Software-Defined Wide Area Networks (SD-WAN) are how big businesses keep resources connected across multiple locations. This virtual architecture manages wide area networks so that users can securely and reliably access applications through a variety of methods, such as 4G LTE and 5G, Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS), Point to Point, Direct Internet Access, and broadband internet. This cloud technology can optimize and streamline business processes, propelling them to the next level and allowing them to achieve a significant advantage over their competition.
SD-WAN is not just growing—it is exploding. SD-WAN infrastructure revenue growth is projected to continue in its current trajectory, reaching nearly $7.2 billion in 2026. With so many SD-WAN solutions out there, it can be challenging to sort through the offers and find the best fit for your organization. If you are currently researching these solutions, it helps to understand the benefits this technology can provide.
What Are SD-WAN Solutions?
Today’s businesses are increasingly multi-location, often geographically dispersed across a city, state, nation, or the globe. So, how do these companies manage the complexity and risk of this type of operational environment? They choose a trusted managed services provider (MSP) to help design the ideal solution for their unique needs, risks, and goals. There are three major SD-WAN solutions you want to be aware of:
- On-Premises Solutions: Control for SD-WAN is on-premises. That might be a physical presence, or it could be in a private cloud. The entire SD-WAN server runs inside your domain.
- Controller-Based Solutions: In this case, the SD-WAN controller is offered as a service. The controller sits in the supplier’s cloud and is offered on a subscription basis. End users lease the controller, which sits in the supplier’s domain.
- Gateway-Based Solutions: This is a middle-mile solution. The SD-WAN supplier builds out a global meshed architecture. Your organization is responsible for connecting branch sites to the closest gateway.
Each solution offers increased security because data is encrypted from point A to point B. This is consistent throughout the day or from one day to the next, be it direct to site or spoke to spoke. The traffic will be encrypted and tunneled using the most current encryption technologies.
Managed services can establish smooth, on-demand connections to your cloud provider. When end users operate software within the cloud provider’s environment, it becomes integrated into the SD-WAN network. This setup ensures secure access to all your network resources and includes fundamental firewall features within the SD-WAN appliances.
It’s relatively easy for organizations to move from one type of SD-WAN to another as they scale, though that’s generally not necessary. Each style of SD-WAN scales easily in its own way. It’s more about finding the SD-WAN solution best suited for your organizational needs. SD-WAN can enhance the effectiveness of MPLS by adding a complementary tool to the toolbox, or it can replace MPLS-based networks altogether.
In the transition to cloud-based solutions, ensuring availability becomes increasingly critical. This means you need to ensure consistent availability not only at your headquarters but also at all other locations. In addition, you may have compliance obligations related to various standards. It’s crucial to assess how your current solutions will seamlessly integrate with new ones in this context.
The Benefits of SD-WAN
SD-WAN solutions do more than simply connect people to applications. Managed SD-WAN solutions enable secure enterprise-wide connectivity, enhance communication, and facilitate collaboration. This cloud technology improves multiple areas, streamlining processes and setting companies up for leveraging opportunities.
Today’s businesses cannot survive without properly managing their communication needs. But unfortunately, not every location where businesses are needed offers optimal communication conditions. SD-WAN is designed to overcome pain points and shortcomings in traditional WANs, such as prioritizing voice packets, leveraging multiple connections for rapid shifts in demand, and load balancing to improve latency. It also uses techniques for improving resource utilization, resulting in an enhanced user experience even in areas where connections have been traditionally unreliable. The result is a reliable, consistent, and secure connection, no matter where your users are.
Greater Cost Efficiency
Return on investment (ROI) is always top of mind for business leadership—that’s true for any technology investment. SD-WAN solutions are easier to deploy and take advantage of internet connectivity, providing a simple and cost-effective solution that delivers a greater ROI than expensive private circuit WANs.
Not only is SD-WAN deployment easier, but so is the management. Centralized administration can improve visibility over the entire network. SD-WANs, unlike traditional WANs, use a convenient graphic user interface (GUI) to represent resources. It lets administrators set policies across all network devices and allows for failover in case of an issue.
Improved Scalability and Flexibility
Scalability and flexibility are key concerns in today’s dynamic economic and business climate. Failing to scale up with demand means lost opportunity. For many years, businesses relied on pricey MPLS lines to connect their remote offices to a central data center. The greater the bandwidth demand, the more expensive it became, eventually making it cost-prohibitive to support. It also took significant time to provision new lines.
With SD-WAN, adding new assets and applying consistent policies is easy. Since these networks are independent of transport, businesses are no longer tied to a particular carrier for connectivity, adding even more flexibility. Whole sites can be brought online rapidly when needed.
Security is of utmost concern for every business that relies on continuous connectivity to their branches, employees, suppliers, and customers. As technology advances, so does the risk of intrusion, theft, and malware. Those same gateways that allow access to authorized users are a beacon of opportunity for those looking for a way into your network. Cybercriminals never rest, and neither should your network security.
SD-WAN is, by design, safer than its predecessors, as it uses the same interfaces for managing each location and user. Rather than directing all traffic back to a central location, every branch in the network is connected with cloud access, meaning even remote users have a secure connection. With secure access service edge (SASE), companies get the best of managed network and security services such as firewalls, security brokers, secure web gateways, and zero-trust network access.
Choose a Trusted Managed Services Provider for Your SD-WAN Solutions
BCM One boasts an expert technical staff capable of planning, managing, and building an SD-WAN solution specifically designed for your organization and its unique needs. From integration to architecture to traffic routing, we can design the perfect SD-WAN solution for your company. Contact us to talk to a representative about how BCM One can put SD-WAN to work for your organization. Improve communications, increase security, and reduce costs—you can get started today.