The Common Pitfalls of SD-WAN Implementation
Companies with an e-commerce platform often believe that internet availability issues are a relatively simple fix. Just add in a few new backup circuits and you’re done. Not exactly. Many internet issues are a sign of more complex network problems that require precise and customized SD-WAN implementation.
SD-WAN uses software to control connectivity, management and services between data centers and remote branches or cloud instances. IDC reports that almost 95 percent of enterprises it surveyed expect to use SD-WAN within 24 months. And while SD-WAN has a variety of benefits, security is perhaps the greatest, particularly for financial, healthcare, and enterprise companies.
“With SD-WAN, mission-critical traffic and assets can be partitioned and protected against vulnerabilities in other parts of the enterprise,” says IDC. “This use case appears to be especially popular in verticals such as retail, healthcare, and financial. SD-WAN can also protect application traffic from threats within the enterprise and from outside by leveraging a full stack of security solutions included in SD-WAN such as next-gen firewalls, IPS, URL filtering, malware protection, and cloud security.”
SD-WAN implementation is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. In fact, it requires highly-skilled experts who take the time to understand the client’s network first. An SD-WAN provider rarely spends adequate time mapping the current network. For them, it is often all about bringing in the SD-WAN technology. Implementation is an afterthought. This mindset leads to a high rate of customer dissatisfaction due to increased costs, misconfigured networks, and ultimately, embarrassing project failures.
Instead, businesses need to partner with a SD-WAN provider that will assess their business requirements and their network topology from a high level first, before developing a customized network design that meets both their current and their future needs. SD-WAN installation must be configured correctly the first time, considering all of the factors relevant to each particular client. The risks are too high for anything else, and companies need to know their network is reliable and secure.
Security Is Key
Because security is at issue, customized network configuration is vital for protection. As IDC said, security can be quite complicated depending on the network and should include a full stack of security solutions.
Companies should choose a SD-WAN provider that offers top-notch security expertise and technology, with comprehensive knowledge of the most modern and robust security options. For example, BCM One provides Versa-supplied SD-WAN for the highest-level, granular security on the market.
In the case of a “simple” internet connection problem referenced above, a full network assessment often reveals issues with the existing network infrastructure. Misconfigured firewalls with no redundancy and misdirected internet traffic are often culprits, slowing response times, causing issues with uptime, and putting the network at much greater security risk.
What to Look for in a SD-WAN Implementation Partner
If you are having any kind of issue with your network, now is the time to find a telecom partner who can evaluate your current network topology to determine from where problems are originating, as well as opportunities to improve various aspects of your network you may not even realize need improvement. With fully managed SD-WAN, you can experience much greater reliability, security, scalability, and cost savings.
Be sure to partner with a provider proficient with managed SD-WAN implementation, as well with any other networking requirements you may have, such as AWS cloud migration, disaster recovery, and voice enabled Microsoft Teams. Working with a provider who can offer comprehensive services, technology and support will streamline your vendor management, reduce costs, and unify every aspect of your company’s communications and collaboration technology into a single platform.
What to Look for in a Managed SD-WAN Provider:
Your managed SD-WAN partner should configure a network to be:
Transport and Carrier agnostic – Never settle for a provider who is incentivized to sell certain products or solutions. You should be able to work with an SD-WAN implementation partner who recommends providers based on their experience with that provider, but ultimately, you should be able to choose any provider on a per-location basis for the most bandwidth at the lowest cost.
A transport and carrier-agnostic implementation partner will help you to reduce costs and ensure you have the high availability and flexibility possible for the price. They will also be able to speed deployment and automate network operations.
They should also offer:
Better use of bandwidth – To maximize efficiency and pay for only the bandwidth you actually use, an active-active SD-WAN architecture is a much better option than an active-passive WAN architecture. SD-WAN technologies with multi-path capabilities are easier than ever to deploy and manage, but they are complex and require specific skills. Be sure to partner with a provider who understands the intricacies and many alternative configurations of an active-active architecture.
Intelligent Path Selection – With intelligent Path Selection, application flows are automatically steered through the best available path for better application performance and a great end-user experience. Instead of using the same connection for every process, a fully-managed SD-WAN will automatically and rapidly prioritize traffic through the appropriate channel.
Fast deployments – The faster you can get your network up and running, the less disruption to business continuity you and your users will experience. By working with an experienced managed SD-WAN implementation provider, you will have peace of mind nothing is missed and all options have been considered. And while configurations will be highly customized, they should also be low-touch and leverage readily-available connectivity for the fastest deployments possible.
Application visibility and optimization – It is important that you have 24/7 access to network application performance. Your SD-WAN solution should automatically monitor and report on all applications running on the network and give you granular control. What you can’t see can hurt you, so make sure you can see the entire network at all times.
Secure connectivity – As much as connectivity matters, security trumps it. Cybercrime is a serious and growing issue, costing companies around the world at least $6 trillion dollars. Your managed SD-WAN solution must use the latest encryption technologies on overlay tunnels with options to add in firewall functions.
Centralized management – Chances are, you have multiple locations, making network management a challenge. Be sure your managed SD-WAN solution enables you to control all devices from a single portal, no matter how many locations you have. You and your team will spend less time tracking things down and more time on higher-value initiatives.