Organizations in industries ranging from healthcare to retail are recognizing the benefits of SD-WAN. This technology is enabling them to improve network reliability and simplify management tasks.
By reducing their dependency on expensive MPLS links, companies save money. They can send lower-priority data over public internet connections while reserving private lines for mission-critical or latency-sensitive applications.
Today, companies connect more devices to their networks, use cloud and software-as-a-service (SaaS), and demand higher levels of resiliency and performance. These shifts require more bandwidth from WAN connections than traditional router-based solutions can handle, and they can also increase network management complexity.
SD-WAN eliminates these challenges with centralized networking and management controls. Automation and orchestration decrease the tedious manual workflows that IT teams must perform, and they also reduce human error rates that could result in device, security, or network configuration issues that lead to outages or open doors for cybercriminals.
Centralized management also increases visibility into patch statuses, system changes, and overall network health across the enterprise. It improves the speed and accuracy of resolving IT issues and helps ensure that business-critical applications receive the highest priority.
Another way SD-WAN helps businesses control costs is by enabling them to shift less latency-sensitive data away from expensive multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) connectivity lines and onto lower-cost broadband internet connections. It results in significant cost savings over time. It can also make it easier for businesses to avoid costly circuit size increases by reducing the amount of data sent over their MPLS connections.
Additionally, SD-WAN allows organizations to flex their bandwidth access at any branch location, minimizing bandwidth costs and allowing users to increase or decrease speeds according to real-time needs. The flexibility of SD-WAN means that enterprises can choose any internet connectivity method and can rely on the technology to optimize traffic, prioritize critical applications, and provide seamless failover.
An SD-WAN system uses analytics to measure network performance and clearly show what is happening across the entire WAN. The platform can help identify potential problems and send notifications when the issue arises, allowing IT to fix and restore functionality quickly.
It is vital for companies that use software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, prone to outages and slowness, or cloud tools that must be accessed remotely. When problems occur, SD-WAN enables IT to prioritize data traffic and ensure that critical applications receive high bandwidth while less crucial information takes a lower priority.
The technology behind an SD-WAN system can monitor and manage multiple types of connections, including MPLS, broadband Internet, LTE cellular connectivity, and more, to increase reliability and performance. It can also reduce infrastructure costs by replacing firewalls, routers, and WAN path controllers and optimizers with a single virtual device. For example, National Instruments, a US-based company manufacturing scientific equipment and software with 8,400 employees in 50 countries, reduced its MPLS costs by $10,000 a month after deploying SD-WAN.
The best SD-WAN systems also allow businesses to use their choice of Internet provider for a lower cost and more reliable performance and provide sub-second failover. It improves business agility by ensuring that even during a transport outage, a company can access its networks remotely while continuing to communicate with customers and suppliers.
One of the most significant advantages associated with SD-WAN is a higher level of security. SD-WAN offers many security capabilities, including micro-segmentation, which separates and classifies network traffic to prevent cyber threats from impacting performance. In addition, SD-WAN enables encrypting traffic at the data plane to ensure information remains secure.
Another area where SD-WAN improves security is by allowing IT teams to automate site deployments, configurations, and operations. With a software-abstracted model, SD-WAN eliminates hardware dependencies and reduces the time and cost of deploying new sites. It enables IT to manage and control the system from a single management portal, allowing for centralized monitoring and traffic allocations, such as prioritizing critical applications over a specific link.
Moreover, many organizations migrate from MPLS circuits to SD-WAN because the technology provides more reliable and cost-effective WAN bandwidth.
Enterprises may also use SD-WAN to combine MPLS links with alternate, less costly ones, such as broadband or 5G options. It enables them to prioritize business-critical applications over a high-quality MPLS connection while sending other traffic over a less expensive internet link. It is especially beneficial for retail stores relying on real-time customer and supplier communication.
SD-WANs provide a centralized management interface for network administrators to deploy policies and updates, monitor performance, and flex bandwidth from one central location. This capability streamlines operations and reduces the need for IT specialists to travel to branch offices or remote locations.
Many enterprises use SD-WAN technology to connect to cloud applications and improve employee experiences. Health tech companies, hoteliers, and manufacturers are just a few sectors taking advantage of SD-WAN.
An effective SD-WAN provides an automated policy-based framework propagated from a unified control and management function via a single-pane-of-glass interface. Visibility is enhanced, giving IT insights into applications, devices, and users to ensure business requirements are met.
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