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Every business benefits from having the most efficient communications system that is suitable for its needs. This becomes more crucial the larger the company is, especially if there are remote branch locations and workers in the field. Solutions for WAN optimization also ease communication between different departments, such as network personnel, sales people, payroll, managers, and individual employees. The type of equipment required depends on the size, structure, and type of business. Large businesses with headquarters and branch offices typically use the Internet as the main line of communication. The Web is not always reliable, as certain sites and services can experience outages, and there are always security concerns such as intrusions and viruses. No one is immune to these threats anymore, and the first order of business is to find a centralized appliance that can handle the data traffic to support day-to-day operations. For a growing business, it is important to have a system that can handle the company’s current needs and which can scale to support future growth. It is also important that the appliance supports major business software, such as resource planning and content management systems. These software products drive all of the data integration that streamlines business operations, and can often require large amounts of storage space. The appliance must have the capacity to store and manage such data. The ease of deployment is also an imperative feature for WAN optimization. In the current economic climate, companies need to conserve resources, and the less effort it takes for IT to set up a system, the less the burden implementation will be on the staff and company uptime. Other equipment such as high-end routers speed data transfer between branch offices as well as sales and other specialists in the field. Mobile employees are becoming more prevalent, and WAN systems must be able to handle the bandwidth and security needed to support this organizational structure. Many of these systems can be managed remotely as well, just by logging in via the Internet. They can be configured by people that have the right access codes, while other users might have specific access privileges to use certain features. The network infrastructure is not complete without adequate software. An integral part of any WAN optimization initiative, software products help with communications protocol management, consolidation of data, and installation of remote systems. Other programs integrate disparate applications, offer graphical views of the network for administrators, and even help to virtualize data for implementation of cloud computing systems. Data backup is another important function for optimizing of WANs, which should always be included in the software package of the company network. Another important component, and a cost-saving one, is to find services that manage the critical operations of the network. Offloading these operations to a service provider ensures that equipment maintenance, software upgrades, and security are taken care of as a part of that service. Costs on in-house infrastructure and man-power are eliminated, with the service cost being a fraction of the expenses the company would otherwise incur. For all of these solutions, there are several major companies that are the main providers. Information on their products and services can be found throughout the Internet, while most software can be trialed and downloaded online, another time- and cost-saving benefit for growing businesses. There are numerous methods for companies to be successful these days, but perhaps the most important is WAN optimization. The equipment, software, and services involved in making the most efficient network optimize the communications and all other functions of the company, as well as ensure security for mobile businesses that are most vulnerable. Sandy Winslow is a writer on a variety of topics, including computer software and Internet communication. There is no better way for a business to handle their communication efforts throughout their network than by taking advantage of WAN optimization.
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