Evaluating SD-WAN Service Providers

Solution providers must assure potential customers of their abilities to securely transfer a company’s network to a cloud-based solution.

This cloud connectivity enables the promised agility of the cloud consumption model, where enterprises no longer deploy and manage their applications but instead consume them as a cloud-delivered service, thereby reducing their legacy application footprint and overlap. A managed SD-WAN service leveraging a network consumption model follows the same paradigm, where the enterprises consume rather than construct their WANs. The two—network and cloud consumption—make for a powerful combination that offers enterprises the agility required and ensures that the WAN doesn’t stand in the way of their digital transformation.

Network Security

Choosing the best managed SD-WAN provider also requires inspecting a company’s compliance requirements and its ability to secure the enterprise’s applications and data.

Solution providers must assure potential customers of their abilities to securely transfer a company’s network to a cloud-based solution. By continually evaluating and certifying their performance, solution providers can assure clients that their expertise will lead to a successful outcome. To avoid any surprises, enterprise executives should do their research into how well these providers audit their services.

Additionally, global enterprises face unique legal landscapes wherever they conduct business, which means their WAN partners must be certified to operate and protect information around the world. Many global regions present unique networking or communication challenges. The WAN provider under evaluation should be able to:

  • Provide certifications that they can handle compliance regulations from country to country,
  • Provide intact connection through political or economic developments, and
  • Protect data during the transfer to digital transformation.

The digital network transformation process can also leave data vulnerable to security attacks, which can lead to organizational crises and result in a company’s loss of credibility, in addition to the high cost of data breaches. Ensuring a solution provider has the necessary certifications, such as SOC2 or PCI, or is adhering to local regulations such as GDPR or CCPA, is the best way for a business to put customer data concerns to rest and manage risk.

It is also crucial that existing organizational network security be compatible with an SD-WAN solution provider. Third-party security providers existing in organizational workflows may not sync up to a newly designed digital network connection, which falls on CIOs and CTOs to resolve. As the intermediary between security options and networking solutions, these enterprise executives must work with both parties to determine whether security packages in place will continue to be effective after a significant change to the network.

As the face of organizational data protection evolves with the strategies and capabilities of those orchestrating data attacks, SD-WAN providers can show their security benefits by demonstrating an up-to-date security compatibility program. Ensuring a potential SD-WAN partner’s ability to work with existing security offerings is a necessity to avoid a potential security crisis. As with the workflows and business processes mentioned earlier, SD-WAN security must adapt to the enterprise’s requirements—not the other way around.

The growing shift in organizational storage and connectivity to the cloud requires that enterprise executives know exactly what qualities to look for in a WAN partner. By ensuring agility, compliance and security are priorities to the SD-WAN provider under evaluation, enterprise executives can save crucial time and money and help prevent a digital transformation initiative from becoming a costly failure.


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