The advent of cloud computing has ushered in an era of exponential change for technology solutions and delivery models, which is a contributing factor to the digital transformation movement. As enterprises expand globally and technology rapidly evolves, IT infrastructure must be flexible and simple to deploy to provide the foundational connectivity services needed for competitive business and consumer focused products and applications. Infrastructure Managed Services providers are meeting these growing demands by delivering cloud-like services, which provide businesses a viable path to leave behind the days of expensive, resource heavy enterprise-owned data centers and connectivity services. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), and Everything-as-a-Service model is the cloud delivery promise of the modern Information Technology toolbox.
Network-as-a-Service, or NaaS, is the latest iteration of Everything-as-a-Service. NaaS is a cloud like plug-and-play network solution that often includes connectivity (e.g., DIA, MPLS, 5G, LTE, and Broadband), SD-WAN edge devices, wired and wireless LAN, and unified communications to environments ranging from large manufacturing facilities to work-from-home employees. This “last mile infrastructure” is the critical cornerstone upon which all systems, applications, business interactions and innovations must ride.
NaaS supplants the requirement for robust investment in last mile infrastructure and is especially attractive for enterprises needing to deploy and scale their networks autonomously to meet their business objectives. Infrastructure Managed Services providers are beginning to roll out a variety of NaaS offerings, but according to experts at Acuative1, not all NaaS solutions are equal.
What Exactly is NaaS (Network-as-a-Service)?
NaaS is an as-a-service model in which organizations lease their network infrastructure instead of purchasing and maintaining their own networks. NaaS is based on a recurring operating expense (OpEx) subscription model, rather than capital expenses (CapEx), providing a more predictable IT budget. NaaS includes features like SD-WAN, managed cybersecurity, unified communications, self-management portals, analytics, reports, and more. The unique envelope surrounding a NaaS solution is the design, solutioning, project management, implementation, service management, maintenance and full strategic lifecycle planning included in the monthly subscription, similar to other Cloud-based offerings.
The benefits of NaaS include:
- Controlled management of network complexity
- Flexible scalability
- Increased automation
- Removal of hefty investments in rapidly evolving technology
Current State of NaaS
NaaS is just beginning to shift the network landscape. However, in the near term, a truly automated NaaS solution still faces some challenges across all vendor offerings.2 Certain aspects of networking, such as self-management portals and dynamic scalability, continue to require some level of human processing. With interoperability challenges between legacy hardware and software found in most IT environments, the demand for significant engineering expertise and available resource time can be difficult to navigate for the internal IT organization. None-the-less, NaaS providers can be a game-changing asset for managing the increasing complexity of networking.
Although the framework is still developing, it is evident that NaaS ultimately will drastically alter the network landscape as IT departments inevitably upgrade their infrastructure.3 With NaaS, organizations can spend fewer resources on “Keep-the-lights-on” (KTLO) tasks and focus more predominantly on providing valuable innovations to customers. As pressures increase to rebalance the activities and focus of internal IT teams, alongside the maturity of cloud computing, edge networking, 5G technologies, and the rapidly evolving last mile infrastructure, more and more enterprises will likely opt out of wholly managing their own networks in favor of NaaS.
The Acuative Point of View
Acuative’s engineers and partners are at the forefront of the development of NaaS delivery as envisioned in the market. With over 35 years of experience as a provider of telecommunications, managed services, and field services, Acuative has established expertise in delivering a fully comprehensive set of infrastructure services end-to-end.
While some vendors may have the capability to provide circuit delivery, or others network operation center services (NOC), or still others may provide on-the-ground field maintenance services, few have the proven capability to coordinate and manage all of these elements of diverse networking needs for comprehensive end-to-end service.
Acuative provides a broad portfolio of connectivity offerings, wired and wireless LAN, network security, and unified communications all in an as-a-service model. As opposed to the traditional Managed Service Provider, Acuative’s NaaS offering is inclusive of engineering architecture and design, project management, implementation, days 0, 1, and 2 management, and strategic consultative business outcome alignment all combined in a subscription model.
A differentiator is the personalized service and commitment to a Customer-first mindset that the Acuative team has woven into their organizational fabric. While NaaS seeks to streamline and automate, Acuative’s human touch offers a partnership that provides an extended team to customers globally. Through a substantial badged field services group, an engineering team committed to innovation, US based service management, and a customer success arm dedicated to customer driven business outcomes, the culture of Acuative is customer at the core, with excellence in delivery.
The Acuative perspective works to create an extension of the internal IT team, with layers of expertise, around-the-clock support and consultative business acumen in a subscription model that is an additive layer to the enterprise IT organization, without the traditional capital heavy financial overhead.
Network-as-a-Service is a natural path forward for CIOs that are driving business transformation in their organization because finding balance between performance, stability, and complexity is difficult. Network and infrastructure is the critical layer that supports the delivery of business and customer innovations, applications, systems and processes, so it cannot be disregarded. Tuning today’s vital technology organization to support this evolving internal resource re-balancing from run to transformational activities requires CIOs to turn to trusted partners that can reliably support vital areas such as networking and infrastructure. The NaaS model is a natural evolution in providing last mile infrastructure in a cloud-first model for strategic and transformative technology organizations.
2 Gartner Forecasts Worldwide Public Cloud End-User Spending to Reach Nearly $600 Billion in 2023. (2022, October 31). Gartner. https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2022-10-31-gartner-forecasts-worldwide-public-cloud-end-user-spending-to-reach-nearly-600-billion-in-2023
3What to Expect from Network as a Service (NaaS) Technology. (2022, February 4). Network Computing. https://www.networkcomputing.com/networking/what-expect-network-service-naas-technology