Today, connectivity and control over data are essential for success. While IT capabilities and new applications may stand out to most business leaders, the network architecture determines the selection, features, and performance of these digital tools.
In a previous blog post, we defined SD-WAN and explored its general advantages. But what if a business has a handful of locations in the same geographic region? How about a global organization with hundreds of regional and satellite offices? Despite their contrast in scale, SD-WAN could offer identical benefits to both of these businesses. In this blog post, we’ll explore the top benefits of SD-WAN for multi-location businesses of all different shapes and sizes.
A Quick Review of SD-WAN
SD-WAN stands for software-defined wide area network. It’s a type of architecture that connects separate locations to a unified network. Traditional WANs rely on physical infrastructure for connectivity. This can make WANs expensive and expensive to scale.
On the other hand, SD-WAN is a cloud-based service that relies on software, not physical infrastructure. It can be run “over the top” of any network, only requiring that each location has an SD-WAN device to connect.
This is why SD-WAN offers similar benefits to all multi-location businesses. Size, scale, and geographic separation are solved by software.
What Are the Specific Benefits of SD-WAN for Multi-Location Business?
Simplified and Centralized Management—Regardless of Scale
No matter how many locations a business has, SD-WAN ensures the entire network can be managed through a single interface. This simplicity streamlines the entire networking process, from initial configuration through monitoring, maintenance, and troubleshooting.
The interface utilizes software called an SD-WAN controller (or Centralized Management Controller). This provides complete command over the network and all locations to administrators. They can set specific policies for traffic that prioritize essential data, like VoIP packets, and optimize application routing, security settings, and other essential parameters. Administrators even have the ability to control connected devices at separate locations.
Improved Performance and Reliability
While SD-WAN’s simplicity and centralization of management provides a range of benefits, enhanced performance is at the top of the list. The ability to prioritize traffic across the entire network means that administrators can optimize the speed of applications according to their requirements and value to the business as a whole. Known as Quality of Service (QoS) prioritization, this ensures that mission-critical applications run smoothly and each location gets the bandwidth they need.
Because SD-WAN is cloud-based, it relies on redundant, internet-facing circuits. This ensures that if an SD-WAN connection is disrupted, the SD-WAN device will automatically find a routing workaround according to pre-set management policies. This ensures virtually no downtime for critical applications.
The very nature of SD-WAN offers multi-site security, as each location connects to the network through encrypted VPN tunnels. This helps ensure that data transmitted between sites remains safe from unauthorized users. Additionally, quality SD-WAN providers offer a host of other built-in security features, such as firewalling and intrusion detection and prevention systems.
The centralized management of SD-WAN empowers administrators to develop an extremely secure network. First, they can segment and even microsegment the network to reduce the cyberattack surface and isolate specific applications and dataflows from general traffic. Secondly, they can quickly deploy security updates and patches across every location if an intrusion occurs.
Substantial Cost Savings
Because SD-WAN is built on cloud-based software as opposed to physical infrastructure, it is inherently less expensive than traditional WAN services. Additionally, WANs use Multiprotocol Label Switching, or MPLS, which requires specialized routers and switches that are costly to install and maintain. This MPLS expense is even greater for businesses that require international links. In contrast, SD-WAN only needs internet connections, which can be obtained through the most cost-effective provider for each individual location.
Enhanced Business Agility
As a cloud-based solution that relies on software instead of infrastructure, SD-WAN is built to be scalable. Not only is adding a new location as straightforward as configuring an additional SD-WAN controller, but most SD-WAN providers also allow their customers to increase or decrease bandwidth as needed.
Because SD-WAN is cloud-based, integrating new cloud services and applications is generally easy and cost-effective with SD-WAN. This offers a level of future-proofing for communications and avoids the often costly implementation and less-than-optimal performance when integrating disparate technologies.
Support for SD-WAN Connectivity
While SD-WAN offers simplicity in multi-location networking, selecting and implementing the ideal SD-WAN solution for an organization can be complex. This potential complexity only increases with more locations, particularly if they are in different countries.
IPC and SD-WAN
That’s why you should strongly consider our SD-WAN and Connectivity Service. There are myriad SD-WAN providers, approaches to deployment, and configurations specific to the customer’s unique needs. Having an expert in networking and cloud solutions can help ensure that your network architecture is an asset to your business in the present and future.
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