Businesses use more cloud applications, requiring high-speed connectivity that traditional networking solutions can’t deliver. Enter SD-WAN. An SD-WAN solution can provide better performance and cost savings for your organization. It can prioritize critical applications, route traffic over the most efficient paths, and improve bandwidth by combining Internet backup connections via link bonding.

Reduced Costs

Managing the vast area network (WAN) has long been one of an IT budget’s most expensive and inflexible items. Removing legacy private WAN connectivity and replacing it with SD-WAN can save a lot in both short and long terms. The best SD WAN solutions are transport service agnostic, allowing them to use whatever Internet connections are available at each location. This reduces the need to pay for a dedicated MPLS network at each site. Instead, cheap Internet services such as ADSL link, 4G, or satellite can be used. These are usually cheaper than MPLS and may provide better performance. In addition, a typical SD-WAN solution supports multiple access types in an active/active configuration, so if one connection fails, it can be switched to another. This reduces outage costs and helps maintain a high network uptime, essential for customer satisfaction and employee productivity. Plus, centralized policy management and zero-touch provisioning of devices means that IT personnel don’t need to travel to remote sites to change router settings or deploy software updates.

Improved Performance

Today’s digital enterprises require secure and seamless applications across WAN connections. Legacy WANs can’t deliver the high bandwidth and uptime required and are reaching their tipping point, leading to increased network outages, slower application performance, and frustrated end users. SD-WAN offers a range of benefits, including improved application performance through WAN optimization and traffic shifting. These capabilities optimize network routes to improve performance, reduce latency, and ensure consistent application availability by directing traffic over the best path available at any given time. This technology also helps businesses lower networking costs by reducing the reliance on expensive MPLS circuits and sending low-priority data over cheaper internet connections while reserving private links for mission-critical traffic. In addition, SD-WAN enables businesses to deploy remote sites using wireless options like 4G/LTE instead of costly fiber optics. Lastly, centralized management and automation enable businesses to connect new branch offices quickly without sending IT specialists to install them. This can reduce IT workloads and labor costs and minimize deployment and troubleshooting times. Additionally, some solutions feature next-generation firewalls, CASB, and Zero-Trust network access to protect branch networks from security threats.

Better Security

As companies move to digital transformation, they must ensure their remote locations have access to the same network performance quality as HQ. This is where SD-WAN comes in. Instead of routing traffic to a central hub and back out to the internet, SD-WAN creates direct connections between branch offices and the corporate LAN. This makes it easier to control and manage. SD-WAN can also use advanced technologies to improve security. For example, it can detect data loss through a low-quality channel and offload the data to a high-quality one. This helps to prevent lost data and ensure that critical applications have the capacity they need. In addition, SD-WAN can encrypt data as it travels across the WAN. This reduces the risk of data theft by ensuring that only authorized parties can view sensitive information like credit card numbers and medical records.

Increased Flexibility

As digital transformation (DX) is an increasingly critical part of enterprise operations, businesses deploying managed SD-WAN services are seeing unprecedented flexibility benefits. With the right solution, cellular networks can be prioritized. Performance-optimized business applications can be identified and routed to the best-performing WAN links, and security policies can be applied based on network traffic and application data. This granularity level separates SD-WAN solutions from traditional MPLS or point-to-point connections. By replacing these expensive contracts with broadband internet connectivity and optimizing the traffic to use as much bandwidth as possible, businesses can dramatically improve performance while reducing costs. An SD-WAN solution’s scalability also helps maximize bandwidth capacity, ensuring that essential applications always have access to enough bandwidth. This is possible by allowing enterprises to leverage multiple transport methods and using advanced techniques like link-bonding that combines different internet connections into a single connection for improved last-mile performance. This is critical in delivering unstoppable uptime, ensuring that essential business operations are never interrupted and customer experience remains high.

Increased Reliability

SD-WAN assures application performance and resiliency by automating traffic steering in an application-driven manner based on business intent. It also continuously monitors and measures WAN performance and ensures data is transferred across the most reliable channel. It can detect a network problem and failover to an alternate WAN connection. It also allows organizations to replace costly old telephone service (POTS) and multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) links with broadband Internet to support branch offices and remote employees. This provides excellent reliability, lowers IT costs, and increases productivity and flexibility. The best way to find an SD-WAN solution that meets your organization’s needs is to check vendor user reviews and testimonials. You can also attend a vendor’s annual users’ group meeting to learn more about their products and features. Many vendors also offer zero-touch provisioning to reduce the complexity, time, and resources needed to set up new sites. In addition, they can help you integrate security solutions with your SD-WAN. These include next-generation firewalls and a secure web gateway. They can also improve cloud application performance by prioritizing critical applications and directing them to the most efficient network routes.