When an acquisition day 1 happens, that is typically the first opportunity a WAN circuit can be requested. The typical lead time we have experienced is around 6-9 weeks based on the business vendor and the last mile connection. Normally the connection cannot be verified without a physical assessment to the new location to ensure bandwidth - testing is started for assurance and the connectivity option is put in place. The accessibility options I have tried can allow some basic LAN capability extended to the new facility for an interim connection until the WAN link is in place.
These are my thoughts, opinions and observations working through past acquisitions while testing remote connectivity solutions.
Accessibility comes with some risks
Speed of the ISP connection - When trying to extend the LAN of the corporate environment, the biggest impact to the connection is the ISP speed. The speed of the connection is divided by the end nodes that are connecting to the network connection; 10mbps connection up and down accessed by an 10 individuals through an encryption device connecting to the parent company, will result in 750kbps up and down if lucky. This can degrade performance and cause unsatisfactory performance with the users.
Securing the connection point - Make sure the encryption device is in a secured location (locked data room with floor to ceiling isolation from the rest of the office space) and the device is also in a locked container. The container should not impede the performance of the device if it’s also a wireless access point; Polyurethane enclosures with piano hinges and lock loops are available on the market for this purpose.
Is the device a dumb appliance? - Does the device contain a configuration that could be derived if the appliance was stolen? If the device is allowing LAN connectivity, the controller at the corporate facility it is connected to must have access controls set in place to prevent access after an 8x5 M-F scenario; otherwise an information Security assessment of the usage should be performed.
Benefits of the LAN access
Fast Password management - When customers forget their passwords, the Active directory passwords need to be changed. When systems are offsite, the security file on board the systems cannot be updated. Typically, this takes a herculean effort to VPN into the company after several security measures are in place to protect it, and time and productivity will be wasted.
Rebuild systems without mail out - Rebuilding systems from an acquisition image to the parent companies is something that will defer costs of a new system until the acquire system is no longer of use. Using the LAN access, you would be able to use a reimaging method to pull the new OS and domain credentials to the system without a large amount of manual configurations and time consumed all while being secure.
Wired printers available to the enterprise - Adopting the acquired inventory prior to bringing in a WAN connection and sharing with the parent company systems is less that effective when looking at a printing strategy on two platforms. A wired printer (or wireless if 802.x authentication is permissible from the printer) allows an acquired printer to be shared to the new parent company systems if allocated.
The benefits of extending a LAN capability into a M&A shortly after being acquired is beneficial not only to increased productivity but also to support cost reductions; most acquisitions are not allocated onsite support directly after acquisition and therefore have to ship systems in and out for troubleshooting (i.e. if the service desk cannot connect or support the files that are needed off a LAN connection). Additionally some added benefits of Intel vPro technology is enabled using LAN capability; leveraging a LAN capability would increase cost reduction using new technology to remotely support these new users.
I'd be interested in hearing what remote LAN capabilities you may have used to extend your network to M&A's locally and around the world. What are some of the key learning's you walked away from the experience? Are there recommendations or other use case opportunities for LAN capability being extended not mentioned above that you have implemented?