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'Covid-19 has nudged companies towards the cloud': Juniper Networks India MD

Customers who are cloud native or cloud-centric can run their business continuity plans more swiftly than those who are limited to their own infrastructure, says Sajan Paul, managing director and country manager, India and SAARC at Juniper Networks

Harichandan Arakali
Published: Apr 20, 2020 12:39:20 PM IST
Updated: Apr 20, 2020 05:04:23 PM IST

'Covid-19 has nudged companies towards the cloud': Juniper Networks India MDSajan Paul, MD and country manager, India and SAARC at Juniper Networks

This is part 4 of a series on how India’s biggest tech firms are helping companies deal with the Covid-19 lockdown and what their biggest challenges and opportunities are. Read previous instalments here  

Juniper Networks, the network technologies provider, has just released a solution called Enterprise at Home, which helps extend a company’s network to securely connect from employees’ homes. The technology uses a combination of customer premises equipment and AI-driven wireless gear, says Sajan Paul of Juniper Networks, in an interview with Forbes India. Edited excerpts:

Q. What are the biggest challenges (and any opportunities) your customers are facing because of the Covid-19 pandemic?
Our telecom customers have been presented with unprecedented bandwidth demands, especially for their internet side of the business. Currently, they are on a war footing to augment capacity to meet ongoing demand. For telecom providers, this presents an opportunity to serve their customers with agility.

Covid-19 has brought immense focus back to a  work from home (WFH) culture. In the case of our enterprise customers, even after the pandemic dies down, they will have to look at a systematic business continuity plan, which would include compliance related to contracts and how they are preparing to manage a long-term work-from-home scenario.

Q. How are you helping your customers tackle those challenges?
On the telecom side, we have received requests from service providers to optimise their networks. We are working closely with them to do so. In addition to this, we are doing everything possible to expedite product shipments for quicker time to execute.

For enterprises, it has become business critical to have a 100 percent business continuity plan to overcome a massive lockdown such as this. While a few already have business continuity plans in action, the aim is to be scalable and sustainable. We are also extending out-of-turn support to our customers who are running critical infrastructures in healthcare and emergency services for example.

Q. Which products and services from your company are most in demand during these times? Why?
For internet service providers, we see high demand to augment bandwidth capacity. This would mean faster turnaround time and dynamic planning and engineering efforts. We are helping customers through this journey.

We also see an increase in demand for our Mist and SRX series of product portfolio. Mist provides AI/ML-driven wired and wireless solution with enterprise class assurance, zero-touch provisioning and deep security features. SRX is our flagship security portfolio with secure remote access and a wide array of next-generation features. Juniper Networks provides a true ‘Enterprise at Home’ environment to customers of all sizes.

Q. How well were your customers prepared for the work-from-home scenario?
Our IT and IT enabled services customers were taken by surprise with this complete lockdown. Their challenge was not just connecting their workforce from home, but also providing the requisite security infrastructure that is needed to protect Intellectual property and managing productivity at large.

We just released a solution called Enterprise at Home, which is a combination of Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) and AI-driven wireless infrastructure so that we can seamlessly extend corporate infrastructure for our customers along with measures for their workforce to securely connect from home. 

Q. Are your customers accelerating their move-to-the-cloud plans during these times? Why?
Absolutely. About 60 percent to 70 percent of our customers’ business critical applications have been moved to the cloud. Customers who are cloud native or cloud-centric could run their business continuity plans more swiftly than those customers who were limited to their own infrastructure. I would say these times have also nudged more customers to move their assets to the cloud.

Most of the time, customers are apprehensive about moving to the cloud because of security concerns. Earlier, it was more of an operational expenditure discussion with our customers. However, with the Covid-19 situation, it has become a very important discussion as part of their business itself. Therefore, we have next-generation solutions that allow our customers to expand their assets across multiple clouds, through our Contrail portfolio. With the Mist and SRX series of products, we can provide enterprise-grade work-from-home infrastructure.

We are working closely with our service provider customers to tackle massive distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS), which slows down networks significantly. Our new solution, in collaboration with our Corero Networks unit, offers service providers with an intelligent DDoS protection solution that self-heals the network through rapid identification, precise decision making, automated mitigation at strategic places in the network, along with continuous monitoring.

Q. What are the biggest opportunities and challenges faced by your own company during these times?
We are on a war footing to ensure steady supply of spares and rapid problem resolution through our customer services team. Additionally, our global services team is prioritising any and all support for medical, healthcare and/or senior care customers with free premium support services. Any customer in these industries will be fully supported even if they do not have an active support or maintenance contract.

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