As I write this article, Greater Sydney is facing the distinct possibility of an extended COVID lockdown.

It reminds us that the last 12-18 months have changed the networking landscape beyond recognition - and that network management complexity and volatile network traffic and usage will continue for some time, perhaps forever.

The explosion of distributed endpoints, brought about by employees working remotely and the proliferation of destinations with applications moving to the cloud has surfaced unprecedented needs and demands on the enterprise network.

In the real world, we're again learning the hard way that mixing outside defined perimeters spreads the virus. In the network world, defined security perimeters are dissolving, creating a potential "digital pandemic." Organisations are suffering reputational damage and productivity fall-out, with many falling behind their competitors because their technology infrastructures are not robust or secure.

Because the network is the key to immediacy - to being available to your customers 100% of the time, even to creating sustainable differentiation - it has to be vaccinated against this digital pandemic. As in the real world, without that vaccination, networks will be at risk.

I think there are four "digital vaccines" that can help businesses protect themselves against the risk of this "digital pandemic," to support enterprise agility and to protect against what is, for many organisations, a dramatic change in the way they do business (and one that's still unfolding).

Be on the highway to more hyperscale data centres

Enterprise applications far and wide no longer sit on-premise. They’re physically in hyperscale data centres around the world. AWS, Google and Azure operate half the market, and the industry is expected to grow at an average of 21% per year by 2024.

Rising global internet use and increased application capabilities are no surprise and are obvious factors. So too are the consolidation of services, the expansion of online business engagement for B2B and large B2C companies, and between enterprises and partners.

Together, these fuel the demand for data centre connectivity everywhere.

There are 271 data centres in Australia, more than 50 of them being the largest hyperscale data centres. These are where apps now live. They’re highly secure and highly redundant. What does all that mean? They’re the places you have to get to reliably and with incredibly low latency.

This graph shows the average round trip latency, which is the average time required to send a packet of data to the test server and back. Superloop has the lowest latency in the market, which results in more responsive behaviour from real-time applications like video conferencing and online gaming: ACCC Report ‘Measuring Broadband Australia’ March 2021 Report (p16)

These data centres are how the internet connects together. The more you’re connected to, the better the flow of data, and the bigger your capacity to service customers. Superloop is connecting to more and more of the world’s biggest data centres for this reason.

The advantage of owned, scalable network infrastructure

Superloop has created the ‘highways’ to hyperscale data centres in Australia, which means enterprises that choose to drive on our highway get better latency and application performance.

By owning the fibre and network equipment, we are best placed to offer the consistent, quality experiences that businesses demand.

Owning the highway, rather than buying or sharing it, means we can optimise and control the business experience. We can keep adding more capacity, increase its speed, and manage a consistent experience.

If an enterprise ERP system is processing information between hubs across the Asia Pacific region, a scalable, owned network ensures it can operate reliably throughout peak-demand times, with in-built redundancy and the ability to re-route traffic if needed.

If your network provider can rapidly adjust and adapt the network, your network will be more flexible and resilient.

Physical network assets help ensure quality of service and experience. More network scale means greater capacity or bandwidth available, and that enables greater resilience.

Connect to the NBN with automated systems

The NBN delivers as promised. It has levelled the playing field for network services in Australia. As a result, it has created a new wholesale and retail network infrastructure market where network providers can compete with previous tier-one traditional telcos - good for both business and innovation.

If the government was willing to spend $50 billion on the NBN, we at Superloop were equally prepared to accept the opportunity, acknowledge the change happening in Australia, and connect to the NBN.

From day one, we went hyperscale, establishing presence at all 121 points of interconnection (POIs), with our Cisco equipment at 300 Gigabits per second capability from the very beginning, at scale.

Unlike others who have fought the change, our systems are designed to complement the NBN infrastructure and help customers get the most out of it.

Superloop Connect is an example of that. It provides streamlined access to NBN services for customers of any size through a seamless application programming interface (API).

Build capacity for tomorrow’s data explosion

Network capacity, and the ability to grow the network, have significant implications for businesses today. Those implications include the ability to digitise, the ability to differentiate, and even something as essential as the ability to deliver basic services.

But the complexity of legacy systems for many telco providers creates confusion for customers trying to scale their connectivity and evolve to cloud-based models.

Superloop is a network that’s under three years old. Designed from the start to be digital-first, agile and adaptable, with capacity 300 Gbps capability from day one to meet today’s data explosion. We were born in the cloud era.

Nearly two-thirds of executives surveyed by Deloitte believe that organisations who don’t digitise in the next five years will be “doomed”. This sounds dramatic, but I tend to agree.

With a market changing as fast as it is, overlaid with the incredible disruption and uncertainty that are increasingly still part of our COVID reality, businesses need to be able to easily scale operations up or down while communicating fast and confidently to savvy "always-on’’ customers.

This is about remaining relevant, as well as staying in business.

It's also about trust. We trust our GPs with our lives, and we listen to the advice they give us. In the digital world, businesses need to trust their network provider to feel confident about the advice they give, and the services they offer for healthy business operations now and into the future.