How to choose the right SD-WAN provider for your business

January 24, 2020
Author: CBTS
Blog | Communications | Digital Workspace

It’s no longer a secret that SD-WAN is at the leading edge of software-based networking deployments. Users, no matter their location, demand large amounts of bandwidth and direct access to the continually growing number of SaaS and cloud-based applications.

For Matt Douglass, Senior Director of Solution Engineering at CBTS, in order to truly take advantage of all the benefits of SD-WAN, organizations need to understand the value of partnering with the right SD-WAN service provider. The first step is knowing how to evaluate the best fit for your company.

How to find the right SD-WAN partner

Over the past five years, we’ve seen a boom in networking technology innovations. With it, the ability for businesses to design and deploy incremental improvements across a variety of different environments has been stretched. Teams at CBTS have spent a lot of time working side-by-side with IT departments in numerous industries, so we have the expertise to transition legacy MPLS networks to a hybrid or new SD-WAN deployment that’s better suited for today’s technology demands. CBTS begins by analyzing where an organization’s network is today and then determines the best way to move forward seamlessly to next-generation networking technology.

For organizations looking to free up their IT resources, partnering with a managed services provider gives them that flexibility. With a managed SD-WAN deployment, your SD-WAN partner will be there with you for Day 2 Operations and beyond, helping monitor, maintain, and update the network as needed to ensure all applications and services are performing optimally. One common misperception about SD-WAN is once your managed services provider deploys the architecture, your IT staff will no longer have full control over the platform or your network. With CBTS, however, an experienced and award-winning provider of VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud, your IT department co-manages the environment. With its centralized monitoring, visibility, and cloud control, VMware has created a platform designed to make the most of the combined expertise of CBTS and your IT staff to deliver on your organization’s desired business outcomes.

SD-WAN reality check

During the last 30 years, only a few momentous technology shifts, especially as they relate to the cloud, can compare to the significance of SD-WAN for networking. Organizations today view SD-WAN as a next-generation networking solution to deliver consistency, continually enhance user experience across locations, and ensure a new standard of service for applications.

One of the biggest misconceptions about SD-WAN, however, is the belief that it’s an all-encompassing “easy button” to solve variable and degraded connectivity for a company’s dispersed workforce. It undoubtedly can address a majority of network concerns when designed with care and precision, but a DIY approach is difficult for any organization. Even if a company’s IT team has a firm understanding of SD-WAN, deploying across hundreds or even thousands of sites without the support of a partner can present daunting challenges. An experienced SD-WAN partner will ensure a smooth deployment, giving your IT staff a level of control and visibility over your network and applications like never before while eliminating the potential for network disruption.

The key to success for a software-defined network strategy

Because networking technologies continuously evolve, ongoing learning and training are vital to the success of any software-defined strategy. For CBTS, we work directly with your IT personnel, first, to understand the differences and similarities between their traditional wide-area network and SD-WAN, and secondly, to align the network infrastructure roadmap with specific business goals.

The next step is helping IT personnel recognize the relationships between SD-WAN infrastructure and the communications and productivity apps used every day across an organization. Learning how to manage and prioritize traffic to handle communications technologies like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is crucial, along with understanding how to integrate and maximize the performance of cloud apps like Salesforce and Microsoft Office 365. Your SD-WAN partner should be able to guide your IT staff not only on the integration of these apps but also on how to standardize the different cloud applications used by various departments in your organization. Organizing and aligning these different technologies is vital to achieving your desired business outcomes.

Equally important is choosing a partner intrigued by your business challenges and that can help you determine the best path toward meeting future goals. The objective, for example, might be to reduce operating expenses or achieve 100 percent application uptime rate during a network failure. The right service provider will ask relevant questions and take the time to comprehend where your company’s network and application flow is today so they can help you get to where you want to be tomorrow.

A look to the future

At VMworld 2019, two key technologies were highlighted for their impact on the networking landscape: IoT and 5G. Without implementing SD-WAN, your IT department may be capable of handling hundreds, or even thousands of devices, without much trouble. However, it will soon be impossible to manage tens (or hundreds) of thousands of devices, all their connections, and how they communicate without software intelligence built into your network. As IoT and 5G push compute services to the edge, SD-WAN will become critical in helping prioritize traffic.

SD-WAN alleviates a multitude of constraints, from simplifying branch networks to adding greater agility. Choosing a strategic SD-WAN provider gets your organization one step closer to solving the unique challenges facing your remote locations. A partner in lockstep with your initiatives ensures your IT staff can equip your workforce with the resources they need to keep up with today’s continuous digital transformations.

Learn more: Today’s business leaders are transitioning to SD-WAN

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