SD-WAN for IT Teams: How SD-WAN enables you to work smarter, not harder

12 January 2022

As an IT professional, you have the incredibly important but arduous task of ensuring your business’s network remains stable, secure, and optimised. But you’re likely well-acquainted with what happens when the infrastructure that supports your users and the work they do, experiences disruption or an outage. Backlogs of support tickets, barrages of phone calls, and a mad dash to quickly identify the problem and resolve it. It’s a scenario many IT teams actively work towards avoiding. But what if your networking infrastructure was working against you?

The reality for many IT teams that are underpinned by legacy and ageing MPLS infrastructure or an otherwise underinvested WAN network, is that they spend the majority of their time working hard to fight fires rather than discovering ways to work smarter, and in turn, provide a better user experience for their users.

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. SD-WAN is built to be cloud and user experience-centric, which results in improved productivity and efficiency for your users, and whilst enhancing the user experience for you and your IT colleagues. Read on below to discover how.

How SD-WAN enables you to work smarter

The networking infrastructure that you are managing should be designed to empower you to work intelligently. More business applications and services are leveraging cloud services. Whether it is collaboration tools like Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace, or management systems like HubSpot or Salesforce, it is likely that your users are leveraging at least one cloud application or service as part of their tools. If so, then legacy networking solutions like MPLS could be working against you, degrading your efficiency and productivity, and robbing you of the opportunity to identify smarter ways of working.

As you know, legacy solutions, like MPLS, require traffic to be routed through a central data centre 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 you and your colleagues.

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. Better yet, you will be able to spend that recovered time leveraging SD-WAN’s predefined awareness of more than 1,300 common SaaS applications. This visibility will make it exceptionally easy for you 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 achievable is unparalleled. Want to prioritise Office 365 traffic over YouTube, or Zoom video over social media sites? No problem. SD-WAN empowers you to make impactful optimisation decisions that reduce costs, improve productivity, and enhance the user experience for both you and your users.

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 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, you 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 you to continuously gather and analyse data, measure application and network metrics, and combine everything into an aggregated view. This dashboard empowers you and your colleagues to quickly isolate issues regardless of where your users are or what network they are connected to.

Conclusion

We strongly believe that instilling capability, transformation, and belief into business is all about empowerment. Your ability to work intelligently, productively and efficiently is a representation of a strong user experience. SD-WAN is designed to be user experience-centric and empower you and your IT colleagues 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 users, increasing network and application optimisation and security, whilst simultaneously decreasing technology stack complexity. 

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