As digital transformation gains its momentum, it puts IT teams under immense pressure to adopt next-generation technologies to fulfill the changing needs of a remote and distributed workforce. The recent disruption revealed the drawbacks of traditional networks which were not designed for such complex workloads.
This need for a different network technology is driving the adoption of the flexible and cloud-friendly SD-WAN in enterprises, a technology that consolidates enterprise-wide-area networking with security and easy management in a single platform.
But, like every other new innovation, SD-WAN, too, comes with its set of challenges. While the majority of the SD-WAN solutions come as a DIY self-managed technology, end-users need to understand the selection criteria, deployment challenges, configuration issues that, if go unnoticed, might derail the network transformation plan. We asked our SD-WAN experts about the potential challenges in SD-WAN deployments and here are their top 5 concerns that they want you to be aware of-
1. Network efficiency
Unlike the privacy concern of MPLS that largely contributed to the demise of this technology, SD-WAN offers secure access to all public cloud platforms, allowing users to access applications and carry out their jobs from anywhere that has internet connectivity.
But, not all SD-WAN solutions can ensure end-to-end Quality of Service which creates a barrier in prioritizing applications end-to-end. To solve this performance issue, IT teams must design an architecture that’s aligned to the specific business needs. For large enterprises, the challenge lies in minimizing the network latency between countries and ensuring fast traffic between multiple gateways across countries, or even continents. But, global public gateways tend to limit the customer base as the branch-office distance along with the proximity to local PoP governs the application performance.
This is a key point we kept in mind while designing Cloud4C’s Managed SD-WAN. Its WAN optimization feature enables users to optimize application performance where and when it’s needed. It also ensures application acceleration, data reduction and flexible bandwidth allocation, increasing network performance, including SaaS/IaaS.
2. Securing SD-WAN
Every organization deploying managed WAN services operates on the bandwidth of comparatively less secure internet connections, exposing the network to the risk of data breaches and cyber-attacks. Thus, when deploying SD-WAN in your business, additional security needs to be incorporated to ensure data protection at the remote branches as well.
Cloud4C Managed SD WAN comes with in-built zone-based firewall and embedded network security such as IPSec, MPSec and VPN diversity to provide network and application segmentation, encrypted tunnels and compliance with corporate and government policies/regulations. Our SD-WAN also has deep integration with cloud-delivered security provider and provide an ideal complement for the delivery of a SASE architecture. SASE is an emerging offering combining comprehensive WAN capabilities with comprehensive network security functions such as SWG, CASB, FwaaS, and ZTNA to support the dynamic secure access needs of digital enterprises.
3. Delivering Cost Reduction
Although one of SD-WAN’s key advantages is cost reduction, it is not always quantifiable in the budget. When embracing SD-WAN architecture, there is a short-term cost of Capex and resources, as is the case with any network change. The cost savings typically consist of the overall business benefits and other seemingly invisible factors. They also depend majorly on the business design of the organization’s Return on Investment (ROI). For example, companies can procure the lowest costing internet service using SD-WAN. Also, with network functions and security linked to one device, the costs of individual Firewall applications can be brought down considerably.
So, if the chosen SD-WAN solution is fitted to your business, the cost reduction will be realized across domains in the long term. To help enterprises manage the burgeoning network costs, we provide SD-WAN ‘as-a-service’ offering that comes as an opex model.
4. Choosing the WAN Management Apt for Your Business
While SD-WAN offers the ease of using a centralized management console, it is difficult to choose how the organizations want the WAN to be managed on the vendor’s side. A DIY network is suitable for businesses that make changes by themselves on a daily basis, but becomes demanding on the in-house IT teams. In a co-managed network, the vendor assists the organization only when they need support with a particular aspect of the technology stack. Lastly, a fully-managed SD-WAN deployment has the vendor owning the entire technology stack with their support staff being in charge of every component in the stack. This makes it easier for the enterprise to maintain the network, without deploying additional IT teams for the same.
Cloud4C’s managed SD-WAN solution enables enterprises to maximize the technical, operational, and commercial benefits of transforming network infrastructure into programmable networking backed by cloud orchestration. It not only provides software overlay for the existing network but also meets the organization's WAN expansion plans with zero-touch provisioning, allowing faster rollout of new sites.
5. Selecting the Right Vendor
With an overload of features from multiple vendors, choosing the right SD-WAN vendor is both time-consuming and difficult. The usability and complicacy provided by each vendor varies, making it confusing for the IT team. The right vendor will leverage their managed services capabilities to meet the unique business needs of the enterprise while creating a solution to streamline the TCO for the business. Cloud4C’s managed services offer a unified SD-WAN platform, with custom-built solutions for today’s cloud-first enterprises.
While there are challenges and disadvantages in deploying SD-WAN, the benefits of the technology strongly out-weigh these issues. The key to a successful SD-WAN deployment is choosing the right vendor who can recognize the requirements of the business and determine the best approach to implement the technology. This will enable the enterprise to utilize all the benefits of SD-WAN throughout the lifecycle of the network solution.
Have you decided if SD-WAN is the right network architecture for your business? For more information, visit Cloud4C’s SD-WAN page at www.cloud4c.com/managed-sd-wan