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Network
flexibility: How
co-management
can help improve
network performance

Author: Shane Schick

For IT professionals who have struggled to adapt to the changing needs of their businesses, network flexibility may sound like a contradiction in terms.

Even if you made the best possible choices when your network was initially configured, employees' and customers' expectations are constantly in flux. Traditionally, though, it has been time-consuming and complicated to alter policies once they've been set. Working with technology across multiple vendors can make it even harder.

Co-management represents an alternative approach—one where network flexibility is not only possible but likely integral to network performance and to the future of most businesses.

What is co-management?

Managed service providers can offer co-management as a tier within a particular set of products and services, such as a software-defined wide-area network (SD WAN).

Through a self-service portal, for example, customers can use co-management to define intents. These could be based on the applications their organization uses most often, the various branch offices or other sites they're operating, and even their WAN links.

Intent-based policy management translates intents into policies across network domains for application-aware routing or quality of service on a given site without worrying about specific vendors' parameters.

This offers the network flexibility and control businesses want as well as the support they sometimes need. If there are policies customers need to change that can't be supported through their portal or application programming interfaces (APIs), the managed service provider can do so directly.

Using co-management to drive network performance

Ultimately, co-management means organizations can be more agile and responsive. If the business grows in a certain area, for instance, network performance can keep pace regardless of the applications, number of sites or people involved.

Co-management also can make it easier to continue working with a range of multivendor platforms and deployments without fear they'll be mired in complexity when policies need to be reconfigured. A good example might be an initiative to improve call management, which often involves a disparate mix of technologies to manage network performance.

How to pick the right partner to help improve network flexibility and network performance

Choosing a co-management partner should take into account the managed service provider's internet backbone and its ability to integrate with major cloud providers. Ask about the level of resiliency you can expect, such as a secondary connection, to provide greater peace of mind.

Also consider the managed service provider's expertise in offering network automation to more easily provision and configure new services, even as business conditions, such as traffic volumes, fluctuate.

Of course, network flexibility should never come at the expense of greater risk to your infrastructure or your corporate data. Make sure any co-management agreement takes into account how your managed service provider can support strong cybersecurity protection across your network.

Learn more about how Verizon network services can improve network performance and make managing technology easier.