In the last year, businesses have been tasked with implementing remote working at an unprecedented scale. Achieving this has been no small feat, and maintaining business operations while adapting IT networks for additional demand has put extra strain on internal teams. This includes rolling out new applications, services, and technology that supports remote workers during national lockdowns while simultaneously managing ever-changing bandwidth, network traffic, and the security of business-critical data. These problems are magnified when leaving the safety of security perimeters that are traditionally set up for end-users working within office locations.
These challenges are likely to remain for the long-term. Workforces will not be returning to the same office environments they left behind. Hybrid methods of working that allow employees to work from either the office, home, or any remote location will become the norm, and 55% of business leaders have already planned to implement better equipment to sustain this new way of working.
Network Management in the New Working World
For network management, enterprise businesses require a method of accurately keeping track of their IT networks in real-time. However, if you're still using traditional WAN telecommunication networks, the ability to respond to requests for additional services at speed or make adjustments to network controls is reduced. IT teams are missing out on the ability to prioritise critical traffic, scale bandwidth, and monitor the performance of their network.
This is why for 2021 and beyond, 73% of security professionals feel that having comprehensive visibility of their network infrastracture is their key business priority, naming it as their top concern. And SD-WAN is the most effective solution to this problem.
The Benefits of SD-WAN
A software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) solution allows organisations to improve the management of their wide area network architecture. By creating a virtual network overlay to sit on top of your existing networks, you can benefit from increased agility and flexibility to move connectivity across circuits when suitable. Network managers can execute all this from a central, software-based application. This allows them to complete actions quickly, informed by real-time network monitoring data. For your business, teams can get the network availability and security they need to continue working effectively, no matter where they are.
SD-WAN lets your business:
- Centralise the control of your network management. Across security, traffic, and applications.
- Experience cost-savings in comparison to traditional MPLS.
- Unlock end-to-end encryption of all your business data that travels on networks.
- Integrate next-generation firewalls to strengthen your security.
- Improve network mobility and utilise any transport mode.
- Reduce the overall complexity of your networks with a single platform for network administrators.
How SD-WAN Improves Network Visibility & Control
An SD-WAN solution enables faster service delivery of key network management processes while streamlining operations for your network administrators. Here are some of its key features.
End-users have access to a straightforward platform with the interface to manage networks fast, helping them create the most value out of your network resources.
Network administrators can control traffic routing, application performance, and security all from one place - using a high availability platform that makes it easy to scale processes up or down. With SD-WAN, visibility of network performance is enhanced and you'll benefit from improved ease of control, allowing your organisation to become reactive to demand or employees needs.
A key benefit of SD-WAN is that it is transport-agnostic, so regardless of network provider or the location of network edges, you can utilise any transport mode. Business data can be prioritised across your broadband Internet, MPLS, Ethernet, cable, DSL, 4G/5G, or private line, giving your network managers the flexibility to achieve top performance.
Security considerations are a vital component of network controls, and compared to traditional WAN architecture, SD-WAN provides additional multi-layered security options that meet the demands of modern-day applications. Such as cloud-based resources or workloads.
To cover these bases, SD-WAN is deployed with end-to-end encryption. This works by introducing an encrypted 'tunnel' over broadband by using MPLS routing, guaranteeing the security of sensitive business data while connecting traffic from disparate locations.
Additionally, an SD-WAN solution can go beyond the capabilities of standard firewalls. This is especially important when managing the level of security provisions that are required for remote users who connect directly to cloud-based resources. Next-generation firewalls (NGF) are integrated with SD-WAN to combine multi-layered security and network management into one system, so data is protected – even if your employees are using third party applications that aren't usually visible.
To prepare for the future, organisations must anticipate their growing network needs. Whether adopting new applications to let employees work from anywhere or extending the reach of your IT network to new locations, it's easy to understand how costs can continue to grow without visibility of how network resources are allocated. For example, the additional hardware expenses of adding to traditional network architectures, or ongoing service and maintenance costs.
As the name suggests, SD-WAN enables software-based management. This means processes can be managed remotely, reducing cost and time resources for your internal teams, and avoiding the expense of fixing or maintaining hardware over time.
Strengthen Your Network With SD-WAN
By switching to a highly-efficient method of monitoring the visibility and control network traffic, your network administrators can remain reactive to employee or organisational demands. All managed from a central, software-based application.
Getting started with an SD-WAN solution is easy with the support of a fully managed service provider. Learn more about the specifications of SD-WAN, and how Intercity can assist your network management in our comprehensive SD-WAN datasheet.