Trending Now: The Cloud-delivered Branch

Jul 20, 2021
4 minutes

The pandemic has changed the way customers interact with businesses. A “hands-off” approach is now the norm, and the same can be said for how businesses are changing their branch office strategies. The cloud-delivered branch offers businesses more flexibility and visibility as they secure and connect users from and to the cloud.

During the pandemic shutdown, I took the plunge of having my groceries delivered through an app, directly to my home. Although I was originally enticed by the 20% off discount the grocer provided for “first-time users”, I was actually more enthralled by the idea of how convenient and safer it would be to get my groceries delivered right to my doorstep, without any contact with a human being. Thanks to the global pandemic, my mentality of simple, day-to-day activities has completely changed. I, as a customer, now search for contactless, convenient options to get my necessities even as we are now entering the post-pandemic.

Online shopping isn’t the only thing that COVID-19 has transformed. I now find myself using the ATM or the online banking apps and tools more often. This got me thinking how businesses are reconstructing the way they architect their branch locations. Whether organizations are adopting new technology or accommodating to their customers’ needs, it’s now clear that businesses are altering how they shape their branches by pursuing a cloud-delivered approach. This new cloud-delivered branch strategy enables branch services, such as networking and security, to be delivered from the cloud.

A cloud-delivered branch architecture is a win-win for businesses especially as they continue to adopt new technology into their organization. Here at Palo Alto Networks, we discovered that by enabling a cloud-delivered approach, organizations can gain cloud scale economics. In fact, a study from the 2020 Forrester Total Economic Impact (TEI) Study shows that businesses can simplify management and gain up to 243% return on investment.

Utilizing this cloud-delivered architecture can also expedite branch turn-up times and increase security at those locations. Instead of updating or provisioning each branch location with manual configurations, administrators can simply deploy branches using the benefits of the cloud via cloud WAN management or security deployed from the cloud. With a cloud-delivered solution, customers are able to deploy branches in minutes instead of months. A customer even experienced a 12% increase in efficiency gain for branch and retail store workers. In addition to simplifying network management and deployment, organizations have also witnessed increased security. In the 2020 Forrester TEI Study, we found that customers decreased the likelihood of a data breach by 35%.

Aaron’s, a large furniture retailer provides a great use case for how implementing a cloud-delivered branch strategy can save them time and money. Currently, Aaron’s has roughly 1,300 branch locations. Now imagine the IT teams at Aaron’s needing to upgrade all 1,300 of those branch locations to the latest software release for their network. With a traditional approach, updating each site with manual configurations would take months and trying to leverage new enhancements would be a hassle for admins. With a cloud-delivered approach, the IT team can deploy point of sale systems to all 1,300 locations in 27 minutes. Updates to branch offices can be deployed just as quickly—an innovation that helps the company stay ahead of the competition.

With the industry’s first next-generation SD-WAN solution, Palo Alto Networks Prisma SD-WAN, we make it possible to easily enable this cloud-delivered branch architecture. Unlike legacy SD-WAN solutions that introduce cost and complexity, Prisma SD-WAN ensures exceptional user experience with app-defined policies and simplified network and security operations using machine-learning and automation.

See how Prisma SD-WAN can benefit your organization with our free trial.

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