You may have wondered what the buzz about software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) is all about. SD-WAN connects public cloud services to a company’s virtual private network (VPN), providing cost savings for those relying on internet protocol (IP) plus multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) lines. For smaller companies for whom MPLS is out of reach, SD-WAN helps level the playing field.
As SD-WAN emerges as beneficial to enterprises seeking a network upgrade, the market has been flooded with providers. How can you determine which provider is right for you? There are two major approaches that may help you distinguish a provider that’s a good fit.
The cost benefit: This is the factor that often ignites a conversation around implementing SD-WAN. It can effectively replace some or all of an enterprise’s MPLS lines, and because it is organized for subscription-based invoicing, your investment is categorized as an operating expense billed monthly, rather than a one-time capital investment. Finally, SD-WAN is easily scalable, so you’re never paying for extra licenses that you’re not using.
The drawback to approaching SD-WAN as a cost-saving measure is that the technology becomes at risk for being commoditized. The price of SD-WAN will be driven down deeper and deeper, eliminating all potential for innovation.
The service benefit: Instead of focusing on cost, the service focus offers a way for SD-WAN to escape commoditization by introducing opportunities for network optimization and innovation both at the provider level and within the enterprise. SD-WAN controls connectivity for the enterprise network, so it can apply identity-based policies to prioritize or block traffic.
With a high level of visibility in the centralized, virtual overlay of the physical network, network engineers access zero-touch provisioning and troubleshooting. The ability to segment out network traffic based on application or device type means that if a laptop is forgotten in an airport, that vulnerability can be identified and segmented, protecting the rest of the network from any potential breach.
It’s important to note that not all SD-WAN providers offer this level of segmentation and network optimization potential in their solutions. When evaluating SD-WAN providers, be sure that the goals you have for your network match what the provider can offer.
It’s possible that both approaches to SD-WAN will be necessary for making the technology available to all. Smaller companies are implementing it for the cost savings, while larger enterprises see the potential in creating a network-driven business growth plan.
To learn more about the important considerations you should include when choosing a provider for any technology solution, contact us at Cory Communications. We can partner with you to optimize your network, enhancing performance and eliminating downtime for solid, 24/7 connectivity.