5 Ways Modern Traffic Steering Can Improve Business Performance


By Terry Bernstein, director of product management, NS1 

How organizations connect with customers and employees requires an increasingly complex array of applications. With the right infrastructure in place, these applications enable better business performance and richer interactions. Employees can access company data safely from multiple devices, or customers can interact with products and the website via a mobile app, web browser or IoT-powered device.

However, modern applications’ complexity often comes with several challenges, such as increased or unexpected cloud costs, performance limitations, and difficult to manage IT environments. Current events that are adding demand to an already strained system, further compound these hindrances, resulting in a negative impact on business. To address these issues and improve business performance, companies can adopt a modern traffic steering system, which can yield the following benefits:

Ensure maximum up time and peak performance for users

Users expect to access applications from any location and have little patience for lags, outages, or downtime. Intelligent traffic steering can be the difference between optimal user experience and a frustrating one.

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With it, companies can automatically direct traffic based upon real-time conditions, such as where users are located, server capacity, and demand currently being served at each server. It can also help bypass servers that are down in real-time. Ensuring an optimal user experience is crucial to retaining and attracting new customers.

Support your remote workforce

The pandemic sent many scrambling to support a 100% remote workforce on internal network infrastructure (i.e.,VPN) that was previously configured to support only a small percentage of employees working remotely at any one time.

Although many companies added VPN endpoints and adopted cloud tools to keep business running, many are now looking for long-term solutions. Most companies are still operating with the majority of their employees working remotely and are being challenged to keep users connected.

As companies expand network capacity for remote work, intelligent traffic steering can improve employees’ performance in the same manner that it does for customers. With it, employees are automatically steered to the nearest healthy VPN site with free capacity. This ensures employees can access the VPN without issues, making it easier for them to do their jobs.

Balance performance and cost objectives

A flexible traffic steering platform that integrates with the rest of the network ecosystem allows companies to gather real-time data on server capacities, site reliability, and performance.

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It enables companies to use this information to route around performance issues as well as balanced performance requirements with competing business considerations, such as the cost of directing a user to a specific endpoint and previous commits in place with CDNs.

With this insight, companies can easily analyze and review traffic distribution to tweak rules as needed so that user traffic is automatically distributed in the most reliable, efficient way possible.

Increase network management efficiency through automation

As a company’s network infrastructure grows more complex, the DevOps teams’ workload can quickly get out of control. To manage these systems and ensure they are functioning well, DevOps professionals are increasingly using code to automate the provisioning, configuration, and management of the network infrastructure (“infrastructure as code”).

In addition, they’re likely using multiple systems to conduct this work, all of which need to integrate with the larger network ecosystem. A flexible traffic steering platform that integrates with these systems will empower the team to use these new tools to automate network management and will scale to integrate with any new tools that come along. The move to automation, including for traffic management, improves the DevOps teams’ efficiency, helping to get their workload under control.

Create a unified application experience

Users interact with a company’s products and services across various devices (i.e., desktop browsers, IoT devices, mobile devices). To enable that access, companies disperse the network infrastructure across a hybrid mix of private data centers, public clouds and edge networks.

To link all these devices and access points seamlessly, companies need to integrate an ever-growing list of systems and services with a modern traffic steering strategy. Without that integration, it’s an insurmountable task to package applications across different clouds and data centers, or route users efficiently to the correct endpoint. With it, users gain a seamless experience accessing products and services, no matter what device they’re using or where they’re located.

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New application and workforce trends are stretching the limits of traditional application stacks. The modern application network demands a convergence in application connectivity, application delivery, and operations.

Modern traffic steering can help to boost efficiency, automate manual processes, manage usage commits and expenses, and deliver optimal application experiences for both customers and other users. As a result, businesses can maximize the ROI on their investments in technology and talent, control costs, and drive new revenue opportunities, ultimately improving business performance.

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Terry Bernstein, director of product management at NS1, is a self-described tech geek and a 20-year veteran of tech product marketing/management. He possesses a mix of experience in the smart grid, security and telecommunications industries at leading firms such as Cisco Systems, as well as several startups. Terry also holds advanced degrees in business (MBA – Haas/UC Berkeley) and computer science (BS/MS – Stanford University).