We live in an age that is accelerating the pace of business beyond anything our for-bearers could have dreamed themselves. Modern businesses need to leverage new technologies to increase the speed and scope of their businesses in order to remain competitive. Sleeping on the greatest new productivity-enhancing technology can easily leave a business in the dust of those who do not. Today’s business needs to be able to divert an ever-increasing flow of information towards an ever-increasing cadre of clients, all of whom must be able to access that information on an ever-increasing array of devices that even the most diligent of IT professionals struggle to keep a hold on. Protecting said flow of information from the beginning to the end of its journey across the web has seemed like a costly fantasy for years now, and the rise of cloud computing threatens to complicate an already muddled security sector even further.
Enter Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (or SD-WAN). The cloud has finally made possible a deliverance that IT departments have prayed for and dreamt of for years: a central hub from which to control the seemingly infinite devices that populate the modern business landscape. Developing a single software interface capable of managing all of a company’s network hardware in a unified fashion seemed an impossible fancy a few short years ago, but now the technology is not merely possible, it’s downright economical. SD-WAN’s intelligent routing capabilities allow networks to connect at speeds faster than ever, with more security oversight than ever before thanks to its central administration hub, all while saving both man hours and dollars.
So why adopt SD-WAN? What sets it apart from the networking fads of yesteryear? In a word: agility. Comprehensibly protecting a company’s data has always been possible, simply slow and unwieldy. Setting up a new workstation to conform to harsh security standards could easily be a day-long affair using non-cloud managed security, much less a new branch office. SD-WAN simplifies that entire process by centralizing the configuration and execution of interconnecting offices. No longer do individual devices have to be programmed by hand, they simply need to be connected to and able to receive their instructions from the cloud. The bottom line is this: SD-WAN enables the simple and swift connection of new sites and devices to your network, all while making sure your hard-earned secrets stay secret.
A skeptic may then ask, does all of this cloud-based configuration and deployment of policy not come with increased bandwidth costs? While this may be the case with other cloud-based software, SD-WAN won’t just protect your bandwidth, it’ll expand it. It does this in two major ways. Firstly, the centralized cloud administration makes it far easier to protect your bandwidth from applications and devices that are siphoning it off – banning the accounting department from Facebook, while allowing marketing to continue using it for less personal pursuits has never been simpler. Furthermore, SD-WAN uses a combination of private lines and public internet along with intelligent bandwidth load balancing to ensure that your data always takes the ideal route from point A to point B. These features more than make up for the bandwidth costs of the configuration itself, making your connection not only more secure, but also faster.
Which brings us to, perhaps, the greatest reason why SD-WAN is beginning to see such wide spread adoption: its cost. Common sense would dictate that the newest and greatest creation only comes after forking over an equally “great” pile of cash. In this case, such an assumption couldn’t be further from the truth, as while SD-WAN does come with costs, the costs that it saves more than make up for it. The man hours that are saved on configuring individual security devices alone more than makes up for the cost of the service, as valuable IT personnel can be freed up to focus on tasks which utilize their skill set more than entering the same lines of code a hundred (or a hundred thousand) times ever could. When combined with the reduced bandwidth costs which SD-WAN’s intelligent routing systems can provide, any subscribing company will quickly find themselves enjoying previously unknown connection and setup speeds without the security threats, error-laden scaling issues, or price tag that similar, older technologies have commanded.