-WAN for 1,800 retail sites in France

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  • Co-construction approach ensures business continuity during deployment

BNP Paribas has chosen Orange Business Services to deploy an SD-WAN solution in more than 1,800 bank branches across France. Focused on developing and integrating new digital solutions, BNP Paribas continues to provide the highest standards to improve user experience for customers and employees alike.

By integrating Flexible SD-WAN from Orange Business Services, BNP Paribas benefits from a modern and agile technological platform to accelerate its digital transformation. This enables quick and easy deployment of multiple services, such as dynamic routing and path selection, with scalability and flexibility. It also empowers administrators to monitor infrastructure performance and resolve potential network congestion through simple software modifications, thereby optimizing application performance. By deploying SD-WAN, BNP Paribas can take advantage of a fully secure hybrid network that is natively multi-cloud, multi-access and multi-application. The Bank will also benefit from optimized and centralized management and intelligent routing for its new infrastructure.

Close collaboration between business and IT for greater agility

From the start of the project, experts from Orange Business Services and BNP Paribas built the solution design together and prioritized the features to be deployed. More than 3,600 access lines—two per branch, including one Internet access line – are currently being rolled out with a focus on maintaining business continuity for each site during the migration. In addition to the SD-WAN overlay, firewalls for enhanced security are also part of this deployment.

“It was paramount for us to choose a partner who already had proven experience implementing and operating SD-WAN solutions. Orange Business Services stood out as this trusted partner. In addition to their IT expertise, the Orange teams demonstrated a great ability to understand our business challenges, and they knew what needed to be done to support our end-to-end digital transformation. This close collaboration between our teams from the very beginning of the project was one of the keys to its success and to a smooth roll out,” said Bernard Gavgani, Chief Information Officer at BNP Paribas Group.

“We are delighted to support BNP Paribas in their transformation program and deploy the first large-scale SD-WAN project in the retail banking industry for the French market. An indepth understanding of our customers’ business needs is essential to co-develop customized and innovative solutions. Orange Business Services will continue to accompany BNP Paribas’ central and local teams to learn and develop their SD-WAN skills,” said Nadine Foulon-Belkacémi, Executive Vice President, French Major Clients at Orange Business Services.

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