Only now, upgrading or enhancing your network connectivity has required expensive and time-consuming hardware upgrades. SD-WAN is changing that.
SD-WAN simplifies WAN management and enables you to easily deploy and upgrade firewalls, routers, VPNs, and remote sites. It also enables you to manage applications and performance from a single management interface.
A business-driven SD-WAN solution combines multiple internet connections and secures each packet with a unique encryption code. This reduces the number of attack surfaces and makes it harder for hackers to access sensitive data. It also breaks up traffic into some small segments and spreads them across different lines so that even if an attacker does capture one of your lines, they will only get a fragment of your data, making it much less likely to cause serious damage.
A successful SD WAN connectivity can save a company money. For example, it can help organizations avoid expensive MPLS backhaul links that connect branch offices to headquarters by directing traffic to the Internet. This enables businesses to save on capital costs while providing reliability and performance.
Finally, an effective SD-WAN solution can help reduce support costs by reducing the frequency of technical issues. Using a proactive monitoring system that checks for network latency, jitter, bandwidth fluctuations, and more, an SD-WAN solution can detect issues before they become problems.
For some enterprises, the hard cost savings of an SD-WAN deployment can be a huge selling point for management. This is because an outage costs more than just lost revenue and productivity – it can also be a reputational disaster for many industries that trade on trust and security.
Security is an important factor in determining the success of an SD-WAN. Unlike traditional network models, which route traffic to a central headquarters before applying security services, an SD-WAN enables businesses to apply security at the edge. This allows them to protect their critical applications and data from cyber threats while keeping sensitive information off public and private networks.
SD-WAN can help protect against network outages by prioritizing application traffic, reducing latency, and improving reliability using multiple routes. An SD-WAN solution can ensure mission-critical applications remain operational by combining private and public connections to improve last-mile bandwidth, link bonding, or leveraging existing MPLS links with Internet backups.
Another way SD-WAN can help secure business operations is by providing more granular security at the branch office level. A good solution should offer an encrypted overlay network, real-time monitoring, and a policy-driven routing approach. For example, if certain data types do not pass over the Internet, an SD-WAN can create a path using internal networks.
SD-WAN solutions also enable easy deployment of technology to new sites. IT teams can ship small offices and home offices (SOHO) appliances that automatically connect to the company’s network over Internet, cellular, or satellite connections. This helps minimize labor costs and reduces opex and capex requirements. Many of these devices can host additional security functions, such as firewalls or load balancing, which some providers offer as virtual network functions (VNF).
In the networking industry, technology typically drives market changes. VoIP, Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), and virtualization shifted how network purchasing decisions were made and impacted network operations. SD-WAN has the potential to do the same but in a different way than previous disruptive technologies.
The centralized control function of SD-WAN allows traffic to be securely and intelligently routed directly across the WAN to trusted software-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service providers, dramatically improving application performance, increasing network security, and reducing costs. As a result, enterprises can rapidly accelerate their digital strategies and deliver a high-quality user experience for their employees and customers.
A business-driven SD-WAN can automate traffic steering in an app-centric manner based on business intent, which helps to prevent performance- and security-compromising human error that may otherwise occur when manually configuring firewalls or routers. It also enables networks to be more flexible and agile, supporting new ways of working by providing a means to automatically and dynamically burst traffic from the WAN to the Internet for connectivity when MPLS or other private connections fail.
Additionally, many SD-WAN solutions can deploy physical or virtual appliances that can be shipped to remote locations quickly and easily to get up and running using LTE before an organization can secure a dedicated circuit, significantly decreasing IT deployment and operational expenses. This level of flexibility and agility is especially important in a post-Covid-19 world where businesses are accelerating their digital agendas and must provide workers with access to critical applications regardless of location or connection quality.
With cloud computing booming and bandwidth demands skyrocketing, legacy WAN architectures that rely on MPLS are becoming increasingly unsuitable for organizations. They backhaul data between branch offices and headquarters, which adds latency and reduces application performance. In addition, these costly centralized hubs can be difficult to scale and upgrade as network needs change. SD-WAN offers a more flexible, cost-efficient networking solution without sacrificing quality of service.
SD-WAN eliminates the need for expensive private circuits between branch offices and headquarters by allowing traffic to be routed directly over internet broadband or wireless WAN (4G, 5G) connections. This improves performance by reducing bandwidth bottlenecks, enabling data to be accessed from a local point of presence (POP) near the branches, and lowering overall cost by offloading traffic that would otherwise be backhauled.
Inefficient routing decisions and quality of service misconfigurations can cause network congestion and slow data transfer rates. This is especially problematic in a multi-tiered architecture that relies on multiple links for communication. A business-driven SD-WAN prioritizes business-critical applications over other data and uses dynamic routing to avoid over-using a single transport link.
Integrated automation for troubleshooting can save IT teams significant time and resources by automatically rerouting or reconfiguring networks based on real-time path monitoring. Historical data can also help to predict network capacity requirements and facilitate proactive improvements. This helps businesses meet and exceed SLAs, ensuring they receive the guaranteed performance promised by their service providers and managed by their SD-WAN.