5 Essential steps when choosing an SD-WAN provider

June 4th, 2020
5 Essential steps when choosing an SD-WAN provider

After thorough research and consideration, you’ve finally decided to switch to a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN). You’re sure that this type of network will address problems such as high bandwidth costs and unreliable connections.

With the right provider, you’re confident that migrating to this type of network will be a breeze. But the key here is finding the right provider. Choosing the wrong vendor will lead to unnecessary costs and headaches.

Here's our advice on how to practice due diligence when evaluating a potential SD-WAN provider.

Step #1: Identify the needs of your company

Before you jump into evaluating potential SD-WAN providers, you should clarify your business's networking needs.

  • What are your bandwidth requirements?
  • What applications do you use?
    • Are these hosted on-premises or in the cloud?
    • Do these require live streams, such as those that deliver video and voice calls?
  • Are employees connecting to your network from fixed locations (e.g., an office building) or do some of them work remotely?
  • Are you looking for networking technologies that are on-premises or delivered via the cloud?
  • How much are you willing to spend for your networking solutions?

This is also a great time to reevaluate why you want to switch to an SD-WAN in the first place.

  • Do you want to improve network reliability?
  • Are you trying to cut down on long-term networking-related costs?
  • Do you plan to sign up for more cloud services or to eventually migrate entirely to the cloud?
  • Do you want to support more remote workers?
  • Are you hoping to improve network security?
  • Do you want to minimize unexpected and unavoidable changes to your IT infrastructure?

Grab a copy of our Network Performance checklist to find out which areas of your current IT infrastructure need improvement.

Step #2: Determine whether the SD-WAN provider’s solution fits your needs

When meeting with potential SD-WAN providers, provide a clear and concise summary of the answers to questions from step #1. Ask providers how they'll prioritize and address your biggest concerns. This will be a long-term partnership, so everything should be out in the open during the negotiation stage.

Step #3: Evaluate the SD-WAN provider's track record

Upgrading to an SD-WAN is a massive undertaking. You have to make sure that the vendor you choose is reliable and trustworthy. These questions are a surefire way to gauge that:

  • How many clients have you migrated to an SD-WAN setup?
  • Do you have testimonials from SD-WAN clients and can I contact them?
  • How many SD-WAN sites have you set up and which one was the largest?

What our clients say about working with us:

“Ubisec has helped Hartwell with a couple WAN projects and I’ve had the pleasure of working with Eddie for much of it. Besides being extremely knowledgeable, he is very reliable and his passion for pleasing the customer is clearly evident in his work. I recommend Eddie highly and hope to work with him again real soon."

— Adan L., Hartwell Corporation

“Eddie, the Principal Consultant of Ubisec, is a talented individual who was able to help my company through a difficult transitional period. His experience is illustrated by his ability to solve real-world problems in a heartbeat. He patiently trained less experienced junior network admins to bring them up to speed with our current infrastructure and allow them to troubleshoot recurring issues and set up new hardware. I highly recommend Eddie and his organization and look forward to working with him in the future.”

— Josh W., Manager of Information Technology, Nicholas Laboratories

The provider you pick should have no trouble verifying their expertise in this area. Ubisec, for example, has certifications and partnerships with top tech firms like Cisco, the most widely recognized company in the world for enterprise-grade SD-WAN hardware, software, and peripherals.

As a 15-year Cisco premier partner, we...

  • specialize in security, data center, collaboration, and wireless technology solutions.
  • ensure most of our technicians are Cisco certified.
  • deliver excellent pre- and post-sales support.

Another thing you can look for is industry awards. For instance, we've been recognized by CRN and other respected IT organizations.

Step #4: Scrutinize the SD-WAN provider’s migration, management, and security strategy

Ask potential vendors the following questions:

  • Given my existing network infrastructure, how much time and money would it take to migrate to SD-WAN?
  • What kind of support will I get after deployment?
  • How will you maintain my network security?

Ubisec’s SD-WAN-as-a-Service uses cloud technology to deploy uniform SD-WAN and security policies across multiple sites. Real-time analytics, visibility, and control ensure performance is optimized for cloud and on-premises applications. Last but not the least, our superior threat intelligence keeps users, devices, and applications protected at all times.

Step #5: Ask yourself if you can build a long-term relationship with the SD-WAN provider

You should be absolutely certain that a vendor has the technical skills, experience, manpower, and capacity to support your business’s growth as time goes on. They should go above and beyond to pitch a detailed, long-term roadmap that illustrates how they will support your evolving IT requirements.

Ask potential providers how quickly they could make major modifications to your SD-WAN if your business were to experience rapid growth, acquire another company, or suddenly changes its requirements. With Ubisec’s SD-WAN-as-a-Service, you'll enjoy the flexibility, adaptability, and scalability that our cloud-first architecture provides. This allows you to safely connect any user to any application via the cloud.

Want to learn more about Cisco's SD-WAN solutions? Watch this demo or ask our IT experts anything.

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