The Emergence of Digital Resiliency as a Priority for Enterprises, with Lumen’s Chris Rezentes
In the face of disruptions, organizations would traditionally focus on protecting core business functions or scaling back their operations until they could return to business as usual. Unfortunately, traditional resiliency and mitigation strategies have been inadequate in managing the volatility of what enterprises have experienced in recent years, and what may arise in the future.
We spoke with Chris Rezentes, Director of Product Management (Network and Collaboration) at Lumen Asia Pacific, to discuss digital resiliency and steps organizations can take to be better prepared for unforeseen impacts to the business.
Digital Resiliency and the Enterprise
Rapid technological evolution has resulted in the need for a new kind of digital resiliency.
Digital resiliency is a crucial objective for businesses, especially now that we’ve entered the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). 4IR is driven by data and applications, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to enable staggering technological feats. This evolution has enabled digitally interconnected commerce transactions, virtual interactions with supply chains, a decentralized workforce and distributed applications. The emergence of 4IR has coincided with, or perhaps acted as a catalyst for, the need for a new approach to digital resiliency.
More recently, we’ve seen a significantly increased demand for digital resiliency as we enter the third year of a global pandemic. COVID has impacted the day-to-day operations of most industries, and digital resiliency has played a significant role in helping businesses adapt to ‘the new normal’. Enterprises have had to quickly adopt new technologies and digital strategies to respond to global supply chain issues, the inability to meet with peers and clients in person and government-imposed restrictions across many industries.
As Chris says, “COVID injected a steroid shot to businesses… The pandemic, combined with the rapid technological evolution we’ve seen over the past decade with regards to Cloud applications and infrastructure, has really pushed the industry towards becoming more flexible and resilient.”
According to Chris, businesses looking to succeed within 4IR and harness the power of it must “ultimately, become data-driven and engage in the accelerating cycle of acquiring, analyzing and taking action on data”.
The dawn of the 4th Industrial Revolution, combined with the significant impact of technological advancement and COVID-19, means that agility and digital resilience are no longer a “nice to have” for businesses, but a “need to have”.
Creating a Digitally Resilient Business Ecosystem
The ability to swiftly adapt to disruptions is crucial to retaining customers and avoiding significant revenue loss. Operating in 4IR means that businesses in every industry have become significantly more reliant on digital solutions to meet their objectives. It is common practice for organizations to use technology to integrate their supply chains and interact with customers, making the consequences of network outage much more considerable. A disruption in connection can not only lead to a loss of revenue and the inability to conduct digital transactions, but can also impact customer loyalty and brand reputation.
Lumen’s view, regardless of the workload, resiliency needs to be embedded within the three core tiers of service: the application, the platform and the underlying infrastructure. Agile applications ensure that businesses can provide front-end services that meet the oscillating demand of customers. For example, companies increasingly need a combination of public and private cloud environments to support their distributed applications. They also require seamless flexibility to move data between these environments as demand fluctuates.
The demand for diversity in this space is compounded by increasing emphasis on reducing latency in next-generation applications. Edge data facilities improve user experience, mitigate lag and have become a vital component of both hybrid-cloud strategies and the adoption of emerging technologies.
Given the complexity of these evolving application requirements, businesses like Lumen turn to platform architectures to deliver business value and service evolving needs. A sophisticated platform is crucial as it provides a centralized location to store, deliver, and optimize a wide variety of information both within companies and for customers.
Finally, the underlying network infrastructure is perhaps the most crucial service tier as it connects enterprise resources, applications and data. Without a reliable network infrastructure, businesses would be unable to perform vital functions such as interacting with customers, liaising with suppliers and carrying out day-to-day operations.
While these three tiers of service operate independently, they need to seamlessly integrate and interact to achieve true digital resiliency.
The Lumen Solution
Lumen has cultivated digital resiliency through a multi-faceted approach. One of the key ways the company remains agile is by building diversity into its infrastructure.
Lumen currently has over 6000 Points of Presence (PoPs) across more than 110 countries globally. In total, the firm manages over 725,000 kilometers of fiber routes and provides more than 250 Tbps of IP capacity. Lumen has a uniquely expansive footprint, which affords them higher visibility over their network, improving their performance and mitigating the risk of disruptions.
Although Lumen has one of the largest networks in the world, no single vendor can successfully service the entire globe. Hence, another advantage of Lumen is it’s peering relationship, which consists of more than 6,400 AS interconnects globally. This ensures that customers can meet their connectivity requirements with as few vendors as possible and reduces the points of failure.
Another way Lumen achieves digital resiliency is through its platform. The Lumen Platform was purpose-built to support the possibilities of 4IR for next-generation business. The platform provides customers with the ability to run distributed applications, process data in real-time and overcome performance challenges of latency, cost, privacy and security. It achieves this by delivering a combination of market edge and on-premises capabilities, multi-cloud and low-latency solutions.
The Lumen Platform hosts integrated software-defined networking functionality, such as SD-WAN, Lumen Edge Gateway and network functions virtualization (NFV) to virtualize network services, while also integrating security services like SASE. By combining these components, Lumen can deliver a unified solution that enables its customers to manage data-intensive workloads and bring compute services closer to demand.
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Contributor: Chris Rezentes, Director, Product Management (Network and Collaboration), Lumen Asia Pacific
Chris has over 23 years of experience in the telecommunications and technology industry. In his current role at Lumen, he leads the regional product and strategy, P&L, and roadmap for Lumen’s Adaptive Networking products including IP, Ethernet, Wave, SDN, NFV, Cloud Connect, as well as Lumen’s suite of Collaboration solutions.