How SD-WAN can help remote workers

March 18, 2020

With many global businesses facing unprecedented challenges due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of IT departments are having to think on their feet, especially companies where some people are working remotely and some internally. Some companies are stuck between adopting an entire remote-working scenario, some are struggling with upgrades that are required to allow remote working to ensure employees can be productive during what might be an extended period of disruption.

The recent WAN Summit that should have taken place in New York was one such event that has been postponed as a result of the Coronavirus. They held three special online only discussion panels, one of which looked specifically at the ‘Pandemic Proofing the WAN’.

One area of discussion was the role that SD-WAN can play in enabling more employees to work remotely. The panel discussed reports that businesses that have already moved to SD-WAN are finding it easier to implement remote working during these unprecedented times.

But what exactly is SD-WAN, how does it work and what are the benefits to enterprises?

A Software-defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is a virtual WAN architecture that allows enterprises to leverage any combination of transport services – including MPLS, LTE and broadband internet services – to securely connect users to applications.

An SD-WAN uses a centralised control function to securely and intelligently direct traffic across the WAN. This increases application performance, resulting in enhanced user experience, increased business productivity and reduced costs for IT.

Traditional WANs based on conventional routers are not cloud-friendly. They typically require backhauling all traffic – including that destined to the cloud – from branch offices to a hub or headquarters data centre where advanced security inspection services can be applied. The delay caused by backhaul impairs application performance resulting in a poor user experience and lost productivity.

Unlike the traditional router-centric WAN architecture, the SD-WAN model is designed to fully support applications hosted in on-premise data centres, public or private clouds and SaaS solutions such as, Workday, Office365 and Dropbox, while delivering the highest levels of application performance.

With the need to move to remote working, geographically distributed enterprises should embrace SD-WAN at an accelerating pace because they help businesses become more agile, enhance business productivity, security and dramatically lower costs.

The global business community is faced with a significant challenge for the foreseeable future. Technology will play an increasingly important part of our daily working lives, keeping business going, keeping people working and remaining safe.

A women working from home at a table