How SD-WAN Technologies Can Help Improve Business Productivity
August 23, 2022
By Cozmin Straton
Today, people expect access to information anytime, anywhere from any device. Cloud computing and mobile devices have helped make this possible but the networks that keep everything connected are growing and becoming increasingly complex, especially to manage.
What’s a WAN?
WAN is an acronym for what is referred to as a “wide area network.” Traditional WANs are really just the standard internet connection that every person or business has from their internet provider. Your standard Internet connection is easy enough to order and get set up, but what happens when you have a myriad of services your business relies on – and they all need to run across this connection? Now you need to think about how you can achieve quality over that connection and how to work with multiple locations -- and what about failover? This now leads us to SD-WAN.
What is SD-WAN?
SD-WAN, software-defined wide area network, is the new kid on the block. And remember that kid you knew growing up, who seemed just a little smarter, faster, and better than everyone else? Essentially, SD-WAN is a better way to build and manage networks that require some level of reliability.
Some SD-WAN Key Advantages:
- Same IP Address Failover
This technology can re-route traffic if an outage occurs or there are issues with just one of your internet connections. This keeps your applications working seamlessly (as they should) without any intervention by your IT Team. From a user perspective, nothing has happened. IT can continue to work with your provider to remediate and no one is the wiser.
- Intelligent Traffic Management
Cloud application performance is traditionally achieved with policies and manual configurations for quality of service (QoS), traffic flow management across internet connections, and failover. Some SD-WAN products have self-driving artificial intelligence (AI) that automatically identifies and prioritizes your application traffic, configures itself to optimize for your circuit conditions and traffic makeup, and instantly adapts to changes in real-time, improving performance.
When they are opening a new location, most organizations of today must purchase an entire stack of services, configure those, and send someone out on site to implement (and often do some additional on-site configuration). Potentially, that is days’ worth of work and a lot of capital. In an SD-WAN environment, there is a concept called zero-touch provisioning which allows you to send the box out to the site and, with a modest set of remote hands, someone can plug that device in to the internet connection. Once done, it will connect to the main configuration site and download its policies and image and immediately be up and running and part of your network in a very seamless type of provisioning event.
SD-WANs offer a clear vision of your connections and traffic performance over all internet connections. Access to advanced reports will help you configure rules that would make business-critical applications a priority on your network.
- Next-Generation Security
Most SD-WAN vendors have internet protocol security (IPSec) VPNs, next generation firewalls (NGFWs), web-filtering, and high-speed secure sockets layer (SSL) inspection performance included with their appliance. They provide another level of security layered into your stack to provider further security for your organization.
As applications continue their migration to the cloud, the traffic pattern continues to change, and businesses realize that SD-WAN technology provides better connection to users on their applications and improves their productivity, user experience and customer satisfaction.