In a traditional network, routing and network control are mainly done through physical devices, which can be complex and limited in flexibility and scalability. However, there are network control and management solutions that deliver numerous advantages.
SD-WAN (software-defined wide area network) technology separates the network hardware from the control mechanism, enabling greater agility in operating and managing a wide area network (WAN). These solutions enable companies to effectively manage firewalls and routers, software and firmware updates, virtual private networks (VPNs), and remote customers. Many organizations are adopting this technology as it provides an efficient and centralized way to manage critical network elements. In fact, according to one study, more than 95% of businesses have implemented SD-WANs or plan to do so in the next 24 months. This growth in the SD-WAN market can be attributed to improved networking across geographies, lower costs, higher productivity, and better compatibility with software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscriptions and Cloud-based applications.
But as SD-WAN has evolved, a new set of challenges has emerged that companies must address to help them take full advantage of this technology.
What challenges does this technology pose?
SD-WAN deployments have become more complex, which puts organizations to the test and can hinder their ability to maximize the benefits delivered by this innovative technology.
The diversity of existing network infrastructures in organizations can hinder the effective integration of SD-WAN.
Migration and consolidation:
SD-WAN implementation often involves migrating and consolidating multiple links and service providers, further complicating deployment and requiring careful transition management.
Security management and compliance with regulatory requirements can be additional challenges to ensuring adequate data protection across the network.
Performance and scalability:
Some SD-WAN solutions may face performance issues when overloaded due to limited processing and routing capacity resulting in bottlenecks.
Change management and training:
Implementation involves a significant transition in the existing network infrastructure, which may require training and adaptation by IT staff.
Key Practices for Maximizing SD-WAN Benefits
SD-WAN offers a flexible solution for changing business connectivity needs and, when properly implemented, can boost your customers' productivity and competitiveness in today's digital environment. How can you achieve this?
Before implementing SD-WAN, it is essential to conduct detailed planning and understand the specific needs and objectives of each customer, assess the existing infrastructure, and define performance and security requirements.
Selecting the right solution:
Different SD-WAN solutions are available on the market, and selecting the one that suits your organization's needs best is crucial. Considering scalability, interoperability, security, and ease of management is essential when making this decision.
Optimized design and configuration:
Properly defining routing policies, quality of service (QoS), and security measures will enable better traffic management and service delivery.
Integrating security features such as data encryption, intrusion prevention, and authentication will ensure data protection and protect the confidentiality of information transmitted over the network.
Continuous monitoring and proactive management:
Using appropriate monitoring and management tools will allow you to quickly identify and resolve any problems or bottlenecks and adjust the configuration as required.
Training and education:
Ensuring staff are familiar with SD-WAN functionalities, configurations, and best practices will contribute to practical use and quick troubleshooting.
Combining firewalls (such as WatchGuard Firebox) and SD-WAN for your customers is a way to extend your solution portfolio, enables you to get the most out of the solution, and helps you optimize your customers' WAN performance by selecting the best path for traffic based on defined policies. In addition, SD-WAN can efficiently load-balance across multiple network links and take advantage of available connectivity options such as dedicated lines, broadband connections, or wireless networks. Firebox provides robust security features, while SD-WAN adds agility and efficiency to traffic routing and network management. These technologies provide a reliable, secure, high-performance network infrastructure for organizations looking to improve business connectivity.