When you think you have to deal with an endless list of network acronyms, another one comes up.
SD WAN technology is a “software-defined wide area network” – an acronym worth tapping into, as tens of thousands of multinational companies use this technology to accelerate their international growth.
We will look at how this technology works and what it can do for a growing business.
As the IT network is something of our own, it goes without saying that it is worth a quick look at how most companies currently manage their IT infrastructure.
Simply put, an organization’s IT will have a central location and multiple branch locations. For example, your headquarters may be in the UK, but you have branches in New York, San Francisco, Tokyo and Paris. In this situation, your central IT office in London will have servers that host your applications, email, Postal services and some other tools used by the rest of your branch.
Needless to say, most (if not all) of your IT staff will be based in this central location. If something goes wrong at the branch location or needs to be corrected, you will need IT staff or a team to go to the location to fix the problems.
It is also worth considering how all these sites are connected. Again, generally speaking, every site will have an internet connection and data will be transmitted through a virtual private network (VPN). The cost and maintenance of such connections is often high, but working with broadband or cellular connections will not provide the control, speed, or protection required to protect your data.
To understand what SD WAN technology is, it is important to understand how this technology works. In fact, it is a network overlay, a piece of software that controls the devices in your network and the communication between devices.
Many think it sounds like an MPLS system. At this stage, SD WAN will not replace the expensive MPLS system because its features are slightly different. Where MPLS allows you to micro-manage how traffic from each application is managed, SD WAN offers a wider set of tools. You cannot manage data at a detailed level, but you will have several service options as well as options related to the types of connection you use to transfer data.
Well, perhaps one of the most important things for multinationals is the true centralization of all IT provisions.
Following the example of a network from above, the business in question should employ IT staff at each location – simply because sometimes it is not possible to replace your hand with a “tool”. Using SD WAN technology alleviates that need – since software controllers give you access to everything you could achieve if you had the device in your hands, including physical switches.
Obviously, this saves a lot of money on staff – and that means you don’t necessarily have to work with different providers in different locations. When it comes to rapid business growth, it is invaluable. As long as someone can connect your devices, your central team can access and control them in seconds.
Any IT decision maker will be able to tell you about the high cost of dedicated internet schemes that many multinationals trust to carry their data securely.
The problem is that there is usually no alternative to these connections. Recent privacy laws have made data security requirements more stringent than ever before – and frankly, no company wants to face the consequences of data loss. So VPN-protected tunnels were the only way through a dedicated internet connection.
Establishing these types of relationships typically takes 8-12 weeks when working with foreign service providers or working with property owners in other countries.
With SD WAN, this headache is almost completely eliminated. Because SD WAN allows you to control how your devices communicate with each other, it’s usually a good idea to connect those devices over a regular broadband Internet connection or even cellular connection, with an integrated security setting.
Therefore, you can connect your branches to the Internet almost instantly, especially if you are happy to look at the options for quick deployment used by the SIM system.
With these things in mind, it is clear that SD WAN can offer incredible opportunities for companies looking to spread their wings internationally.
If you are worried about the headaches and expense you would normally expect when trying to build dedicated internet circuits in time to start an affiliate startup – SD WAN fixes the problem. You’ll also save a lot of money by optimizing your broadband connections instead of creating separate VPN circuits.
Maintenance also becomes less problematic: Instead of relying on vendors that are geographically close to your affiliates, you can enable your in-house IT team or one centrally managed service provider to oversee your systems.
It is also worth considering the impact of downtime. Business downtime is estimated to increase costs by $ 5,000 per minute – and that number can increase quickly depending on the size of your business. Losing productivity is one thing, but when you lose a potential business, significant downtime begins to seem like a problem that can permanently close a company door.
SD WAN technology helps eliminate downtime – first, because it allows you to quickly and easily switch between connection types – and second, because your IT team can quickly access, diagnose, and resolve device and user issues, even when you’re on the other side of the planet.
If you want to learn more about how you can expand your business internationally with SD-WAN, feel free to download our e-book “SD-WAN for dummies” in pdf.