In today’s digital-driven world, the ability to communicate and share information among individuals within a company is a vital part of doing business. More and more users are demanding the flexibility to safely access their business information from any device, anywhere, at any time.

The cloud has supported these needs but also created some interesting challenges. Clients that didn’t strategically plan for adoption to the cloud and are working with legacy framework have a difficult time transitioning to the cloud. While the work to transition the legacy platform will provide the needed features companies are looking for, anything created within the cloud will naturally outperform those legacy systems. Cloud born solutions offer elasticity and scalability you won’t find in traditional solutions.

Also, until recently offering location flexibility meant reliance on a WAN or Wide Area Network. We say, “until recently” because there is now a solution that offers that sought after flexibility, application visibility and is vendor agnostic. Did we mention it’s more cost effective than WAN? Enter SD-WAN.

SD-WAN, software-defined wide area network, is a significant advancement to the traditional WAN model. It offers the ability for 1-point management making it easy to interface with for IT professionals. There is no longer need to access each device to perform changes or install patches.

A key differentiator for SD-WAN over traditional WAN is that SD-WAN is transport agnostic. With traditional WAN solutions, a selected internet provider would need to have access and service to any and all of the sites where you wanted your WAN to function. SD-WAN allows for use with any connection to mimic the service. It works effectively with any vendor. This allows users to select providers for each location based on the service level they provide instead of the need to select one vendor that provides service to all locations.

This agnostic service also proves to be less expensive than supporting traditional WAN. Because you no longer need to use same provider for all locations, the service allows for cost effective negotiations with multiple providers finding effective solutions for each location individually, instead of the need for one provider for the group as a whole.

SD-WAN offer the same secure platform WAN provides because it automatically encrypts data within the system and allows for better use with MPLS. That better performance with MPLS in-turn helps to meet specific SLAs on packet loss, traffic latency, and downtime. SD-WAN offers reduced risk of failure and is cloud ready and cloud optimized.

Often all of these factors are intriguing to those exploring the benefits of SD-WAN but they express concern over the technology as an unproven solution. SD-WAN is, in fact, a mature technology.

Redundant telecommunications links that offer the basic building blocks for SD-WAN date all the way back to the 1970s. Central management of those links with application delivery across WAN became popular in the mid 2000s. SD-WAN combines these two technologies, thus the technology has actually existed for some time. In fact, the term SD-WAN was being used to describe a new networking trend as early as 2014. So while the benefits of SD-WAN solutions are still being talked about as newer technology, the concept and usage of SD-WAN has been proven effective for quite some time.

SD-WAN is an overall better solution than traditional WAN models for networking. It allows for better data security, more flexibility for location accessibility solutions and can significantly reduce the costs associated with service. Couple all of this with the ability to streamline and simplify some of the complex time-consuming operations of your company IT professionals and you have a solution that just allows your company to perform and execute business better.

Want to learn more - check out our partners at Cisco Meraki and the MX Security Appliances.  SD-WAN has been baked in to their solution for years!