- NaaS is a cloud-based model that offers benefits such as scalability, flexibility, cost-efficiency, and simplified management, but also comes with challenges such as vendor lock-in, service quality, security risks, and compliance issues.
- Customers can overcome these challenges by choosing the right provider, setting clear SLAs, implementing best practices, and using tools like Cisco+.
- Cisco+ is a new offering from Cisco that provides NaaS solutions that are simple, predictable, and intelligent.
Networking-as-a-service (NaaS) is a cloud-based model that allows customers to access networking services from a provider without investing in their own infrastructure. NaaS can offer benefits such as scalability, flexibility, cost-efficiency, and simplified management. However, NaaS also comes with some challenges that customers need to be aware of and address before adopting this model. In this article, we will discuss some of the common challenges of NaaS and how to overcome them.
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One of the main challenges of NaaS is vendor lock-in, which means that customers may become dependent on a single provider for their networking needs and have difficulty switching to another one. This can limit their options, reduce their bargaining power, and expose them to potential service disruptions or price increases. To avoid vendor lock-in, customers should:
- Evaluate multiple providers and compare their features, prices, performance, reliability, and customer support.
- Choose a provider that offers open and interoperable standards and protocols that can work with other vendors and platforms.
- Negotiate flexible and transparent contracts that allow for easy termination, migration, or modification of services.
- Maintain some control over their network configuration and data and have a backup plan in case of service failure or termination.
Another challenge of NaaS is ensuring the quality of service (QoS) that meets the customer’s expectations and requirements. QoS refers to the performance and availability of the network service, such as bandwidth, latency, jitter, packet loss, uptime, and security. Since NaaS relies on the provider’s infrastructure and network conditions, customers may experience variations or degradation in QoS due to factors such as congestion, outages, maintenance, or attacks. To ensure QoS, customers should:
- Define their QoS requirements and metrics based on their network usage and applications.
- Choose a provider that can guarantee a certain level of QoS through service level agreements (SLAs) that specify the parameters, measurements, penalties, and remedies for QoS.
- Monitor and measure the actual QoS delivered by the provider using tools and reports provided by the provider or third-party services.
- Communicate with the provider regularly and report any issues or feedback regarding QoS.
A third challenge of NaaS is managing the security risks associated with outsourcing the network service to a third-party provider. Security risks include unauthorized access, data breaches, malware infections, denial-of-service attacks, or compliance violations. Since NaaS involves sharing sensitive data and network resources with the provider and other customers, customers need to ensure that their data and network are protected from internal and external threats. To mitigate security risks, customers should:
- Choose a provider that has a strong reputation and track record in providing secure networking services.
- Review the provider’s security policies, practices, certifications, audits, and incident response procedures.
- Encrypt their data in transit and at rest using strong encryption algorithms and keys.
- Implement additional security measures such as firewalls, antivirus software, VPNs, or multifactor authentication on their devices and endpoints.
- Educate their users and staff about the best practices for network security and hygiene.
A fourth challenge of NaaS is complying with the relevant laws and regulations that govern the use of networking services in different jurisdictions. Compliance issues include data privacy, data sovereignty, data retention, data disclosure, or data transfer. Since NaaS involves storing and processing data in the cloud or across borders, customers need to ensure that they comply with the applicable laws and regulations in their own country and in the countries where their provider operates. To address compliance issues, customers should:
- Choose a provider that is familiar with and adheres to the legal and regulatory frameworks in their target markets.
- Select the appropriate data location and jurisdiction options offered by the provider based on their compliance needs.
- Obtain consent from their users and customers for collecting, storing, processing, or sharing their data with the provider or other parties.
- Keep records of their data activities and transactions with the provider for audit purposes.
How Cisco+ Can Help
Cisco+ is a new offering from Cisco that provides networking-as-a-service solutions for customers who want to simplify their IT operations and achieve better business outcomes. Cisco+ offers:
- Simple: Easy to consume and use networking services with a unified experience and choice of options.
- Predictable: Highly reliable and secure networking services with cost management and predictable outcomes.
- Intelligent: Usage optimization, faster issue resolution, and business protection with built-in AI and analytics.
Cisco+ offers two solutions for customers who want to adopt NaaS: Cisco+ Hybrid Cloud and Cisco+ Secure Connect. Cisco+ Hybrid Cloud is a subscription service that provides flexible consumption for an on-premises data center infrastructure, including hardware, software, and support services. Cisco+ Secure Connect is a cloud-based secure access service edge (SASE) solution that securely connects users to applications. Both solutions are managed through a cloud-hosted dashboard that allows customers to configure, manage, and monitor their networking services and devices.
Cisco+ can help customers overcome the challenges of NaaS by providing:
- Compatibility: Cisco+ supports open and interoperable standards and protocols that can work with other vendors and platforms.
- Service Quality: Cisco+ guarantees a certain level of QoS through SLAs that specify the parameters, measurements, penalties, and remedies for QoS.
- Security Risks: Cisco+ provides secure networking services with encryption, firewalls, DDoS protection, VPNs, and multifactor authentication.
- Compliance Issues: Cisco+ adheres to the legal and regulatory frameworks in different markets and offers data location and jurisdiction options for customers.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: What is NaaS?
Answer: NaaS is a cloud-based model that allows customers to access networking services from a provider without investing in their own infrastructure.
Question: What are the benefits of NaaS?
Answer: NaaS can offer benefits such as scalability, flexibility, cost-efficiency, and simplified management.
Question: What are the challenges of NaaS?
Answer: Some of the common challenges of NaaS are vendor lock-in, service quality, security risks, and compliance issues.
Question: How can customers overcome the challenges of NaaS?
Answer: Customers can overcome the challenges of NaaS by choosing the right provider, setting clear SLAs, implementing best practices, and using tools like Cisco+.
Question: What is Cisco+?
Answer: Cisco+ is a new offering from Cisco that provides networking-as-a-service solutions for customers who want to simplify their IT operations and achieve better business outcomes.
NaaS is a promising model for customers who want to access networking services without investing in their own infrastructure. However, NaaS also comes with some challenges that customers need to be aware of and address before adopting this model. By choosing the right provider, setting clear SLAs, implementing best practices, and using tools like Cisco+, customers can overcome the challenges of NaaS and enjoy the benefits of this model.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute professional or legal advice. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Cisco or any other organization. The authors and Cisco make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability of the information in this article. Any reliance you place on such information is strictly at your own risk. In no event will the authors or Cisco be liable for any loss or damage arising from or in connection with the use of this article or any of its contents.