How to Select The Right Managed SD-WAN Service Provider

As business needs continue to change, along with the needs and wants of your users, businesses need to look for innovative network solutions that can keep up in terms of performance, security, and reliability. This is where Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) can bring a new level of intelligence to traditional wide area networks (WANs) by optimising traffic management and improving application performance. 


Not all SD-WAN providers are built the same and businesses looking to leverage this technology need to select the right SD-WAN provider based on their business needs. Let’s go through some of the essential factors to consider when evaluating SD-WAN vendors.


Built-in SD-WAN Features and Services

When evaluating SD-WAN providers, the built-in features and services offered are a critical consideration. The features and services that you should look out for will largely depend on your business’s specific needs. These features can significantly impact the performance, security, and scalability of your network. 


Some key features include: 

Advanced Traffic Management: Intelligent traffic routing based on real-time network conditions, application requirements, and business policies ensures optimal performance and user experience.

Security Integration: For industries that deal with a lot of sensitive data, such as finance or government services, there is a need for robust security features, such as end-to-end encryption, firewall capabilities, and intrusion prevention systems (IPS). These are essential for protecting sensitive data and maintaining compliance in these industries. 

Application Optimisation: SD-WAN solutions should provide granular visibility into application performance and the ability to prioritise critical applications over less important traffic.

Cloud Connectivity: As cloud computing has opened up more opportunities for digital technology, businesses are increasingly relying on cloud-based applications and services. This is where seamless integration with major cloud service providers (e.gAWS, Azure, Google Cloud) is vital for them. 


Overall Cost of Ownership of SD-WAN

When businesses look at the cost of investing in a provider, they need to look at the overall cost of ownership for SD-WAN, which includes both hard costs and soft cost savings. It’s important to conduct a comprehensive cost analysis to understand the true financial impact of adopting an SD-WAN solution.


The hard costs usually include the initial investment, such as the cost of SD-WAN appliances, licensing fees, and any necessary hardware upgrades, as well as ongoing subscription or maintenance fees. Usually, SD-WAN providers operate on a subscription model, with recurring costs for software licences and support services.


The soft cost savings usually drive cost optimisation benefits over the lifetime of the system, these include: 

  • Operational efficiency: SD-WAN can reduce the need for expensive MPLS circuits by leveraging more cost-effective broadband connections, leading to significant savings.
  • Resource allocation: Automated management and monitoring capabilities can reduce the need for dedicated IT staff, freeing up resources for other strategic initiatives.
  • Downtime reduction: Enhanced reliability and failover capabilities minimise costly downtime and productivity losses.


Ease of SD-WAN Deployment

A major advantage of SD-WAN is its ability to simplify network deployment and management. When evaluating providers, consider how easy it is to deploy their solution across your organisation.


Solutions that offer rapid deployment with minimal configuration can help businesses get up and running quickly, reducing time-to-value. However, deployment also should be designed based on your business’s networking needs and such complex technical migrations can be complicated. A good solution provider should make this migration as easy as possible. 


SLAs for Support

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are a key consideration when selecting an SD-WAN provider, as they define the level of support and reliability you can expect. This is usually where many managed service providers differ in the level of service that they can offer. 


Look for providers that offer strong uptime guarantees to ensure your network remains available and resilient. They should also have different SLAs and uptimes for network availability, latency, and customer-premise equipment, amongst others. With direct access to cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services, cloud SLAs can help customers have a more consistent application experience. 


As businesses look to make the most of their existing MPLS connectivity and keep their network performance high, SD-WAN providers are increasingly important to optimise network performance. However, selecting the right SD-WAN provider is an equally critical decision that can have a profound impact on your network’s performance, security, and overall business success. 


By carefully evaluating the built-in features and services, overall cost of ownership, ease of deployment and management, and SLAs for support, you can make an informed choice that aligns with your organisation’s needs and objectives. 


Here at Redcentric, some of the many features delivered by our SD-WAN service include optimised connectivity, application prioritisation, 24/7 monitoring of equipment and link performance, and enhanced reporting. Our expertise in SD-WAN, together with our unrivalled experience in connectivity, networking and security, means that we are delivering customer solutions and business outcomes to clients. 


Reach out today to learn more about our SD-WAN services! 

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