Your I.T. network is an unsung hero in your technology toolbelt. It keeps everything running smoothly, so that your business can continue to be productive. If it works well, you won’t notice it. If issues arise, however, it can be very frustrating, as it often means you do not have access to the things needed to complete your work. SD-WAN takes the headache out of your network connectivity.
But just what is SD-WAN? It stands for software defined, wide area network. Simply put, the software defined aspect means your physical network controls that would typically be in a server room are now hosted in a central location (usually the cloud), for streamlined management. Wide area networks are typically for businesses with multiple locations – however, given how COVID-19 has altered day to day operations, if you have employees telecommuting, you fall into the set of businesses who could use a WAN – even if you only have one office location.
Benefits of SD-WAN
#1 Potential Cost Savings
Moving to SD-WAN may save your business money, especially if you have rural office or production locations. This is because SD-WAN allows for your connectivity to come through one centralized hub. Without SD-WAN, especially in rural locations, you may have to go through several internet providers beyond your main provider, and this means you get charged extra fees. Since SD-WAN eliminates this factor, there is a lot of potential cost savings involved. One NetGain client cut their monthly costs from $20,000 to $11,000 after switching to SD-WAN! Additionally, many of the other benefits below contribute to cost savings in the long run.
#2 Increased Reliability
SD-WAN seamlessly blends your network connectivity and management together. This means that your backup network can be switched over to easily, often without you noticing there is a network issue at all. NetGain has had several managed I.T. services clients that have had network issues due to their internet service provider that did not interrupt their operations, because they leverage an SD-WAN solution that connected them to their backup network immediately.
Due to the nature of SD-WAN, it is very simple to connect a location to your overall network. Because SD-WAN centralizes your connectivity, you are also less reliant on internet providers, who were typically involved more heavily with network connectivity. This means that bringing a new branch or production site online can be done in a matter of hours, rather than days. For industries such as the financial sector, healthcare, manufacturing, or others who often expand their business sites, this can be a huge advantage. Imagine having a new bank branch up and running in half the time it had taken previously!
Recalling that the software-defined portion of SD-WAN means that everything is in a centralized management location, it’s not hard to see why visibility is on this list. Everything about your network is in one location, so that you can see how things are running. This provides several advantages. You are able to see how everything functions in one central hub, so you can more efficiently control how your bandwidth is used by various technologies and solutions.
You can also control how software and hardware is connected to the network, which is an I.T. security benefit. Internet of Things (IoT) attacks are common nowadays, as items such as printers are often connected to your entire network. Once the printer (or security cameras, or medical devices, etc.) are compromised, the attacker has access to your entire network. This can be prevented using SD-WAN management, as you can control what the printer is connected to within your network. This can stop an attack at the source.
Though SD-WAN is a lesser known I.T. topic, it can be an excellent solution for your business. The efficient management structure and overall functions of the tool allow for you to be more productive, manage your network in a streamlined way, and likely save your organization money.
Want to Learn More About SD-WAN? Watch Our On-Demand Webinar with two Network Experts.