How to Choose the Right SD-WAN Solutions Provider for Your Business
Simplifying your branch network while enabling agility and digital services requires an effective SD-WAN solution. The choice of who will design, implement and manage your solution – in-house or managed service provider – will directly impact your business’s success.
Choosing the right managed SD-WAN provider starts with assessing the vendor’s experience. Then, determine what is vital to your business.
A reasonable SD-WAN solutions providers can ease you through the design, architecture, and implementation process. It helps reduce downtime and ensures the solution is designed to meet your organization’s needs. A solution provider can also help you leverage multiple transport options – including MPLS, DMVPN, and VPN. They can also offer a managed service that delivers application performance and quality of experience (QoE) standards by establishing a few predetermined pathways over the public Internet.
The best SD-WAN providers use a combination of routing protocols and traffic optimization to improve application performance over links that run on the public Internet. It includes applications that are sensitive to latency and packet loss.
Working with a managed services provider with an extensive portfolio of appliances and a breadth of experience across many customer environments is crucial. Look for a partner with a high Net Promoter Score and an excellent track record of delivering on their promises. Then, ask them to talk about how they work with customers beyond the installation of their SD-WAN appliances.
When choosing an SD-WAN solutions provider, you want to find a vendor that offers flexible options that match your business needs. It includes many network connectivity and technology solutions, flexible deployment options, and a reliable managed service that minimizes IT burden.
The right partner will enable throughput improvements for essential applications, improve network performance and deliver a better end-user experience across all locations. It is a vital factor in improving employee productivity and the company’s ability to innovate.
A good provider will provide a flexible solution that utilizes multiple network connections to improve the overall performance of your WAN while reducing costs and minimizing downtime. It can include leveraging MPLS circuits, more affordable public or private links like 5G and broadband Internet, and more efficient public internet services like peering.
The best provider will also offer secure remote access options like SASE and Zero Trust security, ensuring that your employees only connect to authorized networks. It will help protect the organization from cybercriminals expected to inflict damages totaling $6 trillion by 2021.
The right SD-WAN partner will critically examine your organization’s security situation, ensuring that their solution can inspect encrypted traffic at network speeds, defend against the vast range of threats, and isolate and disarm live attacks. They should also help you to establish a micro-segmentation and zero trust strategy within your SD-WAN overlay, preventing malware from moving between secure segments and potentially compromising sensitive data.
While many SD-WAN solutions provide fast connectivity and improved performance for Software-as-a-Service applications, they often lack effective built-in security measures that protect against cyberattacks. Look for a solution with integrated security tools (not simply bolted on as aftermarket components) and deep-seated analytics within the online portal.
Look for a managed service option with a helpful dashboard and scalable tools that track traffic flows, capacity, and more. And make sure that the provider you choose is well-peered (as indicated by their presence on PeeringDB) and has a reputation for providing quality service. Then, you can feel confident that your business is in good hands.
A scalable system means hardware, software, and technology that can quickly add or remove resources to handle increased workloads and user demands. It also means being able to adjust performance to meet those demands seamlessly.
Look for a provider offering an SD-WAN solution that can be purchased as a stand-alone product or as part of a broader integrated network connectivity and technology solution. Ask the vendor whether they offer or manage networking equipment, cloud access, cellular connectivity (like 4G/LTE), security solutions like SASE and Zero Trust remote access, DDoS protection, private Cloud on-ramp access, and broadband Internet network access.
A scalable SD-WAN also supports the use of multiple types of connections to a branch, including MPLS, broadband, and LTE, and can intelligently route application traffic over the best available path in real-time, unlike traditional router-centric approaches that are complex, rigid, inefficient and not cloud-friendly. For example, they often require many management consoles, which can add complexity and cost to the solution. Look for an SD-WAN that includes AI for IT operations (AIOps) to help automate manual tasks, speed up problem remediation and reduce the burden on IT staff.
Many SD-WAN providers offer different pricing models to meet the needs of various customers. It is essential to do your research to determine which is the best fit for your organization. Look for a vendor that offers flexible and scalable options that will allow you to add or remove features as needed.
Additionally, you want to ensure that the vendor can provide additional services such as network security and application performance optimization. It will help ensure that your business receives the full benefits of the SD-WAN solution.
Another critical consideration is whether or not the provider has a middle-mile network and peering relationships into the public Internet. It can improve the quality of your network traffic by ensuring that packets are routed on optimized pathways rather than across the Internet willy-nilly.
A reasonable SD-WAN solutions provider can guide you through implementing an efficient and cost-effective network architecture that maximizes performance for your critical business applications.