Since connectivity can make or break an organization these days, it has become crucial for businesses and IT leaders to use SD-WAN or software-defined wide area network that enables them to deliver experiences and applications that pass over the network securely, flexibly, and, most importantly, continuously.
SD-WAN, also known as intelligent edge network, is a software-based networking technology that offers managed solutions at the edge of any public or private network. It enables endpoints to deliver bandwidth dynamically, optimize latency, and ensure secure connectivity.
A recent survey by Futuriom indicates that 92% of businesses consider SD-WAN software and services as part of their IT plan. The results of many such surveys enable more businesses to adopt SD-WAN for benefits like reduced overhead expenses and simplified management and operation. Let’s further explore some of the major benefits of SD-WAN for enterprises.
Improves Application and Network Performance
Current traffic can easily traverse hybrid, public, multi-cloud, and private environments. Thanks to legacy networks, it moves from branch locations to dedicated data centers and vice versa through a centralized security stack.
However, this leads to network congestion, which affects application productivity and performance. Managed SD WAN, with its overlay network, separates networking hardware from the control panel using a centralized controller to set policies and reduce network congestion.
It supports the performance of bandwidth-hungry applications by prioritizing missing-critical apps. SD-WAN enables traffic to flow directly to cloud destinations and other locations instead of being routed through the data center security stack
- By acting on set policies with real-time performance of different network connections,
- By determining the optimal path for each app’s performance requirements.
Businesses can also configure SD-WAN to prioritize real-time services, such as VoIP or Voice over Internet Protocol, and business-critical traffic. By facilitating important applications through high-performance and reliable connections, IT professionals can reduce latency and packet loss issues, improving employee productivity and enhancing staff moral.
Facilitates the Cloud Architecture
More and more companies are migrating their applications to the cloud and using SaaS or Software as a Service cloud-hosted business applications, like Salesforce, Dropbox, and Microsoft 365. Companies with conventional router-based WAN architectures continue to route cloud-destined traffic from branch locations to data centers for security reasons. But, this is severely impacting the performance of cloud applications at the branch locations.
SD-WAN helps such companies adopt the flexibility of cloud architectures and improve the performance of cloud applications by routing traffic directly to the cloud using local internet breakout. Thus, workers can access cloud applications directly, regardless of location, and eliminate the added burden of traffic management.
Enhances Security and Reduces Complexities
Of course, digital transformation improves client retention and extends a business’s market reach, but it can also expose businesses to several security risks. That’s a significant concern, considering cybercrime costs can reach $10.5 trillion by 2025 from $6 trillion in 2022.
However, the good news is that SD-WAN offers in-built security, including basic VPN and firewall functions that enable IT teams to overlay security across dynamic and elastic SD-WAN connections.
SD-WAN solutions can also offer integrated security attributes, like IPS, NGFW, AV, sandboxing, and encryption capabilities to prevent downtime, data loss, legal liabilities, and regulatory violations.
Many organizations already use SD-WAN as the base for a strong SASE or Secure Access Service Edge solution. It offers secure and unified connectivity anytime and anywhere, considering Gartner estimates that more than 40% of organizations will adopt SASE by 2024.
Digital transformations can also lead to several network complexities, completely exhausted IT teams, and compromised network performance. Fortunately, SD-WAN can ease this IT challenge by simplifying WAN infrastructure, using a centralized controller to manage traffic, using broadband to offload insignificant business apps, and automating monitoring tasks.
Also, opt for SD-WAN solutions that can easily be integrated into the local branch architecture to drive management and security deep into local LAN.
Reduces IT Expenses
With the increased use of cloud-based applications among organizations, there’s an automatic increase in the amount of data traveling over WAN, leading to increased operational costs. Nevertheless, businesses can reduce it using SD-WAN, which leverages affordable connectivity options, such as broadband internet.
SD-WAN chooses the best-performing network paths by routing traffic dynamically based on company-set policies, maximizes network reliability and capacity, and reduces expenses through bandwidth optimization. It can reduce IT expenses by replacing expensive POTS or plain old telephone service lines and MPLS or multi-label protocol switching architectures.
Businesses using SD-WAN also benefit from its capability of provisioning services and connectivity from a single location, like the cloud or a headquarters, instead of spending exorbitantly on routing hardware.
Offers Visibility through Central Network Management
There’s a complete lack of flexibility among businesses that need to manage their network operations locally. Network deployment of brand-new remote sites can be challenging and may take a long time. Besides this, many corporate IT departments also do not have proper network visibility to take care of packet loss, transport throughput, jitter, and latency. In such situations, a fully managed SD-WAN can be helpful as it regularly checks network health and adapts to all changing conditions automatically, thus delivering maximum application performance. Even new business branches in varied locations can be set up easily and quickly with SD-WAN.
Not only this, SD-WAN also distributes security policy changes automatically to hundreds and thousands of branches within minutes and with the lowest chances of errors.
So, there you are! This is the perfect time to capitalize on the benefits mentioned above of SD-WAN to modernize your business network.
The SD-WAN advantages businesses can reap, including improved application performance, reduced IT expenses, lower network congestion, and proper access to cloud resources and applications, make the technology a sustainable and smart choice for all kinds of enterprises, big and small.