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Internet Application Delivery Challenges for Enterprises (and How to Overcome Them)

Here at Akamai it's no surprise that we believe in the transformative power of the Internet. Since its early days, smart companies have taken advantage of this power (often with our help!) to enable users with the freedom to shop, stream media, and connect remotely - but many of these same companies still need to learn how to use the Internet to deliver business-critical applications.
It makes sense to be wary of availability, performance, and security challenges with the Internet; but, as the conditions of the modern enterprise environment - [globalization and the consumerization of IT in particular] {https://blogs.akamai.com/2014/11/the-performance-challenges-of-wan-architecture.html} - stretch the traditional private Wide Area Network (WAN) well beyond its designed capabilities, the Internet will continue to play a more and more important role in the fabric of the enterprise application delivery network.

As Enterprise organizations strive to embrace the trends of globalization and consumerization, the Internet offers unparalleled ubiquity, scalability, and cost effectiveness as a mode for delivering global business applications. However, for all its benefits, the Internet was not designed for the demands of business use, and you must understand the application delivery challenges present when leveraging the Internet. Among these issues are:

  • High latency: Internet latency is typically much higher than that of a private WAN, which also makes the impact of chatty protocols (which require a client or server to wait for an acknowledgement from a web application before it can transmit again) more pronounced. This will negatively impact the user experience.
  • Availability: The Internet is composed of thousands of interconnected networks, which means that it is susceptible to equipment failures and brief outages in specific locations that can cause application protocols to fail. It is also vulnerable to congestion, both coincidental and malicious. There is a significant impact to business operations when applications are unavailable.
  • Packet Loss: Internet users experience more packet loss than those on a private WAN due to the way the Border Gateway Protocol (which exchanges information between networks) makes routing decisions.
  • Visibility: The nature of the Internet as a network of networks makes it difficult for IT organizations to get visibility into the end-to-end performance of the applications they are responsible for delivering. This presents a major challenge when trying to optimize for the end-user experience.
  • Security: Without proper privacy and security measures, application data traveling over the public Internet can become susceptible to theft or corruption. The cost of a security breach continues to rise.
How can you overcome these challenges?

The best way to meet the challenges of optimizing and accelerating application delivery over the Internet is by choosing a Cloud-based Application Delivery Platform. The right application delivery solution should first take advantage content delivery technologies like route optimization, which establishes an optimal connection between user and application through the solution's distributed server network, and connection optimization, which can mitigate the effects of latency by performing optimizations such as prefetching and preloading content the user is likely to request next.

Choosing the right application delivery solutions can also provide extensive analytics capabilities. Applications are delivered directly to the user through the solution's network, which allows visibility throughout the data's journey. A Cloud-based Application Delivery Platform also provides a distributed perimeter of defense against DDoS attacks. Security issues can be mitigated by choosing application delivery solutions that are capable of integrating your existing authentication solutions to control viewable content in addition to protecting your communications with SSL/TLS. At the same time, the solution should provide robust levels of physical, network, software, and procedural security to protect your data and that of your employees and customers.

Making the Internet work for your business can be a challenge; but it's also the backbone of today's globally distributed enterprise and, with the right approach, it can provide any enterprise with the agility to innovate and adapt to changing conditions in the marketplace.

To learn more about how you can use the Internet to accelerate enterprise application delivery, download your own copy of Akamai's new eBook, A Modern Guide to Accelerating Web-based Application Delivery