For many firms, an effective and efficient wide area network (WAN) is a crucial component in the drive to be more competitive. At the same time, the need to prevent outsiders from gaining access to sensitive information is leading many IT managers to put up roadblocks on their networks.
One of the more popular is Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption, which is an effective means of keeping prying eyes off internal documents. Unfortunately, it also happens to wreak havoc on WAN optimization devices that must scan documents in order to determine the best way to relay the data.
But in the finest capitalist tradition, where there's a need, there's someone ready to fill it. As of late, a number of firms have waded into SSL optimization, the latest being Riverbed Technology, which has updated the operating system of its Steelhead WAN appliance to handle SSL traffic.
Security isn't the only thing slowing down the WAN. Increased use of video conferencing, corporate training and other high-bandwidth data are also playing a role. But again, firms like Blue Coat are forging ahead with partnerships and technology designed to slip down even the broadest of streams.
For growing firms especially, increased WAN traffic will likely require continued investment in infrastructure hardware and software. But an eye on optimization technology would help to stretch that investment to the limit.