SD-WAN (or‘software-defined wide-area network’) is currently one of the biggest trends in enterprise networking. Described as a specific application of software-defined networking (SDN) technology that is applied to WAN connections, there are many benefits of SD-WAN for businesses due to its ability to connect office branches, data centres and mobile users over large geographical locations.
With humans feeling an innate need to be in control and have access to everything they need instantly (particularly in terms of their internet speed), it’s no surprise that SD-WAN is becoming an increasingly popular application of SDN. Acting almost like an ‘air traffic control system’ for businesses, it fulfils our need for speed by centralizing network control.
Here are just some of the reasons more businesses are choosing SD-WAN…
One of the most vital business benefits of SD-WAN is that it gives you more control over your network, enabling it to run more seamlessly and efficiently. This is because although networks would previously rely on human operators to manually control multiple forms of incoming traffic (deciding where it gets sent), SD-WAN has the ability to automate this process. Additionally, SD-WAN can connect every single one of your business’s single networks across multiple locations, including data branches and remote workers. This ensures that they deliver the same result, and provides a single centralized portal so you can manage each point where the network is running.
MPLS lines(Multiprotocol Label Switching lines) have traditionally been used by businesses of all sizes to connect networks across multiple geographical locations, and they’re known for their dependability and high-performance.However, one of their biggest downfalls of MPLS lines is that they’re expensive to install and maintain. Because SD-WAN moves more of the network control into the cloud, it doesn’t rely on expensive lines to be installed, but it still delivers a high level of performance. As it enables you to mix and match network links for different content types (including critical high priority applications), SD-WAN makes the most of your network’s costs by fully utilising all available connections. This means that it reduces potential losses of productivity (and therefore costs) due to unreliable networks.
As technology advances (including applications and programmes that are used to aid cyber crime), it’s getting harder and harder for businesses to protect their networks from phishing and security threats. This is particularly true as increased use of multiple applications means there’s more end points for a business to protect than ever before. Fortunately, SD-WAN has many built-insecurity features (unlike traditional WAN solutions), and these work in real-time. As well as built-in features such as encryption, content filtering and firewalls, which stop high risk traffic from entering the network, SD-WAN has the power to quarantine and scrub compromised data immediately after a threat has been detected, and it also ensures minimal business disruption,thanks to its data recovery capabilities.
Finally, because it doesn’t require manual operators to manage it, SD-WAN also offers great agility for businesses. This doesn’t just apply to controlling forms of incoming traffic, but also to making changes to network configurations (which would have previously required an on-site technician to implement). As an example, bandwidth can be easily added or reduced at short notice without the need for manual configurations to be carried out, or a major network overhaul to be undertaken.The agility of SD-WAN is also particularly useful for organisations that employ many remote workers, as well as ever-changing businesses who may need to deploy quick, yet secure network connectivity to different locations on a regular basis.
Steve McNamara, a Senior Solutions Manager at Yell IT adds that "for network managers, simplified management is a lifesaver.With SD-WAN, you can manage your network in one place and cut the time for adding new branch locations from weeks to a matter of hours.You can quickly apply policy-based rules to adjust routing and traffic prioritisation — and have these changes immediately reflected on the network. Much like Tesla vehicles famously improve car performance through over-the-air software updates, SD-WAN enables you to rapidly implement new features and performance improvements.Take machine learning for instance: you could go from a regular SD-WAN today to a highly intelligent, continuously learning network tomorrow — entirely through software updates."