Terms such as Digital Transformation, APP-Centric Infrastructure, Intent-Based Networking, or User-Quality of Experience are increasingly common in the enterprise business world, but to the average man, they might sound a little confusing.
Although confusing, you should become familiar with each one of them. All of these strange terms try to articulate a paradigm change on how enterprises/businesses design and control their networks.
The design and control of networks aim to support the growing demands in a world where everything is cloud-based with buyers expecting instant access throughout. This is where the Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) comes into play, thus becoming the key factor in achieving digital success for your business.
So, how do you go about with the digital transformation of your business using the SD-WAN?
1.State Your SD-WAN Transformation Strategy
There are three main reasons why your business needs to adopt a Software-Defined Wide Area Network.
The reasons are:
- To achieve better applications and wide area network performance
- To reinforce granular security policies for both users and applications
- To ensure continuous resiliency as well as business continuity of applications and network
All three reasons will help you define or state your SD-WAN transformation goals so easily. The same case applies when provisioning new business branches with internet connectivity or installing security controls of your enterprise. Therefore, it is wise to clearly define the problems you are trying to solve and the business goals you are about to achieve.
2.Reach Out to the Right Stakeholders
You should consult the right stakeholders as a way of formulating the right strategy that should support your digital business goals. Meaning that you must understand the needs and expectations of everyone involved in your business, the network you are using, and information technology as well as security management teams.
One thing that has become increasingly obvious as a result of COVID-19 is that most employees can gain access to a range of SaaS applications that are crucial for their day-to-day jobs. As such, they need fast, reliable, and secure access regardless of their location in relation to where the cloud services are provided. For them to achieve this goal, your SD-WAN strategy will have to come in handy to reflect your business priority based on the diverse range of traffic to and from your network.
3.State Your Network Topology
You may choose to deploy a wide range of virtualized network connectivity services but your starting point should always be the SD-WAN routers. These routers have a dynamic path selection with application-aware-traffic-steering capabilities.
But with the time you may add WAN optimization devices, virtualized Wi-Fi controllers, next-generation firewalls, session border controllers, and so on.
Since you need to deploy the above-mentioned connectivity services, you can just settle for cloud SD-WAN. This option will help you to prevent slowing down your employees’ browsing experience, especially when your enterprise or business looks to innovate with managed WAN.
Keep in mind that software-defined networking WANs are now replacing the old-fashioned Wide Area Networks in most organizations and enterprises world over. Thus the need to state your network topology as part of your business transformation strategy.
4.State Your Site Profiles
When it comes to stating your site profiles, there are tasks you will need to carry out. First, you will have to perform an audit of every location to know the total number of your employees, applications used, and user profiles. Next, you will need to work out on the connectivity requirements for the specialist sites such as manufacturing facilities and many others.
5.State Your Security Needs
You will have to work together with the relevant network and security teams to help you identify existing security policies. At the same time, you should find out how your business’ needs will change in the future.
SD-WAN’s security elements can easily alter the design of your entire business network. In this regard, security vetting will look into your SD-WAN system and other components like the user traffic and long retention.
6.State Your Access Types
Naturally, the SD-WAN is considered access-agnostic. This is because it supports different types of local access technologies such as cable-coaxial, copper, fiber, satellite, and even radio.
In your case, you may consider the bring-your-own-access (BYOA) deployment model or stick to the existing connections if you are happy with their service delivery.
This explains why defining your access types is necessary. But only if you want to transform your business through Software-Defined WAN, especially when you are located in some exotic regions of the world.
7.Need for Virtual Network Function
Make sure that the service provider you choose can support several virtual network functions. This will enable your business to remotely set up and control crucial communication services like WAN optimization, voice over internet protocol (VoIP), next-generation firewalls, and virtual private networks (VPNs).
In the future, virtual network functions could involve certain types of applications designed for enterprise core businesses. They may include video surveillance, Internet of Things (IoT) sensor applications, or payment functions designed for retail stores. If you have the right virtual network function, your business will be on the safe side.
8. Consider Service Lifecycle Management
Once you have your own SD-WAN for your enterprise, the next factor to consider should be the service lifecycle management. Your service provider will need a robust back-office operational or billing support system (commonly referred to as OSSB/BSS).
The system will play a critical role in the end-to-end fulfillment and assurance, accurate billing, and service lifecycle management.
Besides, you will need a state-of-the-art orchestration platform. The orchestration platform provides the required abstraction layer for the service providers to support an array of WAN vendors and applications.
The SD-WAN along with its requirement for physical and virtual network integration must be deployed as a comprehensive wide area network solution. It should also be future-proofed and able to leverage legacy equipment when necessary.
Software-Defined-Wide Area Network provides you with an easy and better platform to transform your business. The platform allows you to step into the modern digital era by connecting you with the continuously transforming world of business.
It provides faster connections, top performance metrics, better flexibility, and more layers of security. What’s more, your enterprise will experience drastic cost reduction and efficiency in-network services provided.