There is a reason that a third of enterprise businesses have already moved to a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) infrastructure, and 61% plan to deploy SD-WAN by the end of 2021. Improved network performance, high availability, microsegmentation and ease of management are some of the benefits of SD-WAN.
Businesses of all sizes are moving in this direction; it is not just large enterprises. With the growing number of remote workers and demand-heavy videoconferencing, SD-WAN is becoming popular with small and medium-sized businesses as well.
Organizations have an opportunity to choose whether to go in-house for implementation or work with SD-WAN providers for SD-WAN managed services.
Benefits of SD-WAN Managed Services
When you work with SD-WAN providers, a managed service simplifies everything.
SD-WAN managed services providers can get your system up and running quickly. You do not need to analyze your applications, connectivity and security, nor do you have to devise, configure and deploy an SD-WAN solution. It is all handled for you.
With SD-WAN managed services, your SD-WAN provider will deploy the edge customer premises equipment devices you need. They can help you manage access links from multiple network service providers and handle day-to-day operations, routine maintenance and troubleshooting.
A managed solution takes the burden off of your IT team and frees them up to work on strategic projects. If a problem does occur, your SD-WAN provider will have a team of experts standing by, ready to resolve the issue.
Finding the Best SD-WAN Managed Services Provider
When evaluating SD-WAN vendors and managed SD-WAN providers, here are some of the things you will want to consider.
Multiple Connectivity Options
One of the benefits of SD-WAN is that you can use almost any network service (public internet, dedicated access, MPLS, LTE). You will want to choose from among SD-WAN providers that can work with your preferred business internet provider, including competing carriers.
Ask yourself: If you decide to add connections or switch to another carrier, will you be able to do so easily?
Centralized Management and Control
An SD-WAN enables you to optimize your network connectivity for remote locations, with management and visibility from a centralized platform. You also want to define primary and secondary pathways, define the best path routing for efficiency, and automate dynamic path selection for load sharing.
You should have access to monitoring and reporting features, but you may also want to have the ability to add users or, in the future, adjust network policies on your own. For example, if you add new apps or software-as-a-service platforms to your network, you may need to adjust companywide application priorities or bandwidth allocation.
Ask yourself: Can your MSP accommodate changes to your SD-WAN solution?
While a new SD-WAN should work with your current security solutions, the best SD-WAN providers will provide built-in security profiles and threat intelligence solutions, such as Versa Networks. Versa enhances SD-WAN with a next-generation firewall, secure remote access and unified threat management to protect applications and users across the WAN.
Ask yourself: What security options are available?
With any managed service, the service-level agreement (SLA) guarantees minimum performance levels. Look for SD-WAN providers that offer high availability for your networks – as close to 100% as possible. Many SD-WAN managed services will have backup systems that can take over workloads during maintenance so that you can continue working uninterrupted.
Ask yourself: What performance guarantees does the SLA include?
Monitoring and Alerting
Consider how SD-WAN providers monitor performance. You will want a managed service provider that provides continuous monitoring and alerting. Alerting should also integrate with your workflow so that you can stay informed about what is going on with your network.
Ask yourself: How do you monitor and alert?
Customer Service and Support
Everyone will tell you they provide excellent customer support, but we all know that there is a big difference among providers. Look for an SD-WAN managed services provider that can quickly connect you with qualified technicians to resolve any issue you have. You do not want to have to work through a call center that doesn’t understand your solution and go through a series of escalations to get real help.
If there is a problem that needs to be addressed on-site, you will want to work with a managed service provider with qualified technicians in your area for fast resolution.
Ask yourself: Does your managed services provider outsource their customer service? If there is a problem, are there local technicians on standby?
Managed SD-WAN can help simplify your network management and improve your efficiency. Choosing the right managed SD-WAN service provider is a crucial first step. Consider your options to understand an SD-WAN provider’s experience and expertise.
Top SD-WAN managed service providers can manage existing infrastructures and new technology, and provide the highest levels of service and support. Contact LOGIX today to learn more.