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SD-WAN: How to Overcome Customer Security, Reliability Concerns

- Blog

Mark SondergaardBy Mark Sondergaard

With huge growth in the adoption of cloud applications, more and more companies are learning that their traditional WANs aren’t up to par — these networks simply can’t keep up with the bandwidth demands that accompany SaaS and next-generation communications technology like UCaaS.

Customers considering a migration to SD-WAN believe that it’s more cost-effective and scalable than traditional WAN, but many are skeptical about reliability and security. So if you want to pitch SD-WAN to your prospects successfully, you need to understand and be armed to address these two common concerns.

SD-WAN security benefits: Security is a major concern for IT leaders and business owners around the world, driven by recent high-profile cyberattacks like WannaCry. So when companies consider a new networking solution like SD-WAN, it’s no wonder security is often a sticking point.

The good news is that SD-WAN has many advanced security features, particularly for multi-site businesses. Here are the main security benefits you should share with prospects:

  • Centralized connectivity control gives IT or an MSP the power to enforce security policies from a single location. That means users can log in to a secure dashboard to monitor and administer the network remotely. And policies across the entire business can be harmonized, ensuring there are no “weak links" offering an easy route to company data.
  • Zero touch provisioning (ZTP) lets users add and configure new devices automatically. Security protocols are automatically applied to new equipment, ensuring the network stays secure as it grows.
  • Encryption tunnels provide virtual private network (VPN) security for all network communications. Every IP packet that leaves the network is encrypted and encapsulated into a new IP packet with a new IP header, making it virtually impossible to intercept data.

Of course, security also depends on the carrier. So prospects should be assured that reputable carriers not only know how to implement a secure SD-WAN, but also how to respond quickly in case of a security breach. Nevertheless, with the right SD-WAN implementation, the odds of a breach are very low.

SD-WAN reliability benefits: Companies of all sizes rely on stable connectivity solutions to serve their customers. A reliable connection is necessary for responding to questions, processing transactions and managing inventory, so any downtime can be disastrous.

It’s a good thing then that SD-WAN providers do several things on the back end to ensure 99.99% uptime. Below are the key features and benefits you can use to explain SD-WAN reliability to your prospects.

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  • Multiplexing is used to combine multiple physical circuits into a logical network. This way, multiple devices can use the same connection without impeding access for other devices. This also provides a failsafe in case one physical circuit fails. In that case, the devices on the failed circuit simply transfer to another within the same network.
  • Path conditioning provides the performance of a private connection over the public internet. It also protects networks from the negative effects of dropped packets that are common with broadband connections. It does this using an FEC (forward error correction) algorithm to reconstruct lost packets and avoid delays in connectivity.
  • SD-WAN can be applied incrementally, ensuring that any network failure affects only a single connection and not the entire network.
  • SD-WAN lets users intelligently direct network resources based on the applications used the most. For example, critical and non-critical applications can be routed separately so that an increase in non-critical application use never impacts the performance of critical applications.

There are also business benefits. For example, you can help customers build out SD-WANs gradually and increase capacity as they get more comfortable with the technology. On the other hand, traditional WAN forces users to decide upfront how much bandwidth they need because the system is hardware-dependent.

In a nutshell, SD-WAN has proven to be a flexible and reliable alternative to traditional private network connections thanks its low-cost, low-capital installation – not to mention its hands-off management requirements.

SD-WAN Carrier Considerations

Now, your prospects might be hesitant about conducting a complete overhaul of their WAN, replacing it with a technology that’s relatively new to them. Multi-location companies may be particularly wary, so they’ll want to make sure they work with a provider that has experience with complex rollouts. They’ll also want assurance their provider can offer consistent service nationwide.

Prospects will be more comfortable discussing an incremental implementation process. Here are some of the steps you can walk them through to help them make SD-WAN implementation as pain-free as possible:

  • Evaluate the company’s current telecom model and discuss what changes will need to be made to successfully integrate SD-WAN. If the company has recently made an investment in WAN infrastructure, they might be interested in a hybrid SD-WAN approach.
  • Discuss their current position in the market and where they expect to be in the future. Do they plan to open more locations? If so, they’ll need a provider with full coverage in their strategic growth areas.
  • Help them research various options and their associated costs, comparing the cost of switching to SD-WAN with building new private network capacity the traditional way.

And most importantly, walk them through all reliability and security concerns to ensure they understand their data will be secure and their business will keep running 24/7.

At the end of the day, prospects will need assurance that an SD-WAN solution will give them heightened network reliability and security. Communicating the benefits of SD-WAN is easy; it’s these security and reliability concerns that typically hold companies back. But now you have a game plan for getting over this barrier and making 2017 the year of SD-WAN.

Feel free to reach out if you have questions about finding the right SD-WAN prospects and positioning SD-WAN as a solution to modern IT challenges.

Mark Sondergaard is director of channel sales for BullsEye Telecom.

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