As the new work-from-anywhere approach seems to be an increasingly permanent solution, IT teams are working to accommodate networking requirements. From segmenting and prioritizing network traffic to meeting the performance demands of cloud solutions, networking has become more complex and more critical to keeping business moving.
When networking is inadequate, remote workers struggle with productivity and efficiency. Issues like latency and congestion corrupt the quality of collaborative solutions like video conferencing, slowing decision-making and brainstorming sessions. IT is responding to work-from-anywhere pressures with a category of virtual network overlay solutions called software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN). Here are two factors pushing SD-WAN adoption:
Connecting Widely-Dispersed Branch and Home Office Locations: Whether it is due to an acquisition or merger, a new expansion or a shift to remote work, companies need an efficient, cost effective, and affordable way to connect geographically dispersed locations. Adding additional branch locations bogs down traditional WANs with latency and downtime, and any setup, configuration, or troubleshooting requires the physical presence of network administrators.
SD-WAN offers a virtualized solution, with central management and visibility, as well as zero-touch configuration and troubleshooting. Improved bandwidth distribution and network connectivity stability means that video conferencing occurs without interruptions or performance issues.
SD-WAN also provides better control for IT teams suddenly tasked with monitoring traffic across not only branch locations but also home offices. The centralized dashboard provides them with a view of how consumer-grade home routers and other devices are interacting with company resources.
Supporting Cloud Performance Requirements: The push to work-from-anywhere capabilities in 2020 motivated companies to accelerate their digital transformation strategies. While cloud adoption kept business processes in motion, cloud solutions tend to have high bandwidth requirements to maintain the right performance levels.
SD-WAN allows companies to offer connectivity from a variety of pathways, including not only costly-but-reliable multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) lines but also LTE, broadband, and more. This gives networking teams the flexibility to prioritize transmissions that require real-time reliability to an MPLS pathway, while email and other minor traffic can be directed to less-expensive avenues.
Traffic prioritization available through SD-WAN provides physicians with telehealth solutions that are no longer at risk for latency or dropped packets. It offers end-to-end encryption so that financial institutions are able to access and transmit sensitive personal information without concerns around cyber security. If at any point a threat is detected, the transmission in question can be isolated and addressed without interrupting all networking activity.
Transitioning to SD-WAN: Choosing the right SD-WAN solution requires an understanding of the prime motivation for implementing a virtual networking solution and how you will determine whether your objectives have been met. In addition, there are considerations around whether to handle networking in house or outsource to a managed services provider.
For guidance in evaluating SD-WAN providers and solutions, contact us at ITBroker.com. We can help you identify the most critical challenges affecting your infrastructure and then leverage the best solutions for cost-effective, high-performance work-from-anywhere connectivity.