Enterprise Transformation in APAC
with SD-WAN + SASE

By: Michelle Parreno

From an APAC perspective, some of the factors driving data network speed, resilience, and security look very similar to those elsewhere in the world. The ability to identify, extract, and leverage data—the very basis of digital transformation—has become a measure of great importance in the marketplace, including during the mass shift to working from home (WFH), now an embedded long-term trend.

Other factors have a specifically APAC dimension. Take cloud adoption, for example. It’s already extremely widely used in North America and Europe to create rapid, low-CAPEX scalability, application accessibility and operational resilience—and is now gaining significance in terms of regional adoption. 

And across the globe, security is a paramount concern. Cybercrime costs the global economy over $1 trillion per year, at an average of $4.24 million per data breach in 2021. Doing what you can to avoid cybercrime is not just smart, it’s essential, as no one really wants to be on the receiving end of explaining why their customers would not complete an order or service request because their network was inaccessible.

Learning about SD-WAN and SASE 

With these trends, we are seeing an extraordinary rise in inquiries from our APAC partners about two related technologies: software defined wide area network (SD-WAN) and secure access service edge (SASE).

What are these technologies with the unfortunately cumbersome names? Basically, they are really important enterprise tools. SD-WAN technologies enable organizations to take control over how they procure, use, and securely manage their wide area networks (WANs)—the essential lifeline of an organization in an Internet-centric world

SD-WAN provides a much higher level of control over WAN performance and costs, including gaining event-driven automation, network insight, and network intelligence. At any given moment, IT can know who is connecting and to where, and manage resources to cloud destinations in the most optimal way possible.

APAC business management is well-known for hard-headed decision-making, and it’s important to understand that this is not a case of new technology for its own sake. The interest in SD-WAN and SASE technologies is driven by the operating cost savings, greater data availability and greater protection from cyberattacks senior executives can see being enjoyed by competitors in other regions—while laying the foundations for digital transformation. And they want to find out more.

Lower operating costs 

Let’s start with costs. Most enterprises develop their WAN infrastructure over the years, primarily based on MPLS, with network carriers who are ultimately inflexible and monopolistic and, as a result, expensive.

Thankfully, with SD-WAN and SASE, there is a clear alternative. With SD-WAN, IT gains more control over their network and the freedom to select the right service provider to fit their needs.

You can now add, remove, and upgrade connectivity providers according to your need, and then reconfigure the mix whenever appropriate. This sort of agility that also keeps operational costs low is precisely what can enable digital transformation.

Additionally, finding the right technology partner can make a huge difference in long-term operational support. With shortages in many markets for technically competent IT workers, managed SD-WAN service providers can enable IT teams to focus on their users, while eliminating the pain in managing multiple Internet suppliers and SD-WAN solution delivery across the region.

Improve quality 

The quality of the underlying networks carrying data traffic can vary enormously in the APAC region. In some markets, Hong Kong, Japan, and Singapore for example, quality issues are rare. In other countries, the picture is less positive. SD-WAN enhances the quality and resilience of data networks by leveraging multiple connectivity suppliers to increase resilience across lower-quality links, thereby ensuring greater overall connectivity and a better user experience.

With SD-WAN, you can match technologies to your business needs as they evolve by setting routing priorities and traffic thresholds, and designating certain applications as strategic so that data for those apps takes priority over less important traffic. Additionally, greater resilience translates into better application performance and greater certainty to meet IT service-level agreements (SLAs).


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