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The Benefits of a SD-WAN

John McVicker

Almost every technology professional today who is considering changing their network infrastructure considers an SD-WAN.

While the market appears to be deploying SD-WAN's en masse, you need to consider the benefits of how this technology aligns with your needs.

Not every organisation suits an SD-WAN, despite how the market may be behaving. So it is worth assessing the headline benefits of an SD-WAN deployment. You need to evaluate the usefulness to your organisation and alignment with the business strategy.

The benefits of an SD-WAN to any organisation are both commercial and technical. They contribute in equal measure to the organisation. 


Reduction in Costs.

Deploying an SD-WAN can reduce costs in several ways. The introduction of zero or low-touch provisioning of new sites, users and applications. 

This automation inherently reduces costs and makes the organisation more efficient. 

With the Internet at the core and more efficient use of the existing site links, an SD-WAN may prove cheaper than an MPLS network. 

With more affordable link costs, lower volumes of data travelling across the network. Worth also noting the ubiquity of SD-WAN vendors, hardware, deployment, and services are more cost-effective. 


Reduced Complexity

With the rise of SaaS applications for many businesses, IT teams are stretched. They need to ensure secure access and integration into technical architecture. 

An SD-WAN infrastructure can help reduce that complexity and simplify the networking infrastructure. Thus enabling centralised network monitoring, simplified application control, and automated service monitoring. Complexity in network and application topology reduced. 

It also makes for a simplified architecture, easier to manage, maintain and control.


Improved Security 

Most SD-WAN providers provide security built into their service. They recognise the need to provide security at many different levels by way of:

  • Next-Generation Firewalls 
  • End-to-End Encryption
  • Endpoint Protection and IPS. 

With this in-built security, IT departments can add security tools for users, applications, and locations. 

Done to secure the network, rendering the whole solution more secure than the one it replaced. 


More Predictable Performance

Traffic across any network does not operate the same way and is not the same for all applications. 

Some applications work well one minute and not the next due to prioritisation and routing protocols. 

With an SD-WAN, applications can be prioritised so that the most important applications are given priority. 

This enables IT teams to deliver predictable and more reliable application performance. 


More Agile Business Operations

With an SD-WAN infrastructure, you can automatically route traffic to the fastest and most reliable connection. 

Common issues associated with network latency and jitter are reduced. Application performance is more predictable. 

Being application-aware, the SD-WAN infrastructure enables IT departments to rapidly deploy new applications. 

Doing so safe in the knowledge that they will perform as intended. They can also bring on new branches as the network topology requires. They can do this via any connectivity type, including mobile and set up new staff members to work quickly. 

This agility is central to the value proposition of al SD-WAN infrastructure plays. 


Easier Policy Management

The deployment of an SD-WAN simplifies one of the headaches many IT departments wrestle with. The deployment, management and enforcement of user and applications policies. It enables IT tams to allocate different policies to different user groups. 

Essentially delivering on the promise of policy-based networking. Making it easier to help manage the overall service security and performance. This ease of policy management that many IT teams recognise as a key imperative gives rise to the notion of zero-touch deployment. Bringing consistency and removing the mistakes with bringing on a new user, branch location or application. 


Templated Deployments

The network infrastructure is performing as intended. The SD-WAN user can now reduce the time and cost of deploying new users and applications through templates. 

For example, templated user onboarding, access control, application deployment and application management. This reduces the mistakes inherent with a more manual process. In turn, it reduces the time to deliver these deployments. Additionally, these templated deployments mean that costs are reduced. Separating tasks so that various technical staff are responsible for discreet duties. Rather than an approach that sees a generalist accountable for all aspects. 

It is not difficult to see why, with the headline benefits outlined, why SD-WANs are growing. Many organisations are actively considering them. 

With SD-WAN infrastructures and modern network architectures, take the pressure off IT departments. They reduce the complexity and human error associated with other networking technologies such as MPLS. 

By reducing complexity and improving control, the SD-WAN delivers a range of benefits that impact the business bottom line.

Including improved employee experience, faster employee onboarding, and overall application performance. It is also reducing the cost to deploy and manage an enhanced user and network security. 

These benefits are visible to users as the application responds faster and more predictably. For example, a Video conference does not suffer from a disrupted picture due to packet loss. 

The benefits delivered drive further and deeper adoption of the technology.

These business benefits are driving the conversation around the benefits of SD-WAN infrastructure. In doing so, it takes this technology and places it right in the heart of the organisation. 

Making the SD-WAN an essential piece of infrastructure critical to overall business success.