Organizations require reliable network connectivity to ensure productivity and user satisfaction regardless of location. SD-WAN provides centralized management, application performance optimization and improved resiliency.
Additionally, businesses need flexible WAN access to deploy to new branches quickly. In addition, many SD-WAN providers offer innate security features to protect networks from cyber threats.
SD-WAN solutions offer a cost advantage over traditional networking hardware vendors because virtualized applications are managed from the cloud and delivered as a service. Maintenance and management tasks, like firmware updates and software, can be automated and delivered without human intervention. This can result in a significant reduction in operational expenses for businesses. In addition, many secure SD-WAN providers like Versa Networks provide various advanced security functions, such as NGFW and UTM, integrated into their solutions. This eliminates the need to implement separate point solutions and helps reduce the recurrence of support calls.
Finally, an SD-WAN solution can increase application performance by reducing latency and ensuring that critical apps are given priority over other traffic. This is especially important for businesses that rely on online business processes. It also allows companies to use circuits that would otherwise be reserved for backup purposes, freeing up bandwidth for other applications during peak utilization. An SD-WAN solution also enables businesses to improve security by segmenting the network into virtual segments. This makes it harder for malware to spread from one network section to another, protecting sensitive data and reducing the risk of a security breach. In addition, some SD-WAN solutions come with access to threat intelligence services that can identify and block threats in real time.
The ability to scale an SD-WAN is an essential advantage businesses need to grow and expand. This is particularly important for global enterprises with offices around the globe and remote workers who depend on cloud-based applications.
Most secure SD-WAN providers offer a scalable architecture that allows businesses to add new locations to their network easily. They do this by connecting the head office to each branch via a central controller, which runs special software that manages the WAN. The controller then directs data to the right destinations, eliminating the need for costly optical fiber or LTE modem connections. Using a centralized controller also gives businesses a more effective means of monitoring and protecting their data. Many SD-WAN solutions feature advanced security capabilities, including 128- and 256-bit AES encryption to protect data in transit. In addition, most have segmentation capabilities that allow administrators to separate traffic based on application characteristics and network policies. Other features of a secure SD-WAN include WAN optimization technologies that provide a more reliable connection and reduce data transmission costs. These include network traffic compression, advanced data caching, and link pooling. Secure SD-WAN also enables businesses to prioritize applications based on real-time bandwidth and latency requirements. This results in more efficient networking and better user experience. In addition, many SD-WAN providers can support multiple connection types, from direct internet access (DI) and broadband to LTE and FTTH.
The flexibility of secure SD-WAN is unmatched by legacy WAN solutions. Management overhead has hampered traditional WANs, especially for large distributed enterprises. For example, suppose you add a new application or a location to your network. In that case, technicians have had to create virtual routing segments, modify access control lists and quality of service policies, and more to get the new applications up and running. With an SD-WAN, these changes can be made remotely and instantly, with minimal or no involvement from IT staff. SD-WANs can also support business-driven security, reducing the attack surface and improving operational efficiency. An SD-WAN with built-in microsegmentation and zero trust principles can prevent malware from spreading to other parts of the network, ensuring that sensitive data is securely accessible only by authorized users. Another benefit of secure SD-WANs is their ability to prioritize traffic and improve performance. Many digital transformation initiatives increase the complexity of networks, leading to performance issues and strained IT teams. With an SD-WAN, businesses can limit this by leveraging broadband to offload non-critical traffic and delivering high-performance connections to branch offices. When evaluating an SD-WAN provider, ask about their hardware and software offerings. You want to ensure you can select a solution compatible with your existing infrastructure that offers a simple user interface so employees don’t struggle with getting up to speed on the technology. It would help if you also asked about the vendor’s backup plans, the meantime repair, and what their customer service is like.
As data moves to the cloud and SaaS applications, the network must be fast, agile and secure. Traditional WAN architectures fail to deliver on these fronts because backhauling data between sites or users over private networks and to a centralized internet gateway introduces latency and impairs application performance. SD-WAN provides a superior connectivity solution by delivering a software-based approach to managing wide-area networks. This allows businesses to use a mix of transport services (MPLS, LTE, broadband) to create a robust and resilient overlay, eliminating the bottlenecks caused by backhauling data over private networks. The business can then “supercharge” the network using a centralized policy-based control and management of their WAN connectivity, ensuring optimum performance and resilience. Security measures are also built into SD-WAN, allowing businesses to protect data in transit over the public internet from unauthorized interception and compromise by hackers. This is a huge benefit for the modern digital business that needs to be productive and secure. Many SD-WAN providers offer security features such as VPN tunnels, next-generation firewalls and micro-segmentation of applications. However, a provider must provide a comprehensive, integrated solution versus a series of point solutions dispersed throughout the network. This will simplify deployment and central management of the SD-WAN and prevent costly and complicated licensing issues, high costs and service chaining.