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Communications In the Cloud Blog

How SD-WAN Can Benefit Your Small Business

July 11, 2018

If your small business has expanded to multiple locations, chances are that your staff relies on lower bandwidth internet access to connect to business critical applications and databases. You or your IT staff may be struggling to keep all the different internet service providers, contracts and service terms under control. Each office probably has expensive network appliances, like routers and firewalls, but none of the staff members at these local offices has the expertise or the time to handle the equipment or manage the service contracts. Does this sound way too familiar?

This is where SD-WAN (software-defined wide area networking) can help. SD-WAN relies on software to automatically route network traffic over multiple connection types, including private, wireless and broadband connections. SD-WAN provides small and mid-sized businesses with a cost-effective, cloud-based internet access that not only supports modern bandwidth-intense applications like VoIP, video conferencing and online collaboration tools, but also reduces the need for expensive proprietary hardware or private connectivity, like MPLS. SD-WAN can securely and reliably connect branch offices to a public or private cloud, as well as the central corporate network.

SD-WAN allows companies to reap the cost savings, visibility and performance benefits of virtualization and transform their legacy WAN networks into next-generation SD-WANs that incorporate almost any type of affordable Internet connection and can be easily managed from one central interface.

If your business has multiple branch offices, retail stores, coffee shops or dental offices, these are the main reasons why you should consider implementing an SD-WAN solution:

Boost Employee Productivity with Better Network Performance

Productive employees are at the base of any thriving, profitable organization. So ensuring your team can get online quickly and be efficient in their work is paramount. With its intelligent routing, SD-WAN ensures that all your mission-critical applications run smoothly and provide your team with the best application performance and a fast, responsive user experience. By prioritizing network traffic to critical business applications, SD-WAN ensures that employees in remote locations can access their cloud-based software, data and files faster than ever before. Your teams no longer have to deal with dropped VoIP calls or sit idle while their screens refresh. Your entire operations will be more efficient as a result.

Safeguard Your Network and Data Without Sacrificing Efficiency

To secure their data, many small businesses deploy high-performance security protocols at their headquarters and force all branch office network traffic through their primary network location before allowing it to access the Internet, corporate data or cloud applications. While this detour helps safeguard their network, it results in a deterioration of application performance, severely affecting the user experience and productivity of employees. SD-WAN solutions include next-generation firewall capabilities and can encrypt data in transit, providing network security at each remote office location without the need to sacrifice efficiency. As a bonus, all networking and security functions are built into one device.

Reduce Your Networking Expenses

With the reliability and performance of Internet service increasing and the cost per bandwidth most providers offer decreasing, few businesses and locations truly need expensive private-line WAN links. SD-WAN empowers you to use the type of connectivity or combination of networking services that makes the most economic and business sense for your situation, without sacrificing your data security. Without the need for MPLS or dedicated point-to-point circuits for each location, you can significantly decrease your operational expenses while keeping all your bandwidth-hungry applications running seamlessly. In addition, SD-WAN allows you to open new locations and expand on your existing infrastructure without breaking the bank.

Avoid Outages and Keep Your Business Running

With more and more of your business functions and applications relying on good connectivity, even an hour of downtime can cost you thousands of dollars in revenue. If your network goes down, customer orders don’t process, appointments are not scheduled and your employees are unable to do their work. SD-WAN will help you avoid this problem by ensuring that your connectivity to critical applications and services is reliable and available 24/7 by automatically rerouting network traffic to available connections. SD-WAN technology monitors and recognizes network issues and facilitates a seamless transition between your primary and backup connections, or use bandwidth from another location. Your staff, clients and vendors will never notice a change.

Simplify Remote Site Installation and Management

Like most small to medium sized businesses, you probably have in-house or outsourced IT help available in or near your headquarters, but you may not have any specialists at your branch offices, whether those are restaurants, car dealerships or law offices. With SD-WAN, you can easily open new locations and expand and manage your infrastructure without the need for experts travelling to each one of your branch offices. With its zero-touch provisioning model, SD-WAN allows managed service providers to ship a pre-configured device to each of your locations, where the appliance simply needs to be plugged in. Once a part of your network, your corporate IT staff has full access and control of all settings, from routing protocols to security, firewall and beyond. SD-WAN allows system administrators to centrally change and mass-deploy any number of configurations with just a few clicks, and without the need for expensive flights or hotel rooms. It’s that easy.

SD-WAN technology is changing how we think about SMB networks. With an intelligent software that routes traffic based on customized protocols, SD-WAN enables businesses to use a variety of low-cost internet connections, MPLS, Ethernet, as well as WiFi. The result is a more flexible, dynamic network that fits the current needs of your unique business and will grow with you.

With SD-WAN, you’ll enjoy secure, fast connectivity that reduces your operational costs, simplifies your network management, helps your employees work smarter, and enables you to provide your customers with the service they deserve.

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