Ensuring that you have a high-speed, highly reliable digital connection to the world is crucial for today’s technology leaders. Business professionals are now accustomed to near-instant access to the information and platforms that they need and are increasingly unwilling to accept less than perfection when it comes to infrastructure. Unfortunately, infrastructure can be extremely expensive to rework and often needs to be modified over time or as funds allow. When you make an upfront investment in technology such as SD-WAN (Software-Driven WAN) you can make significant gains in terms of deployment time as well as the appreciation of your business peers. These benefits will help describe why SD-WAN is increasingly the choice of organizations of all sizes who need to quickly, securely and reliably connect to the internet — and each other.
SD-WAN is Scalable and Flexible
Traditional networking infrastructure is considered extremely stable, but that stability could also be considered a downside when it is time to move or scale your organization. The high upfront cost of implementing MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching) networking is primarily due to the hardware that is involved in creating an efficient flow of information between two or more locations. Data forwarding decisions with MPLS are made according to more rigid rules that drive packet-forwarding technology. Sure, MPLS is quite reliable with exceptionally low packet loss, but that efficiency is balanced with a relatively high bandwidth cost — a big problem considering today’s multimedia content, massive downloads and telecommunications needs.
By contrast, SD-WAN offers the potential of dramatically decreasing your ongoing operating costs in terms of bandwidth while also blurring the hard edges of your networking to allow for more flexible applications. Software-driven networking allows you to quickly and easily add new links without expensive changes to your hardware. Lower-priority traffic can be assigned to broadband internet to reduce the load on any legacy (and more expensive!) MPLS connections.
SD-WAN Offers Cloud-Level Security
Connecting remote offices securely with a fast connection has been difficult in the past, but SD-WAN is challenging that paradigm. Since the connections are cloud-based, this protocol easily supports SaaS applications — which are in increasing use in business today. Temporary work locations are more easily configured with added security that would have been quite challenging with aging, hardwired technology. Providing this type of unified communications platform provides for increased efficiency across the organization while providing employees with the geographic flexibility that they need to be successful. Users demand access to applications that network administrators would prefer to keep within their walled gardens, especially with the recent rise in cybercrime. Security spending is expected to top $113 billion by 2020, showing the ongoing commitment of technology teams to creating a secure and accessible infrastructure for the modern organization. SD-WAN has security baked right in, providing end-to-end encryption that requires all endpoints and devices to be fully authenticated before they are able to access the secure network.
SD-WAN Improves Branch Uptime
Network infrastructure has traditionally been more structured and mechanical, often requiring expert technicians to schedule downtime for the organization in order to make necessary updates. That means that unscheduled downtime is much more prevalent than with a software-based solution for packet routing. Human error is easily the top cause due to manual configuration errors according to a study from Avaya, often resulting in revenue loss and even the loss of jobs. SD-WAN implementations are considered less brittle due to the availability of zero-touch provisioning that reduces the costly manual touchpoints. The reduction in moving parts and touchpoints not only saves expensive technician time for reconfiguration but reduces the possibility of outages and the need for break-fix solutions.
SD-WAN Improves Network Automation
Technology leaders are always on the search for better-faster-cheaper: the trifecta that always seems to be out of reach. However, SD-WAN provides a much more attractive layer for network automation than the more rigid structures of the past. Creating an overlay allows IT network administrators to enhance productivity by automating tasks such as monitoring for the optimal connection for each portion of network traffic. Any changes to the network configuration can be centralized and easily distributed — adding to the overall performance of the system. This allows the network to be adaptable in the utilization of expensive resources. Through overlay networking, you’re able to create a discrete, virtualized trust overlay network by creating a virtual tunnel between two points that runs through the network. Each point in the network is tagged, allowing two trusted points to recognize each other and create that virtual connection that speeds data along the path without the need to physically create a connection.
With technology spending on security on the rise and the added need for high-speed connectivity, SD-WAN seems to step into the void left by high-end physical networks by providing a more flexible, scalable — and affordable — connection option for businesses today.