Doing business across the wide brown land of Australia has its challenges, not least of which is connectivity. Of course, regional Australian businesses have it tougher in that respect than their city counterparts.
That’s why it’s understandable to hear scepticism when pitching ‘cloud-based anything’ to organisations operating out of multiple offices in areas that extend into central Australia, where the norm for many business systems remains hosted infrastructure shared via a wide area network.
However, important changes have made cloud services a more-than-rational proposition for organisations with regional offices. Australia’s ever-expanding high speed broadband network is now enabling businesses anywhere to access core services like email and productivity software through the cloud with great reliability, the most important example of this currently being Microsoft Office 365.
Additionally, software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN) are now also possible. One of the most exciting applications of which is Fortinet’s FortiGate solution, which combines business-critical networking policy and bandwidth management with industry leading firewall and security.
FortiGate Enables Connectivity
SD-WAN solutions like FortiGate exemplify the modern workplace security experience because, like Microsoft Office 365, it enables an in-office-like connectivity experience to staff wherever they work from, provided an internet connection is available.
Mark Michael, a Fortinet Account Manager for South Australia and the Northern Territory, said the shift to modern workplaces has changed both the networking and security challenge.
“The way businesses do business has changed. Now almost all business systems are deployed in the cloud,” Michael says.
“With wide area network (WAN) internet services becoming faster, cheaper and more accessible, businesses are changing their mindset and ultimately their WAN architecture. Instead of having one pipe out to the internet, every site is connected to the internet because that’s where their applications are now based.
“Traditionally, a firewall at the internet gateway would secure all the business applications and users. But once you introduce internet to all sites then you need to have the same level of security to ensure you don’t compromise your security position. Fortinet is able to do this, as well as governing your corporate network, all from the one management location.”
Taking business-critical systems into the cloud
Darwin-based geotechnical services firm HIQA has taken many of its business-critical systems into the cloud since first rolling out Office 365 a few years ago. During that journey, the company also invested in Fortinet’s FortiGate technology, which Operations Manager and ICT Coordinator Dan Gaunt says plays two critical roles: enabling a compelling company network, while simultaneously protecting it.
“As of July this year, pretty much all of the software we use is SaaS,” Gaunt says. “We don’t really have any software that requires a local installation.
“When you think about it from that perspective, I’ve got anyone from anywhere in the world potentially trying to log on to do whatever they need. With FortiGate, staff connect to the data network and automatically everyone is secure.”
Part of HIQA’s modern workforce transformation has seen it shift all of its business communications to Microsoft Teams and Telstra Calling for Office 365. This, paired with Fortinet’s technology, enables seamless and secure collaboration for HIQA’s highly mobile workforce.
“I set up a project recently, it ran on a satellite internet connection in the middle of nowhere,” Gaunt says. “These days, I just send a FortiGate and a computer out to a site, the staff plug it into a data connection and they get both security and ICT all in one. That, to me, is pure agility.”
To learn more about SD-WAN, click here.