Across verticals, organizations are experiencing sweeping technological changes. In an effort to keep pace with the new normal, several businesses – notably those in healthcare, education, and retail – have embraced remote working and cloud-delivered digital business models. By shifting their business workloads into multiple clouds, adopting SaaS applications, and rethinking network security, these businesses are emerging more competitive and customer-centric.
However, as organizations implement these fundamental improvements, many find traditional networking architecture unable to keep up. To solve this dilemma, companies are turning to modern solutions that make their network transformation-ready. A Software-defined Wireless Area Network (SD-WAN) provides a revolutionary approach to digitalization, defining the way new market expectations are met.
Let’s understand digital transformation and how your organization can embrace the change.
Digital transformation refers to the process of incorporating digital technologies to improve the end-user experience. Organizations adopt flexible business models, cultures, and methods to respond quickly to ever-changing market demands. Customer-centricity is the heart of digital transformation. According to IDC, between 2020 and 2023, businesses will spend $6.8 trillion on digital transformation initiatives.
At its core, digital transformation encompasses marketing, sales, and customer service, going beyond the traditional to serve clients better. With technology on the rise, companies are expected to keep up with digitally-inclined solutions that make business more convenient to do.
Whether a small enterprise or multinational corporation, every organization is highly encouraged to rethink operating processes to remain relevant and competitive in this era. Today, only 10% of data is deployed at the edge rather than in enterprise data centers, but analyst firm, IDC predicts that over 50% of new enterprise IT infrastructure deployed by 2024 will be at the edge. Companies should leverage modern technologies such as SD-WAN to make the shift towards data-centric applications and services and enable edge services. Automation is an essential component of this process. Existing business models are integrated with technologies, data, and software to provide better results.
A total digital transformation requires a dynamic and agile WAN infrastructure, especially since decision-making is now mainly influenced by digital initiatives. However, traditional WAN infrastructures are rarely transformation-ready, making them roadblocks for change.
Legacy WANs have limited network and application visibility, which compromises performance and security both. For Multi-protocol Label Switching or MPLS connections, deployment could take as long as months, making it impractical when dealing with time-sensitive transformation.
Network management driven by Command-line Interface (CLI) is another less ideal option that is slow and expensive to operate. With 44% of network traffic for enterprises stemming from the public cloud, deploying managed WAN is also not a preferable option in digital transformation.
Out of all the network platforms, the best option that meets the requirements for versatility and reliability is, undeniably, the Software-defined Wide Area Network or SD-WAN.
According to Gartner’s 2019 CIO Agenda, information and technology are deemed essential when changing business models across industries, with digital initiatives being one of the top three priorities in this landscape. It’s easy to fall behind when many businesses are already ahead in the race, which is why choosing a reliable network solution is crucial to keep up with trends.
SD-WAN enhances the control and visibility of cloud-based applications and user access across the network. It is designed to deliver improved end-user experiences while also making operations more efficient. As an overlay network, SD-WAN runs atop other available connections, whether wired or wireless.
Companies that want to compete digitally should envision branches to be not just an add-on but an integral part of the business, which is why cloud integration via SD-WAN is crucial. SD-WAN allows real-time access to the company’s resources and data, no matter the location. With a software-defined solution, businesses can run critical applications from anywhere without worrying about high-performance bandwidth requirements.
SD-WAN can manage application traffic and sort them according to priority. It’s more than a connectivity replacement—it provides advanced load balancing and routing functionality across VPN overlay. It can integrate advanced security solutions to make end-to-end data exchange and transactions safe.
Here are five ways in which SD-WAN can accelerate digitization and drive growth for your business.
When SD-WAN is present, every circuit in the network acquires reliable application-based forwarding and Quality of Service assurance. For instance,
To accommodate these various situations, SD-WAN centrally and seamlessly configures traffic forwarding to deliver applications without hiccups.
SD-WAN ensures high availability regardless of the circuit being used to transfer data. It enables the creation of WAN as an overlay to other transport technologies like mobile LTE, passive optical, or cable networks. This feature ensures flawless data and workload migration. In an SD-WAN set up, much of the workload happens on the cloud, with only consumption and input take place on edge.
When talking about digital transformation, it’s crucial to tackle security and ensure its deployment to prevent data breaches and cyberattacks. SD-WAN solutions allow the integration of other software appliances and services to create multiple levels of security. Every network can have a different security configuration depending on its requirement.
As a software-defined solution, SD-WAN enables centralized control, which also allows service automation. With the combination of IT management tools and SD-WAN’s virtual or physical management, issues and concerns are triaged promptly to provide faster resolutions. Automation also reduces operating costs dramatically, ensuring higher returns on investment.
SD-WAN is a versatile platform, allowing companies to create WAN with either expensive legacy infrastructures or cheaper Internet circuits. It is not tied to wired or wireless networks, making it possible to mix and match technologies and transport tunnels depending on the budget allocated for network transformation. It releases the company from vendor lock-in since it can enlist several network service providers to accommodate demands. It’s a fully scalable option that gives users the freedom to choose or drop communication services as needed.
The booming SD-WAN market has prompted several vendors to jump in on the trend, which means that it’s becoming a challenge for companies to choose the best one out there. Key factors to consider include:
Since network requirements can change with demand, SD-WAN vendors should offer the capability to modify WAN policies whenever needed. Solutions must adapt to changing network configurations and resources automatically. Adaptive policies for security and business criticality need to be considered to ensure that networks remain flexible without compromising overall performance.
What’s special about SD-WAN is its intelligent traffic routing, where business-critical applications can be prioritized and transported via secure tunnels. The vendor must optimize solutions so that customers can map out business functions to corresponding WAN resources, finding the most efficient route and policies to prioritize core business applications.
SD-WAN vendors should deliver effectively centralized control, visibility, and monitoring. Without vendor optimization in management functions, ongoing maintenance costs can increase.
A good SD-WAN vendor will provide standard security requirements such as anti-malware, anti-virus, NGFW, and IPS. They will also have add-on functionality like IPSec VPN overlays, high-performance SSL, web filtering, and sandboxing.
Highly flexible and extensible network infrastructure is vital for meeting the demands of ongoing digital transformation efforts – and to handle the business and customer needs of tomorrow. As more organizations prepare to take advantage of SD-WAN infrastructure, securing the new network, SaaS applications, and cloud workloads emerge as security priorities. CarrierBid is committed to enabling SD-WAN-led digital transformation for its customers. Contact us to learn more about how we can meet your telecom needs.