It’s natural for IT shops to replicate their current hardware and architecture when it’s time to refresh networking equipment. But refresh cycles provide a valuable opportunity to introduce software-defined WAN. SD-WAN can lead to reduced costs, streamlined management, improved end-user experience and more. Here are four SD-WAN factors that IT leaders should consider:
1. SD-WAN Has Upfront Costs but Long-Term Savings
SD-WAN can shift less latency-sensitive traffic off a multiprotocol label-switching circuit onto an internet circuit. MPLS is more expensive than the internet on a per-megabit basis, so this can cause substantial cost avoidance. Agencies may not save money during the first 12 to 18 months of an SD-WAN deployment, but can recoup investments within two years, and see ongoing savings after that.
2. Agencies Get Simplified Management with SD-WAN
Most SD-WAN solutions offer streamlined management via a central online portal. In traditional networking, administrators must remotely access individual routers and manually configure each of the devices, leading to significant hours of work. The centralized management of an SD-WAN architecture allows agencies to make changes to thousands of devices with relative ease.
3. IT Leaders Need to Plan and Design SD-WAN Deployments
To fully reap the benefits of SD-WAN, agencies must spend time planning out their implementations. If they quickly deploy an SD-WAN solution to offload traffic to the internet and don’t take time to standardize or leverage templates that reduce management complexity, they will not see the reduced management overhead promised by SD-WAN solutions.
4. SD-WAN Offers Agencies Decentralized Security
Until recently, most SD-WAN solutions provided only basic firewall capabilities without application-based firewalls or content filtering. However, solutions such as Cisco Meraki SD-WAN now provide unified threat management, allowing a decentralized security model with internet access. Such security solutions give users secure access to internet-based Software as a Service applications.