What to know about the basics of Network as a Service
Jan 18, 2024

What to know about the basics of Network as a Service

The truth is that Network as a Service (NaaS) has become one of those buzzwords in the current day vernacular where everyone wants it, but no one agrees necessarily on what it is.

However, it is a topic that most enterprise infrastructure leaders should investigate. And here’s why.

For years, the network has been the most underperforming asset in the IT suite with frequent disruptive outages, extended provisioning, and change delays. These are all costly and no longer tenable when the speed of business demands a network that functions critically as the backbone of the digital estate: extremely agile, scalable, secure, adaptable, and reliable.  

Obviously, there’s a dire need to change the status quo.


Enter NaaS

Some providers will tell you that NaaS is nothing new and that they have been offering it for years. We beg to differ. Simple bundling of circuits, equipment, and services to meet siloed SLAs against client-specified detailed requirements that take quarters to develop, evaluate and contract for is not NaaS. NaaS is an offering that generates business agility and value to the management from an enterprise network while requiring significantly less effort from the client. This allows scarce resources to be concentrated on higher-order business functions – rather than on infrastructure management.

When examined, NaaS is a model where network services -- including the underlying network hardware, WAN links, operating software, and managed services -- are provided on a subscription basis. It's part of the broader trend toward cloud services, where everything from software to platforms is delivered as a service.

During the past few years, the wide embrace of digital transformation initiatives has accelerated interest in NaaS to the point where today we’re well into the realm of Early Majority on the NaaS adoption curve. CIOs and their teams are eager for flexible and scalable network solutions to support legions of remote workers, respond to the linking of brand health to digital delight, and capitalize on the C-Suite’s realization that the network is where it’s at when it comes to driving business excellence at scale.

From a technology standpoint, this recent surge in NaaS adoption is facilitated by the combination of pervasive transport technologies like direct internet access and 5g, cloud computing, and SDN and NFV capabilities — the advent of which makes it possible to envision minimal hardware for network extension to the edge. And as we all know, something can’t be designed, integrated, and managed, if it can’t be envisioned. This allowed NaaS to “take off” if you will.


Here are five fundamental characteristics of NaaS

  1. Focus on Core Business: By outsourcing the complete network responsibilities to a NaaS provider, the client IT team can focus on core business activities rather than managing a complex network infrastructure. This can lead to innovation and improvements in areas that contribute directly to business growth.
  2. Delivering value-added outcomes such as flawless User Experience and Business Agility: NaaS delivers more than yesterday’s SLAs. It guarantees User Experience at the application layer on the network. Through the implementation of hyper-automation which reduces cycle times in all aspects of network management, NaaS ensures that your business operates at the speed required to innovate and not be slowed down by IT.
  3. Scalability and Flexibility: In the digital era, businesses must adapt quickly to changing market conditions. NaaS facilitates scaling network services up or down based on current needs without requiring significant capital investments in physical network infrastructure. With NaaS, you’re shifting from a capital expenditure (CapEx) model to an operational expenditure (OpEx) model. This means network services are paid for as they are used, rather than requiring heavy upfront investment in network hardware thereby freeing up capital for other strategic investments.
  4. Data-Driven Insights: A NaaS solution must offer analytics and reporting capabilities that surface insights into network performance, usage patterns, and potential areas for optimization. This information can drive strategic decisions, improve overall operational efficiency, and even include FinOps data to help manage network TCO.
  5. Enhanced Security and Compliance: The best NaaS providers invest heavily in security, offering advanced protections that might be difficult for an individual enterprise to implement. Moreover, they often have robust compliance protocols critical for a global enterprise dealing with regional regulations.

See why the NaaS bandwagon is leading the parade?


Starting your own NaaS adventure.

For a CTO or Infrastructure Lead, it’s essential to conduct a thorough due diligence when selecting a NaaS provider. Shifting to NaaS typically implies integrating with existing IT infrastructure which can be complex — and cause unwarranted disruption in service if the wrong partner is chosen. Needless to say, it’s critical to evaluate the alignment of services with your enterprise's specific needs and ensure that you don’t become overly reliant on a single provider whose proprietary technologies and configurations could limit your options in the future.

The value of guardrails.

In our experience at Microland, most customers are a little ambiguous about what they want around NaaS. They don’t want to make a binary, on/off leap to NaaS. There’s too much at stake not to have some guardrails.

When our technologists were defining what NaaS with Microland would look like, it was important to them that we support our customers’ journey to NaaS with a plug-and-play, vendor-agnostic stance that would welcome any combination of OEM stack, specification, and Tier level.

This is precisely why our version of NaaS is built on a platform-centric delivery model to ensure network services are provided in a modular, open & extensible manner. This approach keeps user experience, innovation, and business transformation at the center of network services.

Big picture: this is a shift from siloed tools and management to an integrated, centrally-managed solution that assures enterprises can confidently ease into their NaaS journey by seamlessly onboarding and integrating existing investments in tools and technologies. The Microland NaaS platform accelerates this by offering modular services that can be adopted quickly with flexibility.

Maybe try a “newfangled breath of fresh air.”

Yep, that’s a direct quote from one of our clients. And we love it. When Microland technologists talk with clients and prospects about NaaS what we hear consistently is, “You’re transparent. Your focus is on continuous service improvement. Most people stop improving or caring when their SLAs turn green…but you want to improve user experience and business outcomes and that’s different.”

The reason Microland sounds different is because we have oriented around NaaS from a “Platform First” approach to do our utmost to ensure flawless end-user experience throughout the NaaS journey — delivering XLAs while driving a transformation agenda.


Get a customized NaaS journey roadmap (Zero cost or obligation).

Chat with one of our team members to learn more about the benefits of NaaS and how Microland can develop a customized NaaS journey roadmap for your enterprise — with no cost or obligation on your part.


You might want to read this white paper about the Top Barriers to NaaS Adoption.


About the Author


Robert Wysocki, SVP - Global CSO Leader, Network & Cybersecurity, Microland 

Robert (Bob) Wysocki is the Client Solutions Leader for IT Networks and Cybersecurity. His responsibilities include driving innovation, incubating emerging technologies, and enabling customers to deploy key digital technologies for rapid business and operational transformation.

Bob is a seasoned IT evangelist with over 30 years of industry experience, gained at Fortune 20 as well as start-up organizations. During his 16 years at General Electric (GE), as an executive in Corporate Shared Services IT, he drove strong business results in numerous disciplines of procurement, product management, engineering, operations, and financial management. Bob graduated from Georgia Tech and holds a Masters in Computer Engineering from the University of Central Florida.