How to make your ICT infrastructure flexible and resilient?

Published on 05/07/2024 in Solution news

Together with customers and partners, we discussed best practices for a flexible and resilient ICT infrastructure. The key? Combining on-prem infrastructure and cloud with appropriate connectivity, smart network management, and tight security.

How to make your ICT infrastructure flexible and resilient?

To stay competitive, companies are forced to constantly question how they use technology. After all, the world around them is changing rapidly. This not only concerns what applications they use and how they use them, but also, for example, how they secure data effectively against hackers and malware. One of the biggest challenges today is remotely supporting users. “The increase in data traffic due to data-intensive applications requires networks that not only adapt to current needs in real time, but also ensure data security and a stronger network resilience,” says Tania Defraine, Director Enterprise Solutions & Platforms at Proximus NXT.

Today, traditional networks are reaching their limits. To meet the growing demand for bandwidth and guarantee low latency, Proximus NXT is not only investing in the deployment of 5G and fiber, they are also making the network intelligent. A smart network is able to anticipate data traffic, network load, and it can optimize bandwidth to ensure seamless connectivity.

Moreover, a smart network can also better secure networks and applications. "In this way, companies can manage growing data consumption and anticipate their network needs upstream." Proximus NXT is positioned as a partner that assists organizations end-to-end with every aspect of their ICT needs through hybrid connectivity, cloud, intelligent network management, and cybersecurity services.

Hybrid connectivity

Modern business operations require employees to access applications and data anytime, anywhere. Connectivity, both fixed and mobile, is a critical component of this requirement. That is why Proximus NXT is investing in hybrid gigabit connectivity, via the combination of fiber and 5G. The great advantage of fiber and 5G is obviously their high capacity and speed which is essential in a world where data consumption continues to rise rapidly.

Slicing is the big gamechanger for 5G. That is because 5G allows a specific slice of bandwidth to be reserved exclusively for a specific application. This offers a definite guarantee of operational security.

Other forms of connectivity remain in use, such as 4G and Wi-Fi, alongside fiber and 5G. In practice, it comes down to the fact that each application must be able to rely on the best form of connectivity. Managing those different forms of connectivity is a challenge in itself.

How do our customers look at their ICT infrastructure?

"Cost reduction remains a key priority. That means we need infrastructure that is agile, open, and flexible. Infrastructure that allows us to systematically replace outdated applications. In this way, we are moving more and more towards the cloud.”

- Sylvie Michiel, Purchasing Business Partner at Mutualité Chrétienne

At Proximus NXT, we bring all these forms together under the name 'hybrid connectivity'. “Crucially, we combine all the different internet and network technologies,” says Thomas Van Puyenbroeck, Strategy Manager & Business Analyst at Proximus NXT. “This is how we optimize the performance, reliability, and scalability of connectivity, each time nicely tailored to the needs of the application and the user.” Connectivity management, for example, is done via SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network).


It has become difficult to imagine contemporary business operations without relying on the cloud. The use of cloud services is expected to grow by another 20 per cent in the coming year. This is partly due to the increasing adoption of AI applications, but also due to the modernization of existing applications. The latter often involves redesigning on-premise applications for the purpose of increasing security and flexibility, for instance to respond faster to the market or cope with unexpected peak times.

But not all data and applications are suitable for the same type of cloud. For example, some data require the strict security of a private cloud while other types of applications need the scalability of the public cloud. “At Proximus, we are uniquely positioned to offer the full spectrum of cloud environments – from private and public clouds to hybrid and sovereign solutions – so that every business can find the perfect fit for its specific needs and challenges,” says Gwenaëlle Hervé, Public & Sovereign Cloud Lead at Proximus NXT.

“The public cloud offers excellent integration and management capabilities, allowing companies to maintain an overview and manage everything in one place,” Hans Verbeeck, Partner Technology Manager at Microsoft which offers a public cloud solution with Azure, clarifies. That overview is essential. “The importance of quick access to data, anytime and anywhere, is only increasing.”

With sovereign cloud, Proximus NXT is pushing forward a third form. Sovereign cloud combines the security of a private cloud with the scalability and flexibility of the public cloud. Sovereign cloud rests on three pillars: data sovereignty, operational sovereignty, and technological sovereignty.

  • Data sovereignty means that, as a company, you decide who has access to your data and who manages the encryption keys. In other words, the cloud provider cannot read your data.
  • Operational sovereignty means that you have transparency and control over the cloud provider's activities.
  • Technological sovereignty indicates the ability to make your own choices regarding technologies and innovation, regardless of the cloud provider.

How do our customers look at their ICT infrastructure?

“We have two major priorities in terms of network management and cybersecurity: data security and availability. All data must stay within our own environment. When we do share data, it has to be done very carefully. At the same time, our data must be available at all times. This is the only way we can continue to guarantee our services.”

- Mehdi Ben Hassen, Head of Department Network & Security for FOD Binnenlandse Zaken

Partnerships between global technology providers and local partners are vital for digital sovereignty to work and succeed at scale. As an IT partner, Proximus NXT profiles itself as a pioneer of the sovereign cloud by offering various options through complementary collaborations with Microsoft and Google.

Smart networks

The increasing use of cloud services has its challenges in terms of network load and congestion, regardless of whether companies opt for a public, private, hybrid, or sovereign cloud solution. Speed remains important, but the focus shifts mainly to consistent and secure performance. There cannot be any network interruptions and businesses want to have access to their data at all levels and at all times.

Smart networks ensure desired network performance and adapt to changing conditions, resulting in guaranteed and seamless connectivity and data flow. The fiber network and the integration of 5G and other mobile connectivity play an important role in this. SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) is the "softwarization" of network management, enabling intelligent routing to avoid congestion for safer, more efficient data transfer. In this way, a smart network architecture ensures greater security, efficiency, and scalability.


The integration of smart networks and hybrid connectivity significantly strengthens network and endpoint protection. Through SD-WAN, the combination of wired, wireless, and cloud-based connections provides the right connectivity solution for every scenario, each tailored to the location and nature of the data. SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) puts a security layer on top of that. This ensures a higher degree of reliability throughout the network. For instance, hybrid networks ensure that organizations run less risk of security incidents thanks to faster detection and isolation of vulnerabilities.

How do our customers look at their ICT infrastructure?

“Our entire operation is IT-driven: orders, preparation, distribution, and so on. And this around the clock, seven days a week. A downtime of even a few hours immediately causes major problems. The security of our network is therefore very important, especially in terms of data and application availability.”

- Pino Simone, IT Service Manager at Bidfood

In this smart network approach – which ensures a resilient, adaptive, and secure network environment – AI will have a crucial role to play. Proximus NXT launched its first smart network initiatives back in 2016 to capitalize on this development. This was followed in 2022 by the launch of Proximus Ada, an innovation and expertise center for AI and cybersecurity. “We offer personalized solutions based on our own expertise and our collaboration with other research centers and our customers,” says Benoît Hespel, AI Affiliates & B&B Domain Lead at Proximus Ada.

Since its inception, Proximus Ada has already worked on more than 150 use cases, which included cases on network monitoring, smart network design, customer operations, field services, and data enrichment. The goal is clear, to identify pain points and address them with AI solutions. Cybersecurity is another key area of action. “Cybercriminals are also using AI and this brings new risks,” says Benoît Hespel. "Think of drafting phishing emails or generating virus code. AI has also great added value for cybersecurity. For example, you can integrate AI into predictive analytics and threat detection.”

This increasing complexity of the ICT environment certainly does not make cybersecurity any easier. “The threat landscape is evolving very quickly,” says Olivier Menil, Strategic Advisor at Palo Alto Networks, one of Proximus NXT's security partners. “Companies cannot afford to wait to take action. This is why they are increasingly choosing to have their core ICT and cybersecurity activities managed by experts, often through external partners, in order to achieve effective solutions with less complexity.”

One integrated whole

We live and work in a world where everything is connected. Hybrid connectivity, cloud, smart networks, and cybersecurity are all part of a bigger picture. Employees of an organization want to access data and applications anytime, anywhere. They want to be able to connect to these data and applications with any device, regardless of whether they reside on-prem in their own data center or in the cloud. They also want to do so smoothly and securely.

However, as mentioned previously, all these facets rely on very different technologies. This requires very different expertise, which you as an organization may not be able to develop and monitor yourself. That is where partnering with Proximus NXT makes a difference. Through its network of partners, Proximus NXT has all the knowledge and experience needed to bring that complete, connected story into reality. This end-to-end support allows companies and organizations to direct all their focus on their business.

In June 2024, Proximus NXT organized a series of roundtable discussions, in collaboration with our clients and partners, which focused on the topic of resilience and flexibility of ICT infrastructures in companies. These in-depth discussions addressed four key topics: hybrid connectivity, the cloud, smart networks, and cybersecurity. Experts shared best practices and innovations in each of these areas. This article is the result of their shared insights.

A flexible and resilient ICT infrastructure gives your company a competitive edge. Proximus NXT offers modular solutions to make your ICT future-proof.

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