How to Increase Application Performance for Employees and Customers

Amr Alashaal, Regional Vice President—Middle East at A10 Networks, lists five key digital resiliency challenges that organizations face today for application delivery and offers tips on addressing them.

Digital transformation has been underway for decades, but in a fast-changing world, digital resiliency and application delivery are now a matter of survival. As the lines between office and home blur, so have the user expectations for each part of daily life. Whether people are working, taking care of personal needs, or relaxing, they need a high-quality application delivery experience for the applications they use, and security they can count on. And the impact of downtime can be devastating.

Below are five key digital resiliency challenges for application delivery that organizations are facing today and tips on how they can be addressed:

Step #1 – Delivering a Great Experience Every Time

  • Manage Performance with Visibility and AnalyticsToday’s more complex infrastructures make it harder to keep applications running at their best. To simplify management, it is important to choose an application infrastructure that is consistent across every environment, with holistic visibility into devices, applications, policies, users, and more across data centers and clouds. A layer of analytics can help reduce downtime, meet SLAs, and make changes quickly to keep pace with user expectations.
  • Act Fast on Early Warnings to Solve Problems Proactively– By the time users report a problem, the damage to the business has already begun. An application delivery solution should provide early alerts to emerging issues while avoiding false positives and reducing signal noise.
  • Global Server Load Balancing– With applications, users, and data centers distributed around the world, it is all too easy for server bottlenecks to get in the way of performance. What is recommended is the use of global server load balancing to intelligently guide application traffic to the best available site for each user, so they get the best possible service.

Step #2 – Ensure No-Excuses Application Availability
Both within the workforce and with customers, business continuity depends on keeping applications available to every user, every time. Without high availability, disaster recovery, and rapid failover across cloud providers, employees are less productive, and customers less satisfied—and the business can go off track.

  • Manage Traffic to Avoid Potholes– If a company’s servers are slow and it is unable to re-route traffic quickly, users will be affected. When a site or server slows—or fails—re-routing its application traffic quickly before users are affected is needed. Companies should use global web traffic management to assess the health and response time of each site in the environment and make intelligent adjustments on-the-fly for uninterrupted application availability.
  • Be Prepared for Disaster Recovery and Capacity Surges– Is a redundancy plan in place that can help the organization recover quickly from a data center failure and provide extra burst capacity in case of a surge? By using a public cloud environment as a backup for the on-premises data center, enterprises can provide high availability even more cost-effectively.
  • Keep Clouds Redundant too– Redundancy isn’t just for on-premises infrastructure. To protect against a failure or service problem in public cloud environments, is there a secondary environment ready to go in a different provider’s cloud, with the ability to fail over seamlessly when needed?

Step #3 – Protect Customer Data and Privacy
Make sure to maintain effective threat protection, data protection, customer privacy, and compliance across every on-premises and cloud environment.

  • Unify Security Policies Across Clouds and Data Centers– Managing security policies separately across different clouds and data centers makes it all too easy for gaps and compliance lapses to sneak in. Instead, companies should leverage a unified policy infrastructure across every platform they use, so services and applications have the same, consistent protection wherever they are deployed.
  • Carefully Manage User Application Access Across Platforms– A Zero Trust approach needs to be taken by ensuring management of authentication consistently in every user scenario while providing employees with the right level of access for their needs, especially when moving applications from tightly controlled local on-premises data centers to public clouds.
  • Build Threat Protection into the Infrastructure– It is important to weave protective measures throughout an organization’s multi-platform environment, including security analytics, DDoS protection, web application firewalls (WAFs), authentication, modern TLS/SSL encryption standards, and threat intelligence.

Step #4 – Operate More Simply and Efficiently

  • Work Smarter to Work Cheaper – Use analytics to determine the most cost-efficient ways to use available resources both on-premises and in the cloud. By providing actionable intelligence to staff, organizations can help even less experienced team members work more quickly and effectively.
  • Automate, Automate, Automate…and Simplify – Manual effort can be costly, error-prone, and inconsistent. It is important to find opportunities for automation wherever possible, across every type of environment, for more effective management at a lower cost. At the same time, simplifying operations can be done by looking for portable, customizable capacity, and self-service licensing options to provide agility to application services.
  • Put it all Behind a Single Pane of Glass, and Control – A more complex network environment calls for an efficient view into network activity. Admins should be given a single pane of glass for visibility and policy control across every part of the infrastructure, regardless of cloud provider or form factor, so they can manage it more easily and consistently to avoid mistakes.

Step #5 – Innovate at Digital Speed

  • Use a Single Set of Tools and Skills Across Platforms– It is hard to be nimble if differently things are being done in each environment an organization uses. By standardizing on automation tool sets, the learning curve for new staff can be shortened, building more consistent best practices, and working more efficiently.
  • Support DevOps and SecOps EfficacyDigital success depends on being fast without sacrificing quality. Automation can help streamline DevOps and SecOps tasks while preventing costly errors so better applications can be brought to market faster.