SD-WAN for IT Managers: How SD-WAN empowers your IT team and your decision-making 

30 November 2021

As more applications and services leverage cloud, multi-cloud or hybrid WAN environments, it is likely that at least one critical aspect of your business relies on cloud-based connectivity. And whilst the applications your end-users rely on evolves, the networking infrastructure that underpins them often lags behind. In fact, legacy networks like MPLS can cause a wide array of connectivity and availability issues that fall on your IT team to resolve.

The last few years have seen Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) emerge as a replacement solution, but SD-WAN is much more than a simple replacement for ageing legacy MPLS network architectures. SD-WAN is built to be cloud and user experience-centric, which results in improved productivity and efficiency for your business, and whilst enhancing the user experience for you, your IT team, and the employees they support. Read on below to discover how.

How SD-WAN empowers your IT team

Your technology team has the incredibly important but arduous task of ensuring your organisation’s network remains stable, secure, and optimised. Understanding the user experience your IT specialists have when doing their work is key to enabling them to be efficient and productive. The networking infrastructure that your team is managing should be designed to empower them to work intelligently.

More business applications and services are becoming managed and accessed in the cloud. Whether it is collaboration tools like Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace, or management systems like HubSpot or Salesforce, it is likely that your business is leveraging cloud applications and services as part of its infrastructure. If so, then legacy networking solutions could be working against your team and degrading their efficiency and productivity.

Legacy solutions, like MPLS, require traffic to be routed through a central data centre or head office before reaching the Internet, and are not designed to support cloud applications and services. SaaS applications require access to their respective cloud services via direct and local Internet breakouts, otherwise, users will be subjected to increased latency and reduced availability. And the first thing your end-users will do when they experience connectivity issues is to contact your IT team.

On the other hand, SD-WAN has been designed to be both cloud and user-centric. By providing direct internet access for cloud services, the experience your end users will have when using crucial work applications will be greatly improved and result in fewer network support tickets for your team. Better yet, your IT team will be able to spend that recovered time leveraging SD-WAN’s predefined awareness of SaaS applications. This visibility will make it exceptionally easy for your team to gain granular control and optimisation whilst reducing network complexity in the process. Combine this with SD-WAN’s intent-based and application-aware policies and the level of prioritisation your IT can achieve is unparalleled. Want to prioritise Office 365 traffic over YouTube, or Zoom video over social media sites? No problem. SD-WAN empowers your IT team to make impactful optimisation decisions that reduce costs, improve productivity, and enhance the user experience for both end-users and themselves.

That said, even with the best connectivity and optimisation options, faults will still occur and with MPLS infrastructure, many of those faults would usually be outside your team’s visibility and control. But the impact on user experience can be negated with a solution that provides greater visibility and troubleshooting. With the ability to dig deeper into the network, your IT team will be able to easily identify the root cause of faults and how best to resolve them, and even identify and resolve issues before they can cause any disruption in the first place.

Combine our SD-WAN with Zscaler’s Digital Experience (ZDX) and this level of troubleshooting can go beyond your network. SD-WAN & ZDX enables your IT to continuously gather and analyse data, measure application and network metrics, and combine everything into an aggregated view. This dashboard empowers your technology team to quickly isolate issues regardless of where your users are or what network they are connected to.

How SD-WAN empowers you as an IT Manager

SD-WAN can also have a positive impact on you as a technology and networking manager. As we mentioned above, software-defined networking can provide a material improvement for the user experience of your technology team and end-users. Achieving and blending these benefits together provides proof that your network infrastructure is influencing both business productivity and user satisfaction.

You will also benefit from greater flexibility and scalability. SD-WAN provides zero-touch provisioning which means your branches can be brought online or decommissioned remotely in a matter of days and weeks. Also, as we are not an Internet Service Provider (ISP), you can provision your SD-WAN on any connection you want, even old MPLS networks or combinations of different types of connectivity - whether it is hosted with our partners or not. Our ‘bring-your-own-connection’ offer affords you the flexibility of leveraging New Zealand’s UFB and 5G rollout for the best speeds possible, or to focus on streamlining your connectivity costs.

Last but by no means least, SD-WAN is a launchpad for business and digital transformation. It enables networking that can be scaled globally via a fast and secure path to the cloud. It enables you to open doors to zero-trust security and enhanced digital experience monitoring. Simply put, SD-WAN is so much more than connectivity - it is innovation.

We believe that New Zealand’s businesses should be empowered by their technology partners, not dependant on them. To ensure you and your technology team are able to work as intelligently as possible with your SD-WAN network, our co-pilot model provides your team with direct access to our specialists and the same tools that we use.

Conclusion

We strongly believe that instilling capability, transformation, and belief into business is all about empowerment. You and your team’s ability to work productively and efficiently is a representation of a strong user experience. SD-WAN is designed to be user experience-centric and empower your people to do their best, most intelligent work. The reach of these benefits will flow right throughout your business and lead to improving productivity for your team, increasing network and application optimisation and security, whilst simultaneously decreasing complexity. SD-WAN will also empower you to have more network flexibility and scalability at your fingertips and open doors to more opportunities to innovate, streamline costs, and make better decisions around your networking.

Contact our team to chat with us about how SD-WAN could improve your business’s infrastructure and user experience.