Despite multiple benefits, there are various issues which have negatively impacted the rate of adoption of SD-WAN, including scepticism about Internet performance; multiple vendors entering an already vendor-heavy market; and vendors confusing clients by implying that SDWAN is a plug and play solution which they can simply manage on their own - resulting in indecision when it comes to outsourcing the WAN.  

Of course, there is the natural resistance to change that comes with emerging technology, however, SD-WAN is a compelling option for businesses because of the cost savings, improved agility and availability, and ability to act as a risk management tool.    

Improved performance, agility and speed.

Business agility is critical, especially in the IT arena, and network complexity is one of the primary reasons why organisations implement SD-WAN solutions. The agility of SD-WAN makes it appealing as the roll out is quick, easy and standardised, with little complexity – provided its provisioned by an experienced network provider capable of central configuration. SD-WAN technology enables greater enterprise efficiencies through: managing bandwidth availability and usage, traffic routing and prioritisation and ease of administration. Mission critical applications can be prioritised and required configurations rapidly deployed for short periods of time, like month end, at the click of a button from one centralised control point.

Cost savings are optimised.

Because SD-WAN gives businesses the ability to leverage a public Internet connection, without compromising security, it offers almost immediate cost-savings to adopters - but it’s entirely dependent on use case. SD-WAN will be cost-effective for, amongst others, industries that involve project sites, retail branches and roaming brokers, and where it’s too expensive and cumbersome to deploy fibre to a temporary location. The corporate connectivity benefits of SD-WAN could be considered as the solution between pure mobile solutions, and SLA-driven MPLS WAN connectivity; thus, one must first consider the business need before deploying.

Available and ready to go.

SD-WAN technology is easily shipped overnight. It’s an instant solution that can connect to wireless mediums such as LTE and has near zero touch configuration – making it an attractive option for the onsite, timebound operations that are characteristic of the construction and engineering sector. Because SD-WAN is software-driven, it’s inexpensive, but it’s also self-provisioning, and resilient.

Better risk management.

With more control comes less risk, but because we’re using the Internet, there is an element of security risk that needs to be managed through built-in capabilities on-site. When implementing SD-WAN, the client decides on the application prioritisation and standardised configuration. Should a new virus pop up or security scare occur, we can rapidly patch those devices remotely across the network.

Who is SD-WAN right for?

Companies of all sizes are looking toward this next generation WAN technology and are attracted by the potential SD-WAN offers, but understanding the differences between SD-WAN and more traditional WAN solutions is key. Whether you’re a mid-sized business or a global enterprise, your service provider should help determine which WAN solution is right for you.

Businesses considering SD-WAN should determine whether they want to outsource their WAN to a trusted partner or build an in-house WAN competence, with the associated technical expertise and tolerance for technology complexity. The benefit of system integrators and service providers like Internet Solutions is access to specialist skills and centralised deployment of SD-WAN configurations - ensuring rapid, error-free rollout.

Decision makers must also consider the business drivers across the categories of performance, cost, availability, agility, bandwidth requirements and application architecture, and then, guided by the service provider, decide which WAN model is best for the enterprise infrastructure requirements.