A Breakdown of SD-WAN: Here’s What You Need to Know

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SD-WAN adoption has rapidly increased in recent years and is expected to continue to grow exponentially. Its advantages include affordability, ease of use, strong cybersecurity protection and better performance, among numerous others. Read on to learn what SD-WAN offers in greater detail.


How Does SD-WAN Work?


SD-WAN uses software to build and manage a network from a range of sources, like cell data to broadband and MPLS, and automates many IT security and network infrastructure functions. It’s built from the ground-up to make the process of running a virtual network between multiple office locations easier, more secure and more reliable.


Improvements SD-WAN Makes Over Traditional WAN

Subpage 3The traditional WAN is older, more expensive hardware-based technology that tends to suffer from latency and performance issues. With most MPLS-based networks, all network traffic routes through the central data center, even when the destination is a nearby site. Backhauling close-proximity activity through the data center increases the time it takes to send information from one point to the next.


Visibility and monitoring shortcomings are concerns with WAN networks too. WAN systems fail to differentiate between business-critical internet applications and general internet browsing, preventing them from prioritizing important activity and clouding administrators’ view of network traffic.


SD-WAN Offers Greater Compatibility with Cloud Providers


The rise of public cloud technology has changed networking needs. The traditional hub-and-spoke WAN network was not designed to support cloud access, and therefore forces roundabout network traffic routes.


By contrast, SD-WAN was designed to accommodate the cloud access and mobile device activity that are now considered standard in a modern business environment. SD-WAN offers the secure remote access necessary for running popular cloud-based software-as-a-service platforms like Amazon AWS, video conferencing, Microsoft Office 365 and more.


SD-WAN and Security

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Security is among the most significant advantages SD-WAN offers.


By nature, SD-WAN offers clearer and more granular visibility to network activity via software. This gives system administrators a better chance of spotting suspicious activity and greater control to stop it in its tracks.


Many solution providers, including Cisco Meraki, offer identity-based security. Identity-based security permits and denies access to critical applications and files based on the identity and intent of the requesting user, rather than just by the user’s device IP address. This provides a more holistically secure network better equipped to spot threats.


Cisco Meraki is an industry favorite because it designs all of its products to work together in a seamless security ecosystem. Everything from security camera footage to automatically blocked threats is visible from one integrated dashboard. When building out an SD-WAN model, aim for a similar setup that integrates well with your network assets and promotes high visibility and control.


Consult an Expert


For those interested in implementing SD-WAN, managed service providers can help with selecting the right solution, migrating and initializing all services, and taking over day-to-day management functions, including security oversight.