Zscaler has published results of a survey, “Challenges and Opportunities in Enterprise Office 365 Deployments,” conducted by independent research company TechValidate. The survey reveals the challenges many enterprises experience when deploying Office 365, as well as the steps they are taking to improve user experience.
Office 365 has converted the world’s most popular business software suite into a cloud-delivered service with powerful new capabilities and productivity tools, and companies are flocking to take advantage of them. But many organisations are finding that its productivity gains are negated by poor user experience due to poor network performance, a byproduct of accessing a cloud application suite through a traditional hub-and-spoke network.
Such networks backhaul Internet-bound traffic over a wide area network (WAN) through a centralised security gateway before allowing the traffic to go to the open Internet. The shortcomings of this network configuration are compounded by Office 365, which opens 12-20 long-lasting Internet connections for each user, resulting in a slow and frustrating user experience.
The survey found that most organisations prepared for Office 365 deployments using traditional techniques such as upgrading their firewalls and increasing network bandwidth. Despite these upgrades, close to 70 per cent of organisations reported post-deployment latency and bandwidth issues on a weekly basis, with over 30 per cent experiencing problems daily.
Opportunities for Improving Office 365 Deployments
Microsoft states that Office 365 has been designed to be accessed securely and reliably via the Internet to any one of its many global data centers. Survey respondents confirmed seeing poor performance running Office 365 over their traditional hub-and-spoke network, and more than 70 per cent said that they are now planning to implement a direct-to-Internet approach to ease the burden on the network and improve performance. They are also exploring technology to intelligently allocate bandwidth to ensure that critical applications have priority over personal or entertainment applications.
“Through their own experiences, organisations are finding out that they simply cannot run a cloud application of the magnitude of Office 365 on legacy architecture,” said Punit Minocha, vice president of business development for Zscaler. “To fully leverage the power of Office 365, a majority of organisations are looking to transform their networks from traditional hub-and-spoke implementations to ones that securely access the Internet directly from branch offices. “
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