The push for cloud transformation continues to grow, enabling personalized customer experiences, improved productivity, and cost reduction. As enterprises pursue strategies that allow them to keep pace with consumer demands, legacy wide area network (WAN) routers are often the bottleneck in a digital transformation plan – particularly at the branch.
Enterprises are trading legacy WAN for cloud networks. No longer upgrading the data center at headquarters, IT teams are now building platforms in the cloud that are low-maintenance and provide options for reducing costs. In addition, when business-critical solutions reside in the cloud, such as unified communications and productivity applications, it expands the accessibility of the technology to the entire organization.
Legacy WAN routers at branch locations are often the last limitation to a fully cloud-based environment. Across the organization, employees have immediate access to cloud solutions, but branch locations tend to be tied to a traditional WAN router and a multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) pathway that requires traffic to be backhauled to the centralized data center.
This design not only negatively impacts performance and limits access to software as a service (SaaS) solutions, but it also causes congestion at the data center. While enterprise branch locations are forced to utilize a legacy WAN, it prevents full cloud transformation from proceeding.
A WAN router isn’t application-aware, so it requires more time to connect to an application, in addition to dealing with problems like jitter or latency. It can’t reroute traffic when a connection is degrading that might negatively impact voice or video functions. The same issues plague router management, which requires the expertise of IT to configure, troubleshoot, and optimize the network.
The Answer to Legacy WAN Problems Is SD-WAN.
Software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) is quickly replacing WAN routers because it is often identified as the single most important barrier to cloud transformation. SD-WAN provides direct connections to cloud applications, plus cost-effective connectivity to the network. From traffic segmentation and dynamic failover to connection management, each application receives the specified bandwidth for performance requirements. Then the SD-WAN monitors connections, rerouting traffic when performance may be affected by a degrading link.
Next Challenge: SD-WAN Security.
As SD-WAN has replaced legacy WAN infrastructures, the main challenge has been securing the network. A WAN router with MPLS inspects and secures all traffic at the core. When the WAN is replaced with a virtual private network (VPN) and the firewall that comes with SD-WAN, the security is not adequate.
While some enterprises have attempted to solve this with a security overlay, the best approach is to opt for Secure SD-WAN. This solution offers the full functionality of SD-WAN, but with a full security solution that is integrated with connectivity functionality in a centralized management console. This offers an approach that closes every gap that a dynamic environment can introduce.
Enterprises pursuing cloud transformation may find themselves hindered by their legacy WAN routers. A Secure SD-WAN solution provides access to the full benefits of a cloud environment without forcing the enterprise to choose between full security coverage and application performance. To begin your transition to SD-WAN, contact us at eXemplify.