Are you SD-WAN ready?

August 8, 2017 Mike Winder

Over the last 18 months, SD-WAN has emerged as the new platform for building and operating Enterprise IP networks. According to Global Data (formerly Current Analysis), 58 per cent of enterprises are evaluating the use of SD-WAN on their networks and plan to allocate 8 per cent of their networking budgets to SD-WAN equipment and services this year.

In my previous blog, I explored some of the common technology pitfalls facing organisations adopting SD-WAN. However, my team and I still witness resistance to change. There seems to be a real fear of adopting something new and untried, with a lack of clarity around what is best for the organisation. Should organisations try and manage it themselves, or should they work with a trusted provider who can manage it all for them?

Look at your organisation’s structure

For many organisations there are separate teams that work across network, security and IT. They all have different skill sets and areas of responsibility. The network team looks after the routers, the security team looks after the firewalls and the IT managers are responsible for the infrastructure.

Introduce SD-WAN, and the physical separation in these functions is removed. You’re now in a position where your network layer may be virtualised, and routing is in the same place as your security – so, who manages it? Who is the decision-maker on the policies for these devices? What you need is one aligned team to manage the distinct functions.

Manage risk and try something new

Unlike traditional MPLS WANs, SD-WAN offers flexibility to try out new configurations and services before you commit and quickly ramp-up proof of concepts. Leading analytical company, Global Data,   that organisations should try low-risk implementations first, and work with Service Provider partners that can provide them with use cases, and customer testimonials to prove success. This will help IT managers build a less risky business case.

The final consideration that needs to be made is whether you go DIY or fully managed. DIY is dependent on a high level of skill within your internal IT department and is more likely to have hidden costs as you come up against things that haven’t been planned.

Opting for a managed SD-WAN solution reduces the hassle and risk, and puts an expert at the helm to fine-tune and maintain the platform within your network. This will ensure your business can take full advantage of all the benefits SD-WAN brings without disruption or unplanned cost.

Read more blogs about networks and services.

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