5 Terrible Things You Should Not Do with Your SaaS/Office 365 Networking
April 18, 2017

Jason Lieblich
Exoprise

Share this

The move to cloud-based solutions like Office 365, Google Apps and others is one of the biggest fundamental changes IT professionals will undertake in the history of computing. Microsoft Office 365 already has >70 million paid subscriptions with a goal to have annualized revenue reach $20 BILLION by 2018.


The cost savings and productivity enhancements available to organizations are huge. But these savings and benefits can't be reaped without careful planning, network assessment, change management and continuous monitoring. Read on for things that you shouldn't do with your network in preparation for a move to one of these cloud providers.

1. Don't expect to keep the network the same as when everything was on-premise

Networks will need to change with the adoption of massive cloud-based services like Office 365. When all the traffic was on-premise, internal routers and network paths may have been burdened. Now that the traffic is largely external, it will stress the network differently and have different IT infrastructure dependencies. We call it "Service Delivery Chain."


You probably thought when you adopted cloud-based services like Office 365 everything was going to be easy — just give the user a browser — but that's not the case. The Service Delivery Chain — including Single-Sign-In, Azure AD, proxies, firewalls, gateways, etc. — complicates SaaS application delivery. Especially at the branch office, for mobile and telecommuters too. End-to-end application response, uptime and availability for apps like Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Skype for Business Online needs to be tested and measured.

2. Don't expect to keep all the firewalls and proxies just like before - they will need to change

This is a common initial desire for many mid-to-large enterprises — they want to proxy all the traffic between services such as Office 365, G-Suite and their end-users — no matter where they are. This is often seen at the beginning of migration to the cloud but it doesn't usually last or not in its initial form.

Proxying all your traffic for these services requires additional investment. It's more than likely your proxies will not be able to handle the additional load that the shift to cloud services places on them. You should synthesize and load-test the various Office 365 apps and workloads prior to and during a migration to Office 365. And you should make sure that your testing tools support proxies, single sign-on and the entire Service Delivery Chain.

3. Don't assume just because you route everything centrally, you don't need to measure end-to-end

Enterprise's may have had their own MPLS-routed networks in place for years. They put it in place back in the good old days of Exchange 2003 ;-). Then they go and believe that a decade-old network design will survive the shift to cloud/SaaS. Often, coincidental with this old network design, is their desire that they only monitor their central network because "everything just routes through to one place".

Talk about head meeting sand. If you're only monitoring from one location on the network, then you will have no idea what the experience is for end-users on the other side.

Additionally, routing everything centrally can be slow, expensive and less fault tolerant then if you sent secure, SSL-traffic directly over the Internet for branch offices and remote workers. Office 365 and wide-scale SaaS adoption for an organization places different demands on a network end-to-end.

4. Don't wait for direct data center connections like ExpressRoute for Office 365 or Azure

ExpressRoute is a new data center connection type that Microsoft has begun offering for fast connectivity from your own routed and VPN'd LAN to Office 365 and Azure tenants. Other SaaS providers often offer something similar.

Direct data center connections like ExpressRoute are still in their infancy and remain expensive. Customers still must backhaul their traffic from branch offices and other locations through their private WAN, into and out of the ExpressRoute colocation. While it sounds like it could make things simpler and faster, it does make the Service Delivery Chain longer and more complex where lots could go wrong that affects end-user experience.

5. Don't assume the problem is just going to be with the provider

The assumption that only providers like Microsoft, Google or Amazon are going to have problems is NOT a good way to start an organization's journey to wide-scale adoption of cloud services. You will have outages along the way and even post migration. The outages will occur within your own networks, your ISPs, your proxies, your Single Sign-On providers — everywhere. But with the right end-to-end monitoring and management you'll be able to quantify them and their consequences and hold each of the parties accountable for the Service Level Agreements they are signing up for.

Jason Lieblich is Founder and President of Exoprise.

Share this

The Latest

June 26, 2017

Many organizations are struggling to resolve customer-impacting incidents quickly enough to preserve brand loyalty and revenue, according to PagerDuty's recent State of Digital Operations Report ...

June 23, 2017

"Become the Automator, Not the Automated." While it's a simple enough phrase, it speaks directly to how today's organizations and IT teams must innovate to remain competitive. A critical aspect of innovation is acknowledging the digital transformation of businesses. The move to digitalization enables organizations to more effectively unlock the power of information technology (IT) to fuel and accelerate business innovation. It is a competitive weapon and a survival imperative ...

June 22, 2017

Executives in the US and Europe now place broad trust in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning systems, designed to protect organizations from more dynamic pernicious cyber threats, according to Radware's 2017 Executive Application & Network Security Survey ....

June 21, 2017

While IT service management (ITSM) has too often been viewed by the industry as an area of reactive management with fading process efficiencies and legacy concerns, a new study by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) reveals that, in many organizations, ITSM is becoming a hub of innovation ...

June 20, 2017

Cloud is quickly becoming the new normal. The challenge for organizations is that increased cloud usage means increased complexity, often leading to a kind of infrastructure "blind spot." So how do companies break the blind spot and get back on track? ...

June 19, 2017

Hybrid IT is becoming a standard enterprise model, but there’s no single playbook to get there, according to a new report by Dimension Data entitled The Success Factors for Managing Hybrid IT ...

June 16, 2017

Any mobile app developer will tell you that one of the greatest challenges in monetizing their apps through video ads isn't finding the right demand or knowing when to run the videos; it's figuring out how to present video ads without slowing down their apps ...

June 15, 2017

40 percent of UK retail websites experience downtime during seasonal peaks, according to a recent study by Cogeco Peer 1 ...

June 14, 2017

Predictive analytics is a popular ITOA technology that you can leverage to improve your business by leaps and bounds. Predictive analytics analyzes relationships among various data points to predict behavioral trends, growth opportunities and risks, which can add critical value to your business. Here are a few questions to help you decide if predictive analytics is right for your business ...

June 13, 2017

Many organizations are at a tipping point, as new technology demands are set to outstrip the skills supply, according to a new Global Digital Transformation Skills Study by Brocade ...