As the market landscape evolves, customer demands fluctuate and competition continues to grow, so organisations are increasingly looking towards digital transformation. However, traditional network architectures weren’t designed to support the workloads and complexities of most digital transformation initiatives. What’s more, business-critical services are typically dispersed across multiple clouds, further disrupting network performance, especially at branches.
Today, minimising overhead costs, enhancing performance, improving security and reducing complexity of networks are among some of the key things at the top of the agenda for IT teams. With this in mind, businesses are looking towards software-defined wide area networks (SD-WANs), in an effort to reduce hardware costs, improve routing, and enable multi-cloud access.
Here are some of the key ways that implementing SD-WAN can enhance business operations, without the IT headaches.
Digital transformation can be bittersweet. As much as it can increase customer satisfaction and expand market reach, it can also pose significant security threats to a business. According to Ponemon’s Digital Transformation and Cyber Risk study, 82 percent of IT security and C-level executives experienced at least one data breach when implementing new technologies and expanding the supply chain. But here’s the good news: SD-WAN solutions are security-ready and offer this as a built-in feature. The new ExtremeCloud SD-WAN offering for example, includes a built-in firewall and advanced cloud security using EdgeSentry, powered by Checkpoint. The solution allows administrators and channel partners to configure over 4,000 apps and adaptable routing of traffic to ensure high availability and low latency for demanding applications such as voice and video. Most SD-WAN solutions provide basic firewall and VPN capabilities, forcing IT teams to add security after the fact across elastic and dynamic SD-WAN connections. Meanwhile, SD-WAN solutions that provide a wide range of integrated security features, such as NGFW, IPS, encryption, antivirus, and sandboxing solutions can help prevent data loss, downtime, regulatory violations, and legal liabilities.
SD-WAN technology is enabling enterprises to simplify management by enabling customers to manage wired, wireless and SD-WAN from a single platform. Developing a digital transformation strategy can add layers of complexity to a network, resulting in poor network performance, overworked IT teams and onsite personnel at remote locations managing the local IT environment. This is where SD-WAN comes in. With this technology, IT burdens can be eased by simplifying complex WAN infrastructures, offloading non-critical business apps to broadband and automating monitoring tasks. To drive maximum security and management into the local LAN, companies should consider an SD-WAN solution that can be integrated into the local branch infrastructure.
Another benefit of SD-WAN technology is that it seeks to improve application performance, optimising up to thousands of apps and dynamically routing traffic to ensure quality experiences for critical applications, like voice and video.For instance, you can prioritise business-critical traffic as well as in-transit services such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and then direct it to the most efficient route. A reliable, high-performance connection facilitates critical applications which reduces packet loss and latency issues, ultimately increasing employee productivity and staff morale. This performance has a direct impact on business.
Cloud-based applications are increasingly being deployed over WANs, causing operating costs to rise as a result. By leveraging low-cost local Internet access, enabling cloud access directly, and reducing traffic over the backbone WAN, SD-WAN can reduce these costs. Essentially, total cost of ownership can be improved via a simple, cost-effective subscription licensing model inclusive of hardware, software, support and customer success.
When organisations are ready, they should dive deeper into this innovative technology to reap the huge business benefits that translate to a much lower total cost of ownership and support their larger SD-Branch initiatives. Layering SD-WAN into a very feature-rich cloud solution with AI/ML, analytics and secure connectivity will provide enterprises with a cost-effective and highly efficient way to manage their highly dispersed businesses. Ultimately, it’s about driving meaningful business impact and ROI by simplifying operations, removing complexity and reducing risk.