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In 2020, work from home changed the world in every aspect imaginable and within every industry. The communications and networks industry is working to solve the world’s newly emerging problems while maintaining profitability.
The Thrills of Working from Home (or From Anywhere)
It is forecast that in 2021, notwithstanding the expected end of the pandemic, many people (but not all) will return to their offices and ditch the remote working lifestyle entirely. In contrast, there is a strong trend toward introducing a hybrid workplace model, in which an employee works from the office for only a part of the week. A recent survey for Cisco estimated that 58% of the workforce will be working from home at least 8 days a month and only 9% will fully return to offices when they finally reopen.
Moreover, more enterprises are procuring small satellite or branch locations so that employees in the suburbs do not need to travel to large and expensive center-city offices. At this point, enterprises need the digital services resources to make all this possible without losing control over their employee capabilities and digital assets.
The Power of SASE Service and Lean NFV Combined
In MEF 3.0 PoC (106), we show how to use the combination of SASE Service and Lean NFV to enable secure and effective remote employee access to company resources located in multiple clouds like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. The access is fully orchestrated and dynamic, and enables end-to-end assurance and policy through Lean NFV-based networking. The security functions are located in multiple SASE Service domains (customer premises, connectivity service provider, security provider, public cloud). The advantage: Lean NFV fosters an open market of best-of-breed virtualized components for connectivity, security, analytics, management, and other functions, which can be added and deployed dynamically without disrupting the existing infrastructure.
To set this concept within a context, let’s imagine a real-life scenario in which an employee working remotely needs to access the critical, confidential, company asset located in a public cloud, e.g., CRM. Traditionally, they would have to transport the traffic over a VPN, through the centralized backbone like enterprise headquarters, because this method allows the IT department to control access to the digital assets in the CRM. The main drawback of this solution is that it was not designed with continuous and massive use in mind. When first developed, the VPN’s main job was to allow only a fraction of the workforce to access company data for short periods of time.
Additionally, VPN service often does not come with enterprise-grade security, so additional tools and services (like management and security tools) must be procured to complement the VPN deployment. As a result, when an enterprise is trying to cope with the growing demand of remote access, purchasing additional infrastructure might end up as an expensive and an ineffective strategy. Moreover, such a complex environment is very hard to manage, especially as work often is performed not only with computers but also with tablets, smartphones, and other personal devices.
As an alternative, MEF 3.0 PoC (106) demonstrates an end-to-end SASE service, layered on multiple SD-WANs, with distributed security orchestrated using principles of Lean NFV for greater openness, agility, disaggregation, and service innovation at the Edge. As a result, the enterprise ensures that its employees can have policy-driven, zero-trust access to business resources located at multiple cloud providers.
How are we doing that?
In this joint effort, Amartus, Nefeli, Sparkle, and Versa, are closely collaborating to demonstrate this concept for the remote worker use case. Every involved party is responsible for different aspects of the final concept:
- Sparkle offers to its enterprise customers the SASE Service enabled by these technologies.
- Amartus is responsible for the integration of the complete whole solution and orchestration of end-to-end connectivity and unified security policy.
- Nefeli uses Lean NFV for dynamic and computing-efficient invocation of network functions.
- Versa provides SD-WAN and security functions.
The result of this work, MEF 3.0 PoC (106) Remote Employee Access using SASE Service and Lean NFV, will be presented during the MEF 3.0 PoC Showcase on 17 February 2021. Read more about MEF 3.0 PoC (106) >
MEF 3.0 PoC (106) is a collaborative project developed by four companies: Amartus, Nefeli Networks, (Telecom Italia) Sparkle, and Versa Networks.
Stay tuned for more information and future posts; each of the participating companies will be delivering a separate blog post related to their part of the solution.
Amartus is a leading innovator in intra- & inter-provider automation and orchestration systems and related expert services. The company is industry-recognized as a leading innovator in network transformation, underpinned by network orchestration and automation. Amartus is an active contributor to leading industry bodies, such as MEF, TMF, and CBAN.
For more information, visit amartus.com.
About MEF’s Proof of Concept Program & Showcase
The MEF 3.0 Proof of Concept program effectively fosters innovation, seeds new MEF standards and projects, and accelerates our existing work within the ICT industry by providing our members—including service providers, technology suppliers, and other stakeholders within the ICT industry—the opportunity to collaborate on MEF 3.0-based use cases throughout the year.
Initiated by MEF members and facilitated by MEF staff, each MEF 3.0 PoC receives a unique, identifying number that remains unchanged as its title and messaging evolves over the life of the project.
PoC work is highlighted in public showcases and award presentations that explore individual Proofs of Concept.
Dominik is a Solution Architect at Amartus, where he works with customers to help them identify their technical requirements and needs. He has 15 years of experience in Software Design and Project Management that he gained working for global tech and telecommunications companies. Dominik graduated in Telecommunications Engineering from AGH University of Science and Technology in 2006.
 CISCO 2020, Embracing the hybrid workplace