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How SD-WAN Improves Agility

Software-defined wide-area networks, otherwise known as SD-WANs, are changing how enterprises configure their networks and digital assets. As the world becomes increasingly connected, it’s also growing more complex. SD-WAN is unique in the way it can provide a more straightforward method for organizations to manage their increasingly fragmented and complicated networks.

As is suggested by the name, SD-WAN is software-defined—meaning its overlay of existing network connections is virtual. While this might seem like yet another level of confusion, the reality is that SD-WAN manages to vastly simplify enterprise networks while boosting performance and security.

SD-WAN creates a digital control layer on top of the network. All traffic can be monitored and kept in check from one centralized location, versus having to manage it in a sort of diaspora state. This can lead to all kinds of improvements. In fact, research firm Gartner sees SD-WAN as a technology that can “help enterprises transform their networks from fragile to agile.”

Here’s how SD-WAN improves agility within an enterprise.

What Problems Are Solved By SD-WAN?

When thinking about how to boost agility, you’re looking for results-based approaches that can increase flexibility without sacrificing strength. SD-WAN is just the solution for this when looking to make your networks more agile. To see the full picture, it’s important to understand what problems SD-WAN solves to make agencies more agile.

Networks are the backbone of enterprises today, as they facilitate the flow of data internally and externally. As such, anyone who has played a role in the corporate IT world knows networks are a source of great power — and frustration.

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One of the biggest issues plaguing legacy network connectivity is there are so many different kinds of connections, applications and devices vying for bandwidth. For global organizations, this issue only gets more complex, since different branches are going to have different connectivity capabilities. With SD-WAN, things can be much simpler. Thanks to the virtual overlay, you assume control of how traffic is managed over your networks. This creates more streamlined operations, while vastly improving connection speeds and overall security. There are a few specific ways SD-WAN accomplishes these things.

How Can SD-WAN Make Enterprises More Agile?

At the broadest level, SD-WAN works by creating a digital control layer over your network. With this kind of visibility and control, it’s possible to do some pretty awesome things with your network that were totally impossible in the past.

Here are some of the ways SD-WAN makes enterprises more agile:

  • All Control Under One Roof – There are lots of different ways devices can connect to networks. Whether data is traveling via multiprotocol label switching (MPLS), frame relay, or something else, SD-WAN can be the central spoke in the wheel of your network. Having everything centralized makes configuring and troubleshooting networks vastly easier.
  • Optimize Traffic Flow – Not all devices and applications require the same amount of bandwidth. Furthermore, not all connections carry an equal weight of importance. With SD-WAN, you can set priority levels for different kinds of network connections so the highest priority items never have any issues.
  • Better Security – When all your network traffic is monitored and controlled by one platform, it becomes much easier to secure as well. The centralized nature of SD-WAN makes it so you can see and secure all traffic on your networks. If there’s abnormal activity, you’ll be able to identify and isolate it much faster than you would with a more traditional network architecture.
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Overall, SD-WAN is changing what’s possible for enterprise network security. Any organization looking to boost its agility needs to consider the benefits of adopting SD-WAN.