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Want to control tech costs and amp up security? Start thinking of how you can control your network first with a Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN).

To get the most out of SD-WAN, SpyGlass is here with the what, why, and when of the technology that allows organizations to improve their network performance, boost security, and reduce costs.

🤔 What is SD-WAN?

SD-WAN is a type of networking technology that manages and optimizes WAN (Wide Area Network) connections more efficiently. SD-WAN has become increasingly popular due to the increasing adoption of cloud-based solutions, which offer greater flexibility and scalability compared to traditional on-premise solutions.

As more organizations rely on the cloud to support their work-from-anywhere staff, SD-WAN is their network solution. A recent study shows 79% of organizations use SD-WAN solutions, and that number is expected to rise to 92% by 2026.

As SD-WAN returns to the technology budget radar, organizations should be aware of costs related to subscription fees, which can vary depending on the provider and the specific features and capabilities offered. Costs can also add up with underlying network connections, such as internet or LTE (long-term evolution; standard for wireless broadband communication).

If you’re also running a VPN (Virtual Private Network), the service generally costs enterprises per month, per user, averaging around $8 per user. Even if your company has under 500 employees, the costs of running a VPN can be steep and can present its own security risks.

🔐 Why is SD-WAN helpful for security?

In the past, connectivity has been the driver behind why organizations have turned to SD-WAN; looking forward, security will be the driver. Many businesses turn to SD-WAN to provide a secure connection between multiple locations, allowing for better visibility into network traffic and an easier way to detect malicious activity. Using SD-WAN is beneficial for IT and security teams to help gain holistic visibility and control over connectivity.

For some companies, SD-WAN and VPNs can be used together to provide even greater security and flexibility. For instance, SD-WAN optimizes traffic between sites, and a VPN encrypts traffic between specific endpoints.

💰 When and why should we invest in SD-WAN?

When considering SD-WAN, it’s important to calculate the return on investment (ROI) based on the time it takes for savings to exceed the costs of implementation (equipment costs, licensing fees, maintenance, and support). According to cybersecurity company Fortinet, business leaders should consider the following when looking toward making the change to SD-WAN:

  1. How big is your network?
  2. What is your data-center-to-location ratio (a single-story, detached unit is best, but many times these can be in numerous locations due to cost)?
  3. Will you be adding or reducing locations in the next few years?
  4. How much of your workforce is local? How much is remote? Will your remote workforce numbers change in the next 12-24 months?
  5. How important are secure communications between your remote works and locations?
  6. How much of your current web traffic is directed to MPLS?
  7. What percentage of your business applications are cloud-based or cloud-accessible?

Based on your answers, you’ll also need to factor in the number of sites, data centers, current MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) costs per site, MPLS bandwidth needs per site, MPLS links needed to be replaced, and current internet provider costs. In addition, you will want to determine the hardware needs for your SD-WAN implementation, whether you’ll implement and manage the SD-WAN technology in-house or if you’ll work with an SD-WAN provider.

➡️ Get Industry-Leading Guidance to Navigate the SD-WAN Maze

SpyGlass can help you get to know the costs and benefits surrounding SD-WAN by:

  1. Focusing on competitive pricing options available to you
  2. Identifying and reducing potential areas of redundancy
  3. Reducing upfront costs by working with subscription-based pricing models from SD-WAN providers