April 27, 2021

SD-WAN is the future of business networking

By Mohammed Mulla, Senior Product Manager at SEACOM

The software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) market has surged by over 50% in the last year, driven by an increase in remote working and the development of innovative cloud-based business applications. SD-WAN is sure to be the future of network management.

Traditional network architectures are not designed to handle the workloads and growing complexity of the modern digital era. They also lack the flexibility and visibility the IT managers need when overseeing business networks. This is where SD-WAN truly shines.

It offers far greater agility and possibilities than traditional network architecture. When core business processes rely on multiple internet service providers (ISPs) or are distributed across various servers, SD-WAN can optimise the network performance and user experience. It improves visibility, bandwidth usage, network security and overall cloud application performance.

Advantages of SD-WAN for businesses

Traditional WANs, such as virtual private networks (VPNs) or multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) are quite rigid and make it difficult to adopt a multi-vendor strategy. They are also limited in their control over the network. SD-WAN provides complete oversight and the ability to manage network traffic over various connections. This delivers cost-savings as the software can move non-critical traffic to lower-cost network paths.

The benefits of SD-WAN are very real for companies. For example, if an internet connection fails, IT managers can immediately see which provider they need to contact and the system will automatically and instantly reroute traffic over working connections. This all happens without the need to reconfigure routers or gateways manually.

Internet or network downtime leads to slow systems, negative customer experiences and a loss in revenue, particularly for retailers that use point of sale (POS) applications. SD-WAN can be used to divert bandwidth away from non-critical applications and towards essential functions, such POS applications, so that the customer experience is unaffected.

When a company experiences slow internet speeds, they assume that they need to spend more to increase their bandwidth. However, it may be more effective to improve network management by setting up an SD-WAN. ISPs can also be managed individually, enabling an effective multi-vendor approach.

SD-WAN and cloud migration

From small start-ups to successful enterprises, many businesses are now utilising hybrid cloud environments. Integrating these into an MPLS network is challenging and can lead to a frustrating user experience as applications run slowly and productivity is compromised. SD-WAN fixes these issues and improves the overall security and reliability of the network by creating an overlay across all connectivity options. This ensures that cloud applications run smoothly and optimally.

The improved performance happens through far better management of network data. SD-WAN allows companies to monitor and prioritise individual applications from a network perspective and find the optimal performance-based solution for each cloud service.

SD-WAN is highly secure

Digital transformation can be a two-sided process; new technology is highly beneficial but it can also expose your company to new threats. Outdated WANs are fast becoming a less favourable option as they do not have data encryption capabilities and the same amount of visibility and control as SD-WAN.

The software often comes with built-in security measures, including hardware and software. This is a vital factor to consider when looking at the overall business network system. Choose an SD-WAN service that has a wide range of security features, such as content filtering, anti-malware, geo-IP firewalls and intrusion prevention systems (IPS).

Don’t hesitate any longer

Many companies see the advantages of SD-WAN and are keen to make the switch, but they hesitate because of long-term contracts with VPN or MPLS providers. Buying your way out of these contracts may not be an affordable solution, but you could try to negotiate a shift from traditional network architecture to internet connectivity solutions instead.

When looking for the right SD-WAN solution, there is no correct fit for all businesses. Find a partner that can thoroughly assess your overall network environment and customise a solution that suits your needs and cloud strategy. For more information or to get a quote for our SD-WAN solutions, email us at marketing@seacom.com or leave us a message.

SEACOM owns Africa’s most extensive network of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure, including subsea cables and secure internet connections. We offer a diverse range of flexible, scalable and high-quality solutions for businesses that meet world-class standards for connectivity.

SEACOM is privately owned and operated, making it agile and adaptable to the needs of the customer. This makes us the preferred ICT and internet connectivity partner for African businesses and peripheral service providers. We can guarantee high-speed, low-latency and secure internet connections to corporates and small enterprises.

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