Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) allows enterprises to virtualize the network, giving them access to a variety of transport services, including broadband internet, Long Term Evolution (LTE), and multi-protocol label switching (MPLS). The technology is particularly useful for managing the complexity that comes with cloud solutions used across geographically dispersed branch offices, allowing for better application performance and overall business productivity.
While most companies that implement SD-WAN solutions are doing so for these very reasons, the benefits often get lost in a less-than-ideal reality because so many common mistakes come into play:
Getting Stuck on Features: In the selection process, it’s easy to get wowed by the features available on a particular solution, rather than approach the decision from the perspective of evaluating an end-to-end solution. It’s important to consider whether you need a managed solution, or whether you have the in-house resources to implement a do-it-yourself solution. You should consider if you need a high level of automation and the type of intelligence you want built into the SD-WAN solution.
Sidestepping Security Concerns: Security is one of the key areas that differentiates SD-WAN solutions. Look for an option that has security baked in, rather than one that has added in security features later or that offers a bolted-on solution for handling security concerns. You need a solution that offers robust security features, such as next-generation firewalls. These types of gaps in your security policy can be addressed before implementation, saving you from difficulties down the road.
Breezing Past Application Requirements: For many companies, SD-WAN implementation is part of a bigger digital transformation, all in the name of customer experience. Yet, when it comes to choosing an SD-WAN solution, organizations often overlook the careful evaluation of application requirements.
It’s at the application level that customers experience problems like latency and, in the case of communications technology, dropped calls. Failing to optimize for application behaviors can result in costly mistakes at deployment. The performance level of the application may degrade even from the legacy network solution.
Rushing the Process: If an organization does not have a detailed action plan, they may run into problems that are both costly and preventable. Project managers need to determine which sites will roll out SD-WAN first, projected performance expectations, training plans, a strategy for running the SD-WAN alongside the legacy WAN, and how deployment will be managed.
Skipping this step ensures applications won’t run well, or possibly won’t run at all. The site may be at risk for loss of connectivity at any given moment. It’s critical that the organization have a detailed plan for deployment.These are common and costly mistakes, but they are all avoidable with the right strategy in place. Contact us at AMD Communications to learn more about the steps you can take for a transition to SD-WAN that helps you focus on the benefits, not the headaches, of a new approach to networking.