Many people believe that software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) solutions are all the same. Sure, they all enable businesses to operate with faster internet, boosted bandwidth, and better security, but the advantages are far more than that. You need to focus on three key technical areas to avoid wasting money on an SD-WAN solution that doesn’t deliver.
The scalability of an SD-WAN solution such as Versa Networks is one of its most valuable features for a business. It enables IT to deploy sites in minutes and dynamically route network traffic for optimized application performance, resiliency, and cost savings. It also helps businesses reduce the amount of data they send over leased lines, shifting more to broadband internet connections and SaaS applications. A business-driven SD-WAN can improve application performance and quality of experience (QoE) using the best available bandwidth for each critical data type compared to traditional MPLS-based WAN architectures. This helps to prevent bottlenecks that can lead to erratic application response times or outages. In addition, an SD-WAN can detect and react to real-time network conditions by monitoring network and application performance and automatically directing traffic to alternative links when necessary. A business-driven SD-WAN solution can also overcome jitter, latency, and packet loss to deliver consistent application performance, even over unreliable transport services such as VPNs, MPLS, and broadband internet connections. This scalability is crucial because users can connect to cloud applications and other network resources without experiencing latency or performance issues. In addition, the technology can prioritize traffic on a per-application basis. This will ensure that critical data always gets the highest priority while ensuring the integrity of sensitive applications.
The cost of an SD-WAN solution can vary. Organizations looking to maximize costs should consider the number of locations, how dispersed these are, and whether any are expected to increase or decrease in the next 2-5 years, primary and backup internet services, and whether to equip remote workers with a hardware gateway for wireless WAN. Other factors include how many business applications are cloud-delivered and accessible, the percentage of traffic directed to MPLS, and the type of security features needed (including a next-generation firewall, a secure web gateway, and advanced cyber threat protection). An SD-WAN can reduce network management costs by replacing expensive private circuits with cheap broadband connections and using dynamic best-path routing to optimize bandwidth use. It can also self-heal by detecting and mitigating internet impairments to ensure that business-critical applications are always available. For companies that have persisted with traditional WAN architectures, the benefits of an SD-WAN upgrade are significant and justify the investment. In addition to considering upfront hardware pricing, organizations should consider the software licensing model. With the emergence of the subscription economy, buying a managed network as a service can provide a more predictable and consistent monthly fee for all technology infrastructure needs. This model typically includes a comprehensive solution with a NextGen firewall, premium monitoring capabilities, network connectivity, and professional services.
The security measures that come with an SD-WAN solution are crucial to keeping a business safe from cyber threats. A secure SD-WAN will encrypt data transmitted across the network and provide an advanced threat prevention system based on sandboxing, real-time monitoring, and centralized management. It should also offer network segmentation so that malware introduced through one site does not spread to other locations. Security features include link-load balancing, WAN optimization, application-based routing, and path conditioning. These features help improve circuit usage efficiency while maintaining application service-level agreements across multiple underlying transport technologies, such as MPLS, broadband Internet, and cellular. Lastly, an SD-WAN should support virtualization to increase network resiliency. When choosing an SD-WAN, it is essential to take the time to carefully review and select a solution that will be able to meet your bandwidth requirements now and in the future. It is also a good idea to get a proof of concept to ensure the solution will work with your current infrastructure and be scalable for future growth.
A secure SD-WAN solution provides centralized control of connectivity and security functions. This means you can manage the entire network from a single management console, eliminating the need for on-site IT staff. This reduces operational costs and speeds up implementation times. It also helps IT teams to focus on delivering business value. An SD-WAN also ensures consistent application performance and resiliency. Its WAN optimization and automated traffic steering function prioritize data types to improve performance and reduce latency and packet loss. It also improves network security by integrating cloud-security functions such as Secure Web Gateway and CASB. It can even detect and prevent DDoS attacks. Another advantage of an SD-WAN is its ability to support various WAN connections. It can support traditional MPLS circuits, broadband internet connections, and cellular networks. Moreover, it can enable organizations to connect branch offices and remote sites directly to software-as-a-service (SaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) providers. This simplifies the WAN architecture, improves user experience, and boosts productivity. SD-WANs can help small businesses lower operational costs by providing better bandwidth usage and improving application performance. They also offer predictive analytics that reduces resolution time for network issues and helps IT specialists navigate potential outages. In addition, they provide the flexibility to choose the best WAN path for each business. They can use cost-effective options such as the public internet to connect branches and users to critical applications.