Your Complete Guide to SD-WAN and Its Benefits
Connecting users to applications has traditionally been done with a physically controlled Wide Area Network (WAN), but thanks to virtualization, it’s now possible to do this with software.
With SD-WAN, you can connect an unlimited number of users from multiple locations to the same network on a high-speed connection—all without having to deal with physical components. This makes every aspect of network management easier. For instance, if an issue arises, it can usually be resolved remotely, and the location won’t have to wait for a tech to come out.
Although only around 10% of businesses currently use SD-WAN, an additional 20% are planning to make the switch in the near future. Keep reading to learn why.
Read on to learn more about IT disaster recovery, including:
- Understanding How SD-WAN Works: Practical Solutions for Your Organization
- Ready to Try SD-WAN for Your Enterprise?
Understanding How SD-WAN Works: Practical Solutions for Your Organization
A conventional WAN typically connects offices to locations like retail outlets, other branch offices, and data centers. This process is reliable, but it requires dedicated bandwidth to form those connections. This can get expensive. The other costly component is the on-premises hardware that keeps data secure.
SD-WAN is a software-defined WAN that allows businesses to use transport services (like broadband internet, LTE, and MPLS) to create secure connections between users and applications. Although the general purpose is the same, SD-WAN brings so much more to the table for end users.
Aside from convenience, using SD-WAN instead of traditional WAN comes with a wide array of benefits, such as:
1. Better application performance
Without SD-WAN, you need to backhaul traffic from branch offices to your data center for security inspection. However, this process is extremely wasteful of bandwidth and creates more latency, diminishing application performance. It’s much more efficient to send traffic directly from your branch locations to the source, but it needs to be secure. This can be accomplished with SD-WAN.
2. Better visibility and control
SD-WAN provides enhanced network performance visibility crucial to your operations. It also makes control and management easier. Users can access networks through a simple, user-friendly platform, and network administrators can easily route traffic and manage application performance and security.
Traffic can be automatically routed to the most efficient path based on several factors like security control requirements, circuit cost, and network conditions.
3. Easier cloud integrations
Cloud integrations are one of the most useful SD-WAN benefits. It’s much easier to use cloud-based integrations with SD-WAN, like Azure, Office 365, AWS, and other key business applications.
Better yet, SD-WAN supports multi-cloud connectivity without sacrificing the user experience. For instance, users can securely connect to an SaaS application and monitor the application’s performance at the same time.
With integrations comes security concerns since you might need different policies and controls for each application. This is easy to manage with SD-WAN. You can reroute the traffic on a per-application basis, which allows you to send all trusted application traffic to the nearest SaaS instance, while sending suspicious traffic directly to a hub with a next generation firewall.
4. Cost savings
Many businesses migrate to SD-WAN to save money. The average savings is between 20-40% compared to what you’d spend on a traditional WAN. Considering bandwidth costs are always rising, long-term savings can be double that, up to 80%.
But that’s not all—here are a few other ways SD-WAN benefits your bottom line:
- Cheaper circuits. Hauling traffic through SD-WAN circuits is cheaper because it doesn’t require many resources. MPLS is far more expensive than broadband and isn’t ideal for unified communications; it eats up too much bandwidth. SD-WAN not only uses cheaper circuits, but it optimizes the use of circuits automatically while routing traffic.
- Reduced equipment costs. Since you don’t need to buy any hardware and everything is virtualized, you’ll save a lot of money using SD-WAN over traditional WAN. This cost savings applies to the future, too. Over time, the cost of maintaining a traditional WAN will rise far more than managing SD-WANs.
- Reduced operational costs. It’s simple to install SD-WAN and just as easy to manage, no matter how many sites you have. If you need to move to a new location, it’s not a monumental task like it can be with hardware.
It’s not hard to see that the money you’ll save with SD-WAN is significant. Over time, your network needs will likely grow, you’ll need to plan for adopting new applications to support remote workers, and many other things. SD-WAN makes managing all of this easy from a software application, which will drastically reduce your maintenance expenses.
5. Built-in security
Today, you can’t take security lightly, and SD-WAN delivers better security than traditional WAN architecture. For instance, you get the multi-layered security required by cloud applications.
By default, SD-WAN uses end-to-end encryption that ensures data is protected in transit and at rest. If any threat actor does steal data, it can’t be read.
Another great security feature is that SD-WAN provides more security than a standard firewall. If you have remote employees, you need higher security provisions for when they connect to your cloud resources. This is why business owners opt for next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) that already have SD-WAN built in. With an NGFW, data is protected regardless of the applications employees use.
Some SD-WAN solutions are continuously learning about your environments and will automatically make changes based on current application and network performance. A self-learning SD-WAN that employs continuous monitoring will adapt to changes that might cause problems, like congestion, transport outages, and brownouts, so you won’t need IT intervention to restore application access to users.
Ready to Try SD-WAN for Your Enterprise?
By moving to SD-WAN, you’ll benefit from easier traffic control and a more secure network. Even better, your network administrators will be able to manage everything from a central, user-friendly application, and your employees will have easier access to network resources.