As more and more companies gravitate towards implementing digital workplace strategies, connectivity demands are taking centre stage. Any technology-focused company needs to supply its employees with a strong, fast, and stable company network. But, more often than not, the financial implications of upgrading a legacy hardware system can be too costly to bear thinking about.
There’s no doubt that there’s now a huge demand for flexible, scalable connectivity technology. Especially as businesses are moving towards cloud-based resources and services in their droves. So, SD-WAN technology is offering itself up as an apparent solution to the antiquated WAN systems so many businesses have in place. But, what is SD-WAN and what kind of impact does it have on businesses?
To help you get a better idea about SD-WAN, we’ve compiled all the useful bits of information you need to know before deciding whether or not to go for this technology. Alternatively, you can head over to the Tech page to find more of our blogs.
How does SD-WAN work?
Traditionally, Wide-Area Network (WAN) technology has connected office branches to central company locations or data centres through the use of special proprietary hardware. The network connections are routed via a private MPLS infrastructure, which is often expensive to maintain and develop.
Thankfully, Software-Defined Wide-Area Network (SD-WAN) technology is now helping businesses migrate these critical areas to a cloud-based platform through the use of software. Clearly, this presents businesses with huge opportunities to save money among many other benefits.
How does it affect business?
SD-WAN technology ultimately gives enterprises more flexibility as it operates without the requirement of needing expensive proprietary hardware. In addition to this, the technology can easily scale to the needs of a growing business without requiring financial investment in the same way traditional WAN systems would.
However, there are some specific areas of interest that should be taken into account if you’re considering SD-WAN for your business.
- Better business connectivity
Enterprises often make use of various connections in order to access SD-WAN, such as broadband and 4G LTE. Unlike with the traditional WAN system, SD-WAN can be accessed from any location without complicated MPLS connections having to be established. This makes opening up new branches and offices far simpler as internet connectivity can be arranged in just a few days.
- Increased security
Security is and will continue to be a significant area of interest for businesses of all sizes. Luckily, this is where SD-WAN has some advantages, as MPLS connectivity on legacy systems doesn’t normally have any permanent encryption.
On the other hand, SD-WAN providers typically bundle a wide range of security tools with their product, such as firewalls, virtual private networks (VPN), web filters, and one-time authentication in order to increase the effectiveness of their encryption. By having an all in one bundle for your security, you won’t need to look for additional third party security tools.
- It’s reliable technology
SD-WAN is looking more and more likely to totally replace MPLS connectivity in the coming years. But, that’s not stopping MPLS providers continuing to claim their product is more reliable due to their service level agreements (SLA).
However, many SD-WAN providers are now also able to offer robust service level agreements and typically have far quicker response times than legacy systems. Additionally, the numerous options for connectivity to SD-WAN means outages won’t halt your network as is the case with MPLS.
- There are financial advantages
One of the biggest pulls for enterprises thinking of making the switch to SD-WAN is the potential to make some financial savings. In the main, you’ll find that most of your savings welcome you to replace the private MPLS connection you’re currently using.
It’s important to note that broadband is a must if you’re really looking to maximise your savings. While there are some performance issues to worry about with broadband services, the potential for making huge savings because of asymmetrical products can’t be underestimated.
- Keep your contracts short
SD-WAN technology is rocketing along at a staggering pace, which can have negative implications depending on how much your chosen provider is developing their product. As it’s impossible to tell where this technology could be in only a few years, make sure you keep your contacts as short as possible to maximise your future options.
Are you still wondering what is SD-WAN or do you have other IT related questions? Contact a member of our team now to find out exactly how your business could benefit from SD-WAN or head over to our Tech page to see more our recent articles.