A Beginner’s Guide to SD-WAN

If you run a small or mid-sized business with even just two or three remote locations, you’ll benefit from a little research into SD-WAN and what it can do for you. While this may sound like a technical (and maybe even boring) discussion, SD-WAN could have far-reaching implications for the future success of your business.

Let’s start by learning what SD-WAN is, and then we’ll look at the ways it can help your business to be more cost-efficient and nimble.


What is SD-WAN?

SD-WAN is an acronym for software-defined networking in a wide network. It decouples the network hardware from its control mechanism, and the benefits are far-reaching. But before go into more depth about SD-WAN, let’s look at what most network administrators have been working with.

When your organisation has people working in several locations, your IT department probably has to deal with multiple network providers, and you’ll find that each provider has its own approach to networking. These different approaches can cause conflicts and complications.

For example, each network provider will have its own service-level agreement (SLA); therefore, you’ll have to sign a different legal contract with each provider, adding legal issues for your business to manage. Additionally, every location in your network will have its own security measures and network appliances, such as firewalls and routers. All of this hardware has to be maintained and managed at the various sites where you network operates, and if something goes wrong, someone at each site will have to troubleshoot.

All of these issues change with SD-WAN, which eliminates the need for special hardware and multiple network providers. Instead of managing disparate networks in various locations, you can control your entire network from one on-screen dashboard. You’ll no longer need technicians in each location who have to update routers and check connections, and you won’t have to deal with legal issues from multiple network providers using different contracts.

With an SD-WAN, you take your network out of the physical realm and into the cloud. The benefits of this move are many; we’ll take a look at them now.


How Can SD-WAN Help Your Business?

Perhaps you’ve already started to see how SD-WAN could be advantageous for your organisation. Let’s look at a few of the benefits in greater depth.

SD-WAN Offers Superior Performance

Because traditional networks are complicated and highly reliant on physical equipment, they’re also prone to errors and slow-downs. SD-WAN minimises complications and errors because the network is sleeker, simpler and easier to maintain.

But one of the most exciting attributes of SD-WAN is that it gives you the opportunity to take advantage of today’s innovative business products. You can combine your company’s voice and data while optimising bandwidth and running more efficiently. It’s built for today’s technology, so you’ll no longer have the problems of requiring constant updates and struggling to make everything work.

Instead of using a network system that was created for a generic business, get SD-WAN that is customised just for you. Our network experts can evaluate your needs, both for the present and the future, and build a network to suit your organisation perfectly.


Easy Network Management

With traditional networks, management can become extremely tricky, especially when you have people working in multiple locations. Data security tools are unwieldy and prone to failure when dealing with different kinds of hardware and various network providers.

With SD-WAN, however, you can control your entire network from one easy-to-use dashboard. At a glance, you can see which devices are connected and which applications are being used. Need to update your security? Simply add your update and send it out to every last device on your network.


Lower Costs

Keeping all of your networking hardware up-to-date and in good working order can be quite expensive, and you’ve probably also had a hard time knowing exactly how much bandwidth you need.

SD-WAN allows you to manage the bandwidth consumption of your applications to deliver optimum speeds and reliability, so you can cut down on your operational expenses.


Improved Data Security

Traditional networks are difficult to secure because the security measures are not built into the system. Each network provider includes its own security packages with its services, and some of these programs may conflict with each other. When you’re using more than one provider, things can get complicated pretty quickly.

With SD-WAN, security is built in, and it’s easy to make changes if necessary. With AES encryption at all packet levels across your entire network, even your remote sites will be protected from security breaches.


How Difficult Is It to Switch?

Your business never stops running, and your network is the central nervous system upon which your organisation runs. Many business owners put off any changes to their networks because they just can’t imagine what would happen if their network went down for a few days.

We understand this concern completely, and that’s why we’ve developed methods of upgrading your network to SD-WAN without any pain to your business. Our network experts can integrate your existing network and configure SD-WAN to your exact requirements.


The Future and SD-WAN

A new survey released by the International Workplace Group reported that almost 50 per cent of Australians work remotely at least half of the work week, and more than two-thirds work remotely at least one day per week.

It doesn’t seem likely that the workforce will soon return to the everyone-working-in-one-office mode that was so common in the past. While traditional computer networks were fine for offices where everyone spent their working hours together in the same building, those same networks are not working well for today’s work-where-you-want generation.

Today’s mobile workers need networks that can serve them where they are, whether they’re working from home, at the office, in a coffee shop or at a conference overseas. SD-WAN delivers the flexibility, speed and reliability to keep today’s workers competitive and connected.

If you’re interested in learning more about what SD-WAN can do for you, get in touch with us at CommuniCloud. We can explore your company’s networking needs and show you what can be done to optimise performance.



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