What Are Managed SD-WAN Services and Why Should You Care?

May 5, 2020 Eric Dosal Eric Dosal

4 Min Read

Today’s organizations depend on their network services more than ever. Over the last decade, those networks have become increasingly complex and, in many cases, much more difficult to manage. As enterprises continue to add new services and platforms to their networks, they are slowly discovering that the existing wide-area networks (WANs) used to manage them are no longer up to the challenge of today’s demanding business environment. Fortunately, virtualization technologies are providing an ideal solution to this problem.

What is a Traditional WAN?

Long a staple of computer networking, the purpose of a WAN is to connect the different locations of an enterprise to the organization’s critical applications and data. A traditional WAN usually consisted of a primary office, branch offices, and a private data center. Dedicated MPLS circuits helped to keep connections both secure and reliable, routing all data traffic through a centralized data center hub.

While this system was sufficient for a different era of networking, it presents several challenges for modern enterprises. Today’s organizations no longer host all data and applications in a private data center. Some of those assets may be stored on servers in a colocation data center that’s managed by a third party, or they could be hosted on any number of cloud computing platforms. In fact, the average organization leverages five different cloud services, which can introduce an enormous amount of complexity into a WAN.

Traditional WANs were not designed to scale rapidly enough to meet the changing needs of today’s enterprises. While it’s possible to connect different locations and services to the WAN, the network architecture is difficult to manage and creates serious performance issues as data traffic is routed inefficiently through the system. Cloud-based applications also created a variety of additional security concerns as they greatly increase overall network traffic.

What is SD-WAN?

A software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) is a virtualized WAN connection that functions as an overlay that incorporates all existing network connections. It simplifies the management of that network by using intelligent routing to send data packets along the most efficient and secure lines possible. Where a traditional WAN forces all data to follow strictly defined pathways, an SD-WAN is more outcome-focused. It optimizes routing paths according to business priorities and bandwidth needs, which allows organizations to manage traffic dynamically to ensure high levels of SD-WAN security and performance.

Thanks to the benefits of SD-WAN technology, enterprises can control all network traffic through a single dashboard that is easily accessible. As a virtualized solution, SD-WAN doesn’t require costly investments in new infrastructure. Organizations can maintain their existing MPLS-based WAN structures and use the SD-WAN to manage and scale them more efficiently.

In addition to providing a better application experience for users (since dynamically routed application traffic improves speed and uptime reliability), SD-WAN systems make it far easier to optimize workflows for cloud platforms. They also offer improved visibility and security controls because SD-WAN security and access policies can be established once and then permeated throughout the entire network. This will become even more important as organizations begin to incorporate more Internet of Things (IoT) devices along the edges of their networks.

What Are Managed SD-WAN Services?

While SD-WAN services may offer substantial benefits in terms of speed, control, and convenience, they require a great deal of expertise to set up and manage. A typical enterprise will often need to incorporate its main office, multiple branch locations, a data center (both private and outsourced), and multiple cloud computing services under a single SD-WAN architecture. That’s a lot of configurations and SD-WAN security controls to consider, to say nothing of the need to troubleshoot any challenges that arise along the way.

For many companies, the fastest and most effective way to get an SD-WAN up and running is to partner with a managed services provider who specializes in setting up and managing SD-WAN architecture. Building out and training an entire team of network engineers to implement a new virtualized networking system could prove both time-consuming and costly. A managed SD-WAN service provider, however, can hit the ground running to start transforming an enterprise’s network quickly and with minimal disruption. And once the initial setup work is completed, the same team will remain on-hand to help manage and improve every aspect of it.

One of the most important advantages of outsourcing this service is that it allows in-house IT teams to continue focusing on high-value tasks such as developing innovative new services that will help the business to continue growing. In today’s technology-driven service economy, quality IT personnel provide a key competitive advantage. Partnering with a managed SD-WAN service provider ensures that organizations are able to free up the resources necessary for their technology teams to be more productive.

Choosing the Right Managed SD-WAN Service Provider

Since SD-WAN is a relatively new technology solution, it’s important to evaluate potential providers very carefully before selecting a partner. Not every provider may offer the same level of service and expertise, and if they don’t have a background in cybersecurity, they could overlook potential SD-WAN security gaps that result in costly data breaches.

At Compuquip Cybersecurity, our teams not only possess extensive networking and security experience, but also a proven commitment to delivering quality managed services. We offer customizable SD-WAN services, either taking over the management of your SD-WAN entirely or using a co-managed solution that keeps your team in the loop. Unlike many providers who direct their customers to call centers when they need support, our SD-WAN services put you in contact with senior-level engineers to ensure you get the expert resources you need immediately.

Contact our team today to tell us about your managed SD-WAN services needs and we can get started building and managing the secure, flexible network that will transform your business.

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