Companies no longer need to be sold on the benefits of software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN); instead, they’re evaluating best practices for how to ensure a smooth transition. IT teams are no longer asking why they should invest in SD-WAN, but rather how best to launch it, troubleshoot network problems, and avoid complexity.
IT teams wonder how SD-WAN security will dovetail with their policies already in place, including achieving the desired levels of visibility and managing multi-cloud integration. While IT teams know the expected advantages of an SD-WAN investment, many still cite risk aversion as a reason to delay adoption.
For instance, network engineers question how the technology works, and because it’s so different from traditional networks, they’re concerned with how they will troubleshoot problems. Teams will appreciate the flexibility offered with SD-WAN, but that also means that the ability to write policies to handle traffic must be written for both the network and the application in a way that is beneficial.
Three Best Practices
Businesses implementing SD-WAN need a specific game plan that includes three best practices:
Know the Business Model. Before beginning the selection process of an SD-WAN solution, teams need to evaluate their business model and measurable goals. They need to know how the network will interact with their mission-critical applications, examining their budget and the long-term costs of the solution. Finding out business needs helps shape the questions that companies will need to ask providers.
Many companies find it beneficial to enlist the help of an independent analyst. Most teams aren’t beginning from a greenfield approach, so they need a clear picture of how the new technology will work with legacy tools.
Test, Test, Test. One of the most commonly overlooked steps is the testing process that is critical to any technology deployment, particularly when it affects everything on your network. It should not be the type of situation where you view a demo and then sign with a sales rep. Deploying an SD-WAN solution requires extensive assessment and testing to determine whether it is a good fit for your network needs.
While testing entails a lot of time and effort, it saves immeasurable trouble down the road. Companies should plan for in-depth testing to take six months, involving elements like scalability, management, availability, and failover.
Evaluate Providers as Partners. There are many variables when it comes to choosing an SD-WAN provider, such as whether you will opt to use a do-it-yourself option or a managed SD-WAN provider. It’s important to ensure that reliable support is guaranteed in a service level agreement (SLA). You will want to be sure that the provider fits your preferences, your requirements, and your budget.
Before deciding on an SD-WAN solution, contact us at Access Tech. We’ll make sure that you have the right steps in place to create a smooth transition to SD-WAN. The technology is full of benefits that simplify the network, but there are best practices that help you get all possible advantages.