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Thoughts to Consider Before Choosing an SD-WAN Vendor

SD-WAN Vendor

SD-WAN has emerged as the must-have technology for distributed organizations. With benefits such as increased network speed and ease of use, it has helped many businesses connect their disparate offices in one, relatively seamless network. If you are thinking about adopting this white-hot technology, here are some things to consider as you evaluate your SD-WAN vendor options.

The first thing to determine is what your future needs are for connecting your employees while evaluating the business value that SD-WAN can bring to your business. When prioritizing the features you want Lee Doyle of Network World recommends asking these questions:

  • How many branch locations do you currently have? How many employees are at distributed branches?
  • Which applications are mission critical to distributed employees? Where are these applications hosted? (data center, SaaS, public cloud)
  • What are the current WAN bandwidth requirements at each location and how fast is the demand for WAN bandwidth growing? What is your current spending on WAN bandwidth?
  • What are your key security requirements at the branch?

When you’ve answered these, you can move on to looking for a potential SD-WAN service provider that can help you implement your SD-WAN solution.

Do you want a DIY approach or a managed solution?

A managed services approach to SD-WAN technology means you will choose a vendor that will take on your SD-WAN project end-to-end. They will work with you to determine your needs and what features you want and use that information to choose a technology solution. They will navigate the vendor selection process and manage the relationship once your SD-WAN solution is up and running. They will take care of the necessary updates and routine maintenance.

If you choose to go for an internally managed system, the DIY approach, you will need to review technology vendors yourself to choose the one that best suits your bandwidth requirements and current WAN/LAN architecture. The right product matters, so this is something you’ll want to think through. 

What network security options are you looking for?

When you invest in SD-WAN technology, you also gain the ability to secure unreliable Internet links and traffic flows. They generally provide basic firewall capabilities as well as content filtering, endpoint identification and management, and policy enforcement capabilities. They can also deploy packet identification to understand your traffic flows that determine if traffic is coming from a trusted location. It’s important to talk to your technology vendor to understand the specific network security capabilities they offer with their SD-WAN options.

How easy is the deployment?

When you have remote offices, you may or may not have on-location IT staff. If you don’t have IT staff on location, you need to ensure that whatever SD-WAN option you choose is easily deployed and understood by those without deep technical knowledge. SD-WAN products should be plug-and-play with WAN circuits and remote configuration. They should easily integrate into the existing network equipment and network security products at the branch.

What does your current WAN/LAN branch architecture look like?

Unless you are getting rid of your current set-up and starting from scratch, you will already have a base of WAN and LAN equipment already deployed that a new SD-WAN solution will need to integrate with. This can include routers, firewalls, IP VPNs, LAN switches, Wi-Fi controllers, and WAN optimization products. While SD-WAN technology usually integrates well with your existing set-up, it will probably require you to deploy another piece of equipment at your branch locations. This process gives your IT department the opportunity to review your existing set-up and review what’s working and what could be replaced. 

If you’re looking to find a partner for your SD-WAN managed services, we can help. Contact us for a free consultation. 

Trends in SD-WAN You Need to Know About


2020 is going to be a year of innovation. Businesses are poised to embrace the Internet of Things (IoT) more fully and rely more and more on the cloud to lower costs and remain agile. This means that the white-hot SD-WAN market will continue to explode with more vendors and suppliers introducing new products or building on their existing offerings. In fact, PRNewswire’s research shows that the SD-WAN market and the like will exceed $5 Billion dollars by 2025. 

With all of this, what should we expect? We expect you will see innovations in cloud onramps, support for leading SaaS applications, security and management/automation platforms as the year goes on. But what else is in store for SD-WAN this year? Here are the top five trends we’re watching this year.

Improved security, both in vendor partnerships and built into the technology.

The nature of SD-WAN, leveraging the bandwidth of mostly unsecured internet connections, makes it particularly vulnerable security-wise. Since the beginning, SD-WAN vendors have beefed up their offerings with additional security to ensure data remains safe. This year, we expect that SD-WAN suppliers will continue to improve the depth and breadth of their native security protocols to counter the rising tide of cybercrime.

Additionally, we expect that SD-WAN suppliers will start to take advantage of strategic partnerships with big-name security firms, building those capabilities into their offerings. These partnerships should offer a one-stop security solution for easy orchestration and management, along with the ability to include analytics that may warn on impending attacks.

Enhanced integration with large cloud providers.

No business uses just one cloud provider anymore. The offerings are too numerous and too critical to limit to just one application. In the coming year, you can expect SD-WAN to give your employees a seamless user experience, no matter what cloud-based application they are using. SD-WAN automation will also make adding new cloud applications easier than ever, despite the inherent complexities. 

Greater extension of SD-WAN deployment.

SD-WAN deployment is poised to break out of the office in the coming year. As our lives become ever more technology-enabled, the SD-WAN edge will continue to expand to ships, trains, and even the backpacks of first responders, wherever high-quality cloud-connected activity is needed. This trend will drive WAN transformation beyond the office and into every aspect of the way business is done.

Better support for SaaS.

With the expansion of business reliance on the cloud, SaaS providers have become more and more crucial to the way business gets done. But it’s challenging for today’s IT departments to guarantee the quality of service to these applications because of non-standard services, security mechanisms, APIs and management tools. Currently, it’s up to the IT department to clear each SaaS provider within the SD-WAN management portal. We expect this to change in the coming year. Knowing the importance of the critical SaaS applications, SD-WAN suppliers will continue to improve their automation of policies designed to deliver appropriate QoS without IT intervention.

Service providers enhance their offerings to include managed service options.

Currently, about half of enterprises who have deployed SD-WAN are using a managed services solution, and service providers have taken notice and are gearing up to meet this need. A select few service providers already have years of pilots under their belts. Many have realized that their initial technology options were too limiting to their customers. This year, they will amp up their SD-WAN solutions offerings to more fully satisfy the needs of their customers.

If you’re looking to find a partner for your SD-WAN managed services, we can help. Contact us for a free consultation. 

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