27 December 2018

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These Are the Top 5 SD-WAN Benefits

Business Internet Service by Tom Collins

Organizations are transferring data between environments at an unprecedented rate due to the adoption of bandwidth-hungry technologies like unified communications, big data analytics, and cloud backups. The result is a constant flow of data between on-site data centers, the cloud, branch offices, and remote workers. As traffic levels continue to skyrocket, there’s a need for IT administrators to improve the performance of their networks by allocating bandwidth and monitoring performance in real-time.

Software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) technology is emerging as a solution to simplify network management while improving costs and performance. SD-WAN provides a user-friendly administration interface and software tools to measure network performance metrics over multiple networks continually. SD-WAN solutions automate network management by allocating resources for more excellent performance and full visibility to create efficiencies.

Adopting SD-WAN can allow organizations to dramatically simplify the complex process of network performance management with a solution that can respond to real-time network performance. As an alternative to costlier MPLS technologies or less-sophisticated WAN management, SD-WAN can offer many financial and business benefits.

To learn more about this WAN management technology, we recommend SD-WAN Explained: Answering the Common Misconceptions.

The Top 5 SD-WAN Benefits for Your Business

SD-WAN benefits businesses by eliminating the need for expensive routing hardware and making it easy to provision network connectivity and cloud services in real-time. It offers flexibility for organizations to scale in real-time with smarter bandwidth allocation based on demand. Making the switch to SD-WAN can enable your organization to avoid the costs of over-provisioning or manual WAN management by optimizing your bandwidth resources.

While there are numerous technological benefits to SD-WAN, its potential impact can extend beyond IT network administrators. Outcomes such as flexibility, agility, and greater uptime are operational advantages which can improve time-to-market and profitability at your company.

1. Flexibility

SD-WAN is an easy-to-implement technology which can be overlaid on existing WAN technologies to achieve control, management, and automation. This provides the benefit of real-time performance management with features to configure networks based on application requirements or policy. This technological flexibility, as well as features for zero-touch remote provisioning, allow organizations to provision new networks, adopt cloud services, or accommodate remote workers in real-time.

Administrators can add new bandwidth based on actual need, and deploy new connections without having to be physically present. The outcome is unlimited technological ability without the delays of having to wait on the IT team to be physically present to extend WAN resources.

2. Business Agility

Before SD-WAN, organizations needed to manually deploy bandwidth to roll out connectivity at new branch locations, remote worker homes, or adopt new apps and services.

Creating a traditional WAN or performing extensive enhancements could take weeks or months if your organization needed to wait for a service provider to extend resources on-site. SD-WAN reduces the time to deployment from weeks to minutes.

3. Lower Costs

Some technologies can lead to gradual cost savings over time. Other technologies offer the potential for cost savings once a high, upfront cost is paid off. SD-WAN is not a technology which leads to incremental savings. Instead, your organization is likely to notice dramatic, immediate improvements in the cost of WAN management which can be up to 90% lower than alternatives.

SD-WAN can be much less expensive than MPLS deployments, but it can generate savings in other ways. The flexibility and automation of the solution allow organizations to utilize network resources more wisely and avoid paying for unnecessary bandwidth. If SD-WAN is purchased as a cloud solution, the upfront costs can be extremely low since there is no equipment required.

4. Uptime

Uptime and application performance are critical to the profitability of organizations in every industry. If a cloud application goes down, businesses cannot provide app services to customers or employees. Slow applications can result in employee frustration and an expensive loss of productivity. Network performance issues are common in WAN deployments due to the complexity of management associated with multimedia data transmission.

SD-WAN can have a powerful impact on uptime and application performance, particularly when it is used in conjunction with fiber-optic business internet connectivity. The reliability of SD-WAN deployments is often comparable to the packet delivery of MPLS networks at a much lower cost. When coupled with reliable data connectivity, organizations can achieve 99.999 percent or greater application availability and superior performance.

5. Security and Data Encryption

The risks of public internet connectivity have historically been a risk to organizations. SD-WANs present an advantage for data encryption and network segmentation, particularly when paired with direct cloud connectivity. This is achieved, in part, with greater visibility into network performance for administrators to detect risks in real-time and tools to encrypt WAN traffic in motion. Adopting SD-WAN can also improve the deployment of network segmentation tactics to minimize data in the event a threat actor gains access to the network.

SD-WAN offers a security characteristic known as "micro-segmentation" to address the requirements of certain business-critical data assets on premises or in the cloud. For example, your organization's HR and payroll applications may have particular security requirements due to the presence of employee financial data and social security numbers. SD-WAN overlays can allow your company to provide sufficient encryption around sensitive data and segregate these transmissions from less-sensitive multimedia data packets.

How to Take Advantage of the Benefits of SD-WAN

Can your organization benefit from making the switch to SD-WAN? If your current approach to managing your WAN network resources is costly and time-consuming, switching to a virtual, cloud-based overlay could improve visibility and automate better performance. You may also have a strong use case if you’re a multi-location business or considering the adoption of internet of things (IoT), cloud or other high-bandwidth deployments.

Not all SD-WAN solutions are created equal, and reaping the potential rewards of this technology requires finding the right product at the right price from the best vendor. Evaluate possible solutions based on ease of use and simple management, as well as the potential to integrate with your existing network infrastructure to enhance performance.

Before you decide on a provider for SD-WAN, cloud or data center services, there are some questions you should ask to ensure your investment will translate into value. To learn more, download the free eBook: 10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Data Center Services for Your Business.





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About the author:

Tom Collins (Twitter, LinkedIn) - is the Director of Enterprise Sales & Marketing for Atlantech Online. He has over 20 years of professional experience in the Internet Service Provider industry and is known for translating technology into positive results for business. A native of Washington, DC, a graduate from University of Maryland (degrees in Government & Politics and Secondary Education), Tom is also a five-time Ironman finisher.