NaaS not only supports scalability and flexibility for businesses prone to seasonal fluctuations, it also captures customer insights that drive revenue growth.
Just as Software as a Service (SaaS) has made inroads into retail as a means of shifting IT responsibilities for applications to a third party, a similar model for networking has been gaining popularity. The Network as a Service (NaaS) model can solve the complexity created by deploying a network in a store—no matter the size—in terms of both installation and ongoing management.
Having Internet connectivity and a wireless local area network (WLAN) at any location makes a retailer responsible for security, administration, updates, modifications, scalability, and troubleshooting. Factor in the various endpoints that require connectivity—including wireless point of sale (PoS) devices and kiosks, along with identity management—and running a network becomes a complicated proposition. NaaS transfers many of these responsibilities to a third-party provider that offers a centralized network (as opposed to a WLAN) while delivering improved access to cloud-based management services and mobile enterprise solutions like apps.
In addition to the monumental task of security monitoring, the third-party provider can give retailers more to love about NaaS.
Control over allocation and bandwidth of the network
NaaS enables retailers to cost-effectively shift network responsibilities to their NaaS service provider in alignment with this cloud-service approach to applications. Coincidentally, this also increases the flexibility to support fluctuating numbers of users, mobile devices, and endpoints.
Improved security is another major benefit of moving to a NaaS model. Cybercriminals continue to mount attacks on high-profile retailers like Home Depot, Neiman Marcus, and Target and expose customer data. Cyberthreats such as malware, botnets, and ransomware are increasing in frequency and ferocity. NaaS can relieve stress on a retailer by placing cybersecurity tasks like real-time monitoring and timely patching in the provider’s hands instead.
Less time managing the network
Despite shifting network responsibilities to a service provider, NaaS can provide retailers with greater central control and visibility. This control means a retailer can have visibility across all networks from “a single pane of glass.” IT staff that can see every location in one dashboard can make better-informed decisions about allocating network resources and bandwidth. As a result, they spend less time managing the network and focus instead on strategic IT initiatives that support the customer experience and business growth.
Endless scalability options
Scalability is critical, and NaaS can provide the agility to scale up or down in a business environment prone to seasonal fluctuations. Adding or removing users from the network becomes a much simpler task. And with the advent of the pop-up store, entire locations can easily be provisioned or decommissioned centrally in a replicable “cookie cutter” model.
A Southern-based company with food service franchises around the country used Network as a Service to connect new locations seamlessly with the parent company, creating a uniform experience for guests and employees.
Connecting multiple retail locations
Connecting multiple locations can create a bigger picture for the retailer, not just in terms of network traffic and bandwidth usage, but also in consumer behavior and customer feedback. NaaS provides a platform for capturing Big Data from various endpoints, including emerging Internet of Things (IoT) applications, making it easier to intelligently invest in retail strategies that drive revenue growth.