Software-defined wide area networking is by no means a new technology but in the past the technology has mostly been deployed at an enterprise level.
Over the last year, however, the technology has become increasingly popular among businesses of all sizes according to Greg Hatfield (pictured), principal practice head of Hybrid Networks – Intelligent Infrastructure at Dimension Data.
“While it was gaining ground pre-COVID-19, particularly with larger enterprises that had large networks and large requirements, now it’s been adopted by organisations of all sizes,” says Hatfield.
“The pandemic was the proof point that the internet was a strong enough connectivity layer, that the business could bypass the costly MPLS [multiprotocol label switching] experience in favour of software and redefined connectivity. And, of course, in favour of improved cost efficiencies,” he adds.
What makes SD-WAN technology so attractive to businesses? Well there are three things Hatfield highlights.
The first is security. SD-WAN solutions offer a transparent look at businesses systems which in turn can be used to embed robust security throughout the system. This is particularly important if your business has adopted a work from home model.
Building off of that, Hatfield says that SD-WAN gives a business greater control over devices that are working from home. This means things like security holes can be plugged up quickly.
“Leveraging the technology, organisations can provision to specific requirements at scale, and ensure consistency, and transparency, across the technology stack. SD-WAN lets the business simplify operations significantly – if any issues arise within the network, they can be resolved from a central point. The same value can be found in the security embedded within SD-WAN – with one point of contact, challenges across security and credentials can be centrally managed to minimise multiple distribution endpoints while maximising overall efficiency,” the practice head says.
The other aspect of SD-WAN technology that makes it so attractive is that it is automated. By configuring policies on a controller, those policies can be pushed to other devices connected to the network.
“Instead of engineers logging every device onto the network, the entire process is automated from start to finish. Because configuration additions, patches and new devices can be added and changed from a central point, it reduces the risk of error, and security risk overall. This reliability is critical, especially at a time when organisations are increasingly dependent on their IT infrastructure to operate,” explains Hatfield.
All of this sounds rather great for business owners but as always it’s best to check whether it is the best solution for your business.