Many experts would acknowledge that SD-WAN has come of age during the COVID-19 pandemic, supplying a safe and secure way for companies to keep their employees working and productive.
However, such opportunity is accompanied by challenges, the main one being the adaptation of technology to serve users anywhere flexibly and securely, be it in a traditional office or a home office. As vendors take advantage of the increased demand for SD-WAN, we are also looking at how the technology is evolving to serve the security-driven networking needs in a post-pandemic business world.
Today’s SD-WAN trends
Nowadays enterprise customers are looking at service providers’ SD-WAN offerings as a means to improve the user experience and quickly adopt and deploy cloud services, all with reduced costs. It’s not enough to supply a home worker access to enterprise applications, the networking stack needs to be solid, able to deliver the video, voice, SaaS applications and offer a good user experience, to keep that worker productive. In the meantime, service providers too aim to improve the user experience as well as reduce cost and simplify operations.
SD-WAN can fit the bill for both, although how well it does so depends on the vendor. While many SD-WAN vendors came at the solution from the networking side, the likes of Fortinet from the beginning have emphasized security-driven networking, merging the two as part of their secure SD-WAN solutions to serve enterprise as well as service provider customers.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, flexibility is becoming a more important part of the SD-WAN picture, as enterprises require connectivity for a much wider range of locations – a DSL-connected branch office, a fiber-fed cloud data center or a worker’s home cable broadband service. In response, many IT, networking and cybersecurity providers supply its service provider partners with a range of connectivity options, be it a small form-factor appliance with LTE for remote super-users or virtual deployments that can harness public cloud platforms such as Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services and others.
The 2020 pandemic has accelerated the trend toward more sophisticated multi-use cases, as SD-WAN is sought after to not only support the Fortune 500 companies but also smaller businesses.
In this diverse environment, SD-WAN increasingly has to be automation-based and self-healing. If SD-WAN is designed with large automation, business customers, no matter how big or small don’t have to worry about change, as once they configure the application policy, the environment runs smoothly.
In order to achieve that, SD-WAN services must rely on application steering that taps into a rich array of application offerings to choose and create those kinds of policy structures. An important detail that service providers and enterprises alike should look for is application steering done with deep SSL inspection, which provides application identification accuracy.
Future outlook for SD-WAN
Looking ahead, SD-WAN is playing a role in the development of 5G. Furthermore, its self-healing capabilities will also evolve, incorporating artificial intelligence to provide predictive analytics. In the larger software-defined branch, advancements in switches, network, and access control devices will increasingly tie them all together in a software-controlled environment.
The upcoming changes are inevitable. There are clear signals that the corporate world will not return to business as usual prior to the pandemic; instead, it will continue to evolve toward a distributed, inter-connected and cloud-driven environment. Service providers, vendors and SD-WAN technology itself will therefore have to adapt to fit the demands of this new business and networking environment.
How can Brodynt help?
If you are considering SD-WAN for your connectivity needs, Brodynt is ready to find the best solution according to your specific requirements and configuration. Click here to learn more about our SD-WAN solutions.
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