We’re living in a global economy, and that doesn’t look set to change at any point in the near future.For many businesses, a major challenge has been to connect different devices, individuals, and branches of the organization from all around the world. If you want to successfully do business on a global scale, you need networks that work internationally.This is where Wide Area Networks come in. They’re large networks of information that aren’t tied to a single location. They allow companies and other organisations to build efficient networks and share information across vast distances.WANs come with their own set of unique challenges and can make life challenging for IT teams. One way to avoid many of the headaches associated with WANs, and use the technology more effectively, is to use managed WAN services — outsourcing management of the network to a team of experts so your team can focus on their own work.There are lots of benefits to this approach, and in this article, we’ll take a deeper dive into six of them.The Challenges Around WANsWide Area Networks are large, complex structures that can throw up considerable challenges even for experienced IT professionals.Managing a WAN is a full-time job, and requires constantly adapting to changing demands. Here are just some of the challenges associated with WAN management:Unreliable networks. When working on a global scale, it’s common to run into issues with reliability and coverage. Staying on top of these problems can be a monumental task, although they can be mitigated with the right approach.It’s a constantly changing landscape. The world of tech in general is always rapidly evolving, and WANs are no exception. Keeping pace with developments and ensuring your own network is completely up-to-date is a major challenge.Security. Keeping your data and organisation safe is not limited to WAN management, but this is one area where cybercriminals can do real damage. Failing to identify and secure weak points in your WAN could result in disaster.Problems with speed and bandwidth. If your activity ramps up too high, it can exceed your bandwidth limit and slow things down. It’s crucial to ensure you don’t overload your WAN and that you have the right amount of bandwidth for your organisation’s needs.Fortunately, all these problems can be mitigated with good WAN management. In the rest of the article, we’ll look at some of the benefits you can gain here and why it’s worth shifting to a managed WAN.1. Better PerformanceIf you want to optimise the performance of your WAN, the best way to do this is through outsourcing management.What does a high performing WAN look like, and how do you get there? One area is application performance. Through smart WAN management, it’s possible to prioritise network traffic by application, steer traffic away from congested network links, and improve the overall speed and efficiency of applications.Other ways to boost your WAN’s performance include:Tightening network securityProviding layered servicesImproving the overall quality of serviceAll of these can be achieved with good WAN management.For example, using a team of experts to monitor your WAN on an ongoing basis, combined with reliable phone coverage, can ensure your network is performing as efficiently and reliably as possible while taking the strain off your own staff.2. Prepare for the FutureThe tech industry is always changing at breakneck speed. It can sometimes feel like a new innovation has barely emerged before it’s already being replaced by the next big thing.Adapting to this constant state of change allows you to embrace new developments as they happen and avoid getting outpaced. This is important in all areas of tech, including WAN management.You need to remain flexible, so you can benefit from these constant changes without being overwhelmed by them.The best way to do this is through a reliable WAN management service. It’s their job to keep their fingers on the pulse, constantly anticipating changes and making adjustments to ensure your organisation stays ahead of the curve and benefits from innovations as they happen.3. Protect Corporate Intellectual PropertyCybersecurity is critical when it comes to WAN management. It’s a major factor for any industry, but it’s especially important for industries like healthcare and government which handle a lot of sensitive data and face catastrophe if it’s stolen.Protecting corporate intellectual property is a top priority for security teams. Failing to defend this data can result in devastating losses. But what exactly is corporate IP? It consists of things like:Trade secretsFuture plansPatents and trademarksPrivate customer dataIt’s the private information that your organisation really does not want in the wrong hands. If lost, it can be used by foreign governments or competitors to gain an advantage, or by criminals in bribery or ransomware.IP theft is also frighteningly common. In fact, it could cost the U.S. economy up to $600 billion a year.For these reasons, it’s vital to keep your WAN secure to avoid the risk of IP theft. Managed WAN services can help you do this with strict, sophisticated security measures built into the solution.4. Seamless Service and Business ContinuityTo quote the heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson, ‘Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth’.The same applies to business — every company has a perfectly viable continuity plan until they face an actual disruption. Then, in many cases, everything falls apart.Hacks, natural disasters, and power issues are just some of the unexpected disasters that can throw your entire business into disarray. This is especially relevant for a global company with branches scattered across various regions.A managed WAN can help avoid these nasty shocks by:Creating a reliable network that can withstand outagesUsing multiple connections to ensure that service continues even when some paths are out of serviceUsing resilient networks to ensure maximum availabilityProviding fail-over to ensure continuity of service to critical sitesThis preparation allows your business to keep the wheels moving even when disaster strikes, ensuring minimal loss of time and productivity.5. Cost SavingsOne of the biggest reasons to invest in managed WAN services is to save costs. By handing over the management of your WAN to a specialist team you can cut costs in a number of ways and do all the usual work more efficiently.For example:New equipment is more efficient and reliable than older equipment, so even if there’s an initial cost it will save money in the long runWhen paying for things like circuits, it’s much more expensive to do this as an individual companyThere’s no need to pay engineers to update, repair, and maintain your network on an expensive ad hoc basis — this is all taken care of by your WAN management solutionWorking with a WAN management team gives you the benefits of a large entity that can leverage economies of scale to reduce costs.Instead of doing everything as an individual company and incurring huge fees by paying for things on a one-off basis, you can get all the services you need in one place and at a predictable and much lower ongoing cost.6. Scalability and AgilityOne of the big challenges around WANs is scalability. As your business grows, so does the demands around networks and the standards for them.A large business, especially one with multiple branches in different locations, will have massively higher network needs than a small company with a single office.If you choose to manage your WAN yourself, this can create an ongoing struggle. You’ll be constantly fighting to adapt and upsize, making radical changes regularly as your business evolves.By using managed WAN services, you can take the strain off your own team and scale your business much more efficiently. WAN managers can add new sites, increase capacity to an existing location, and deal with issues related to scale.They can do all this quickly and while keeping control of costs. The result? You can grow your business without having to worry about network and connectivity issues or outpacing your current infrastructure.Using managed WAN services can feel like a big leap, but it’s one of the smartest long-term moves your business can make, for all the reasons above and many more.By outsourcing all your WAN tasks to a specialised third party, your team can focus on what’s important to your business — crushing your goals and growing. Instead of stumbling through the challenges of WAN management and learning from your mistakes, you can hand the process over to a team of experts who already know exactly what to do.To find out more about how Redcentric can help with this, get in touch.