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What to consider with SD-WAN solution? The cost of an SD-WAN solution is one of the key factors that must be considered and can vary depending on the vendor you choose. While some offer granular control and customization, others focus on simplicity and ease of deployment. When evaluating options, consider the number of sites managed and your budget before deciding. Modern applications are latency-sensitive and don’t tolerate packet loss well.
This can lead to inconsistent application performance, which can impact productivity. The problem is exacerbated when data must traverse the Internet, which is susceptible to congestion and other network issues. An SD-WAN solution can help address these problems by routing traffic over the best available path, ensuring that critical data gets priority. This can also reduce costs by eliminating the need for expensive MPLS lines.
In addition, SD-WAN can provide a more cost-effective alternative to costly leased lines by leveraging low-cost broadband connections for connectivity. Another major cost savings comes from the ability to right-size circuits at each site. For example, moving from a 50 Mbps line to a 25 Mbps line can save $20 monthly at each location.
Additionally, an SD-WAN solution can minimize IT support costs by reducing calls to the service desk. It provides dual circuits and intelligent route selection that avoids network issues. This can save as much as 3.75% of your total WAN expenses.
SD-WAN solutions are a great fit for retailers that want to take advantage of cloud business communication solutions, point-of-sale tools, and other retail tools that require consistent connectivity but can be compromised by network outages. These solutions provide high-level benefits, including reduced costs, enhanced opportunity, and improved performance. The solution eliminates the need to backhaul data to a central location.
It uses advanced security features such as threat intelligence, deep packet inspection, and application identification systems to monitor active network connections. Even if your primary MPLS circuit is out, an SD-WAN solution can provide sub-second failover to avoid disrupting real-time applications such as POS or cloud business communication services.
SD-WAN also allows businesses to replace costly MPLS connections with Internet access, VPNs, and even LTE, which can save on bandwidth costs while providing a reliable backup for critical apps. With a policy-based, automated routing scheme, SD-WAN can prioritize and route apps to the best-performing WAN links.
Additionally, a high-quality SD-WAN solution offers a simplified deployment process. Using zero-touch provisioning, non-technical staff can easily commission CPEs sent to remote locations for instant deployment and configuration. This dramatically reduces the complexity, resources, and OPEX required for deploying new sites. As a result, retail stores can get online quickly and affordably.
An SD-WAN solution should provide strong network security measures to prevent cyberattacks that could damage the enterprise and its customers. This includes encryption that protects data in transit and secure network segmentation. The latter prevents cyberattacks from spreading across the entire system. It also makes it much more difficult for unauthorized users to gain access. In addition, a secure activation process is essential.
An effective network security strategy should also leverage Zero Trust, which requires organizations to verify everything that tries to access the network. This feature should be complemented by granular firewall policy/governance based on user, device, and application. Finally, an effective network should use threat intelligence based on sandboxed analysis and artificial intelligence (AI) security engines to detect and mitigate threats as they occur.
As enterprises deploy SD-WANs, choosing a managed service provider that offers quality of experience (QoE) standards and a track record of meeting those standards is important. This should include ensuring that the appliance is properly configured and deployed and deploying a network infrastructure that can efficiently route information across unreliable Internet links. Additionally, the chosen managed service provider should have the flexibility to support a variety of third-party network security solutions for greater control over network traffic. This includes service insertion and policy enforcement capabilities.
Several key factors determine the performance of an SD-WAN network. Specifically, these include WAN path performance (latency and jitter), application performance, and user experience. By monitoring these important metrics, organizations can optimize their WAN resources and ensure compliance with SLAs and a positive end-user experience. In addition to assessing the performance of an SD-WAN solution, it’s critical to check for configuration errors and changes.
Misconfigurations can impact performance and can lead to security issues. A good vendor will have a tool that alerts IT when devices are configured incorrectly and provides easy remediation. Another important factor is bandwidth capacity. A lack of bandwidth can lead to latency and packet loss, impacting applications. To avoid this, organizations should monitor bandwidth utilization and have enough headroom to handle peak traffic periods.
It’s also important to evaluate the capability of an SD-WAN provider’s middle-mile network. Look for a managed provider with a carrier-neutral peering arrangement with high levels of redundancy. This enables them to provide a more robust routing optimization and quality of service on the public Internet and direct cloud connectivity.
A good vendor will offer comprehensive support that addresses all aspects of the SD-WAN solution. This includes a dedicated rep, fast-track deployments, and a robust tool for troubleshooting. In addition, a local, service-oriented provider is more likely to foster responsible business practices and provide individualized customer guidance.