In IT, the term “interconnection systems” is used to describe the infrastructure used to link different networks together. There are often multiple options for setting up interconnection systems. Choosing the right one for your needs, wants, and budget can make a significant difference to your outcomes. Here is a quick guide to what you need to know.
Fundamentally, all interconnection systems consist of two main components. Firstly, there is a set of common rules (protocols) that components use to communicate with each other. Secondly, there is a mechanism for this communication to take place (network infrastructure).
Additionally, there needs to be a means to manage the two main components. Choosing the right management tool(s) is as important as choosing the right protocols and hardware. Your management tool(s) will help you to get the most out of your network infrastructure.
Here are the key points to consider when setting up interconnection systems.
This is the starting point for all interconnection systems. It’s impossible to overstate the importance of the word “exactly”. Deciding which networks need to be connected to each other is just the starting point. You then need to check what protocols and technologies they use. Then you need to analyze the data flow to identify traffic patterns.
Once you have a clear snapshot of where you are now, you have two further questions to consider. Firstly, is the data you’ve captured fully representative of the way the networks are used? Most businesses have peaks and dips in their business cycles. Have you accounted for those (especially the former)?
Secondly, what are your plans for the future? What might the future bring that you haven’t planned? Would it be sensible to prepare for these now? On the one hand, building in extra capacity will increase costs (and possibly complexity) now. On the other hand, it may save money and time in the future.
Most businesses will have to negotiate at least some regulatory and/or compliance requirements. It generally makes sense to consider them as early as possible. This is because they may (heavily) influence future decisions. As with the previous point, it can also be sensible to think about the general direction of legal travel.
All the signs are that most governments around the world are becoming increasingly conscious of privacy and security. It is therefore probably safe to assume that rules in these areas will become increasingly strict. This is one reason why maximizing your investment in security can be more than justified. Spending money now means that you are less likely to be forced into an unplanned upgrade due to an unexpected rule change.
Regulations and compliance programs often form a baseline for security. They are, however, minimum standards not aspirational targets. At the same time, the level of security applied in any situation has to be proportionate to the threat.
In other words, it is not necessarily appropriate to implement the very highest levels of security. You do, however, need to ensure that your security is robust enough to be a meaningful deterrent.
The foundation of all security (not just IT security) is a combination of access controls and monitoring. Everything on top of this is really just a supplement or a complement to it (albeit often a very important one).
Access controls are particularly important in places where networks interconnect with each other. Quite simply, if (when) there is a problem on one network, you want to keep it there instead of letting it spread.
In many ways efficiency and reliability are opposites. Efficient interconnected networks leverage their resources to the absolute maximum. By doing so, however, they leave their users more vulnerable in the event of a failure.
By contrast, interconnected networks with plenty of redundancy offer the very highest levels of reliability. The price of this, however, is that, objectively, they are highly inefficient. You, therefore, need to decide where your priorities are and what this means for your use of resources.
If your plan is to use the public cloud as a backup for your own resources, you need to think about the implications of this. Firstly, it will increase the complexity of your interconnected networks. Secondly, the costs of public cloud usage need to be very carefully managed.
Think about the potential for scaling your networks in the future (both upwards and downwards). Also, think about any customizations you might need both now and in the future.
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