Small businesses with multiple offices stand to benefit more from switching to SD-WAN infrastructure. Source: Shutterstock

Small businesses with multiple offices stand to benefit more from switching to SD-WAN infrastructure. Source: Shutterstock

Why SMEs should consider SD-WAN to boost their digital journey

SMALL and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that operate from multiple locations or branches often find themselves relying on low bandwidth internet connections to access their corporate applications or data.

Further, the individual offices probably also engage with multiple internet service providers and a variety of network appliances such as routers and firewalls, with no resources or expertise to properly manage the equipment and service contracts.

It is worth noting that IT management is always going to be complicated when it comes to multi-location operations.

Capital investment required for networking hardware and hiring onsite IT experts can put significant strains on a budget of a small business.

Further, it is also not feasible to dispatch someone to a remote location for routine maintenance and troubleshooting.

This is why software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) could come in handy for them. SD-WAN can help automate network traffic over private, wireless, and broadband connections, and provide SMEs with a cost-effective and secure cloud-based WAN connection.

In addition to supporting the bandwidth intensive, dynamic nature of modern day enterprise applications, SD-WAN also securely connects businesses to a public, or a private cloud and corporate network.

In other words, it transforms traditional physical network infrastructures into enhanced virtual platforms by leveraging the power of software.

Here are some of the ways companies with multiple branches or offices would benefit, by switching to SD-WAN:

#1 | A more cost-efficient network

SD-WAN allows businesses to pick the connectivity option that is the most economical for them. They can deploy MPLS, ethernet, wifi with any internet bandwidth, and any combinations of these networking options.

For example, businesses could run two of its branches on the MPLS network and have two of its other branches to access the cloud and data center using a regular internet connection.

This eliminates the need for investment in MPLS or dedicated point-to-point circuits to each location.

#2 | Boost operational efficiency

Businesses only stand to profit from a productive workforce. SD-WAN’s intelligent routing capability enables employees at each branch to get the most optimal application performance, in addition to fast and seamless user experience.

Furthermore, requests to cloud applications or data center from remote branches do not have to be routed to  headquarters first, which translates to faster access, and more efficient workflow.

#3 | Ensure business continuity

SD-WAN deployment minimizes downtime and increase the reliability of your enterprise network, thanks to its network redundancy architecture, which allows it to reroute requests to an alternate device or medium.

It helps SMEs maintain a network that always available 24/7 and uses automatic routing to direct traffic based on location, timezone, service level requirements, and other performance thresholds that are pre-defined based on business needs.

#4 | Simplify IT management

SD-WAN offers auto-provisioning capabilities which means it can work independently once it has been set-up, simplifying IT management entirely.

Staff in a remote office can use a pre-configured virtualization appliance to connect to the corporate network to enable IT management remotely, from a central office, using a single management application.

#5 | Increases security without increasing budget

Modern SD-WAN solutions are equipped with firewalls and data encryption capabilies, securing the corporte network at each remote location.

This allows SMEs to mimic the secure operations of a financial services institution or a healthcare organization, at a fraction of the cost.