Business and industry regulation began in the late 1800s with the railroads when Congress passed the Interstate Commerce Act. Over time, regulation has grown in both scope and form, with the U.S. building regulatory policies into a range of industries to inform how businesses and bodies were operating across commerce, telecommunications and beyond. Now, in our contemporary era, regulated industries and businesses across government, financial services, legal and insurance practices, healthcare and pharmaceuticals and even the energy sector has a lot of rules and regulations to juggle.
So, as a network provider, why are we talking about it? Well, the performance and standards within the foundational networks of these businesses are actually closely tied to their ability to meet new, aggressive standards for infrastructure security, data privacy and mobility, operational stability, service accessibility and more.
Truth be told, the security, stability, accessibility and even viability of business operations begins and ends with the network — after all, it’s the core enabler of our digital world. To align network foundations with evolving regulatory demands (not to mention growing customer and user requirements), even the most advanced organizations in these verticals need all the help they can get. With that in mind, here’s a look at four of the top network solutions regulated industries are adopting to improve compliance with new standards.
Regulated Requirements Demand Robust, Secure Connectivity
Security and information privacy is one of the biggest topics in today’s digital world — and for good reason. End users, patients, finance customers, community members and beyond are giving up more personal data than ever before in order to leverage convenient, powerful services on the go. On the business side, organizations now thrive on a wealth of user data to tailor and enrich experiences and ensure they’re getting services and tools where they need to go.
Think about it this way: There would be no telehealth or telemedicine without the ability to collect, share and transfer patient data across a digital footprint, and local governments wouldn’t be able to deliver convenient municipal service tools online for citizens without collecting user information. The same goes for mobile banking opportunities, medical studies to create new treatments or medications — the list goes on. As a result, many governing bodies (and the people they represent) are highly concerned with the aggressive protection of this data. After all, nobody wants to have this powerful, useful network of opportunities tarnished by damaging fraud or data leakage.
The best place to protect data is both at the source and across all digital endpoints. Whether it’s a computer within a doctor’s office or city hall, robust network security is key for keeping that data safe — which is why Ethernet and Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) options are king.
Both of these connectivity options are prized for their innate privacy. Ethernet’s physical connections make the system harder for bad actors to tap into and steal information, and DIA (while a virtual internet access option) is separated from other businesses’ data streams. The result is next-gen security that keeps personal, business-critical information away from prying eyes even as network footprints grow to reach new users, data centers, business locations and devices.
Connecting to New Places, Adding in Advanced (and Software-Driven) Tools
Speaking of data centers: As reliability, agility and accessibility have grown as priorities alongside security, data center connectivity has become a critical enabler for organizations in regulated industries. Yes, despite needing data to be on lockdown, the importance of sharing and moving data has increased substantially.
The services that organizations in regulated industries provide are some of the most important facets of our day-to-day life — hence why they’re watched so closely. Still, users need reliable, quick, and often constant access to these in-demand applications across government, healthcare, telecommunications and financial services. The ability to access and manage financial assets, get support from legal and insurance services or get help from a medical expert when it’s needed makes reliability and accessibility top priorities for networks. So, many businesses are turning to the cloud as a helpful ally, which means access to a data center is paramount. With the right kind of data center connectivity in place, regulated industries can empower fast, advanced applications.
Even more advanced still is the incorporation of SD-WAN into the regulated industry network. As footprints grow and add complexity to cater to new needs or policies, a software-defined connectivity approach is redefining ease and agility. Adding greater control over the entire network footprint and the data within, SD-WAN is becoming a top tool for its ability to ensure organizations can properly manage, prioritize and orchestrate data in real time with self-service options. The adaptive, intelligent value of this solution is reinventing how regulated industries stay ahead of changing requirements, adjust for increased or decreased bandwidth and institute new network policies — all while adding greater redundancy for added peace of mind.
Of course, this is just the beginning of new network needs in the era of the modern regulated business. As the landscape in which these businesses operate and serve changes, the policies that shape it will follow suit. Still, with proper networking at the core, even businesses under the strictest standards can thrive.
Want to know more about Horizon’s history of helping regulated organizations optimize network foundations? Look out for stories about how our team helped local governments, medical institutions and more in our Horizon Wins section.