In today’s business landscape, companies need to adapt to the latest technology or risk losing valuable sales to their competition. From high-speed fiber-based internet to Contact Centers as a Service (CCaaS), businesses across the United States are improving their performance with modern, efficient services.
Another valuable service for businesses is a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN). SD-WAN services optimize software and applications necessary for business operations because traditional WANs no longer hold up to today’s connectivity needs. Still on the fence about switching your business over to SD-WAN? Let’s dive into SD-WAN and its four significant benefits.
What Is SD-WAN?
Business SD-WAN solutions are essential for optimizing online traffic. SD-WAN services move traffic away from slow, hardware-based storage solutions on traditional wide area networks (WANs) to the preferred method of storage: the cloud. “The cloud” refers to servers that are accessed over the internet rather than computer hard drives. Software and databases can run through the cloud, which frees up storage space, and ultimately allows processes to run smoother and faster.
Why Don’t Traditional WAN Systems Work Anymore?
Original WAN systems work by hosting servers at a data center and connecting additional users to the original server. An example of this is a traditional internet router you may have in your home. Older WAN systems were not designed to accommodate modern cloud traffic.
Therefore, WAN systems often experience backhauls because they can’t meet today’s traffic and data demands. These backhauls lead to delays, lost productivity, and poor user experience.
As businesses continue to adopt software as a service (SaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) on multiple clouds, companies need to switch to SD-WAN to provide high-quality user experiences.
If businesses keep their traditional WAN services, they will experience an incompatible traffic explosion when they mix cloud-based services and hard-drive-based services. This traffic incompatibility results in:
- Poor user experience
- Decreased employee productivity
- Rising WAN expenses
- Increased security threats
- Unpredictable application performance
That’s where SD-WAN comes in. Since SD-WAN systems are optimized for the cloud, businesses no longer have to deal with frustrating backhauls and poor application performances. SD-WAN allows enterprises to securely connect users to applications by utilizing any combination of transport services, including:
- Long-Term Evolution (LTE)
- Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS)
- Broadband internet
4 Major SD-WAN Benefits for Business
SD-WAN benefits are plentiful, so it’s easy to understand why so many businesses are making the switch. SD-WAN is the answer to all of the issues and difficulties businesses experience when they try to mix cloud services and traditional WAN.
SD-WAN services can be set up quickly, and your business will immediately see the benefits roll in. SD-WAN offers a multitude of advantages for businesses, but the four significant benefits that attract business owners are:
1. Increased Security
When businesses mix traditional data centers and cloud operations, they experience security concerns. The two different systems are not compatible, so data becomes vulnerable when traffic moves across systems. As more and more software and data exist on the cloud, protecting traffic for business-critical operations is vital.
One of the best perks of SD-WAN is that it comes with built-in security. Integrated security features help prevent things such as:
- Lost data
- Legal liabilities
- Regulatory violations
Customers and clients can rest at ease knowing their private information is secure in the cloud with SD-WAN services. Integrated threat protection features are enforced at the right time and place, so businesses can catch security breaches before they happen.
2. Improved Performance
SD-WAN simplifies the management of networking services for small businesses. Simplifying operations from a central portal results in ease of performance. SD-WAN can even be configured to prioritize critical traffic and real-time services such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).
Traffic for high-demand applications gets routed through the fastest connection. Prioritizing the most critical traffic allows SD-WAN networks to reduce standard performance issues such as lagging and jittering.
With SD-WAN, fast networks are highly available and predictable, so businesses can rely on consistent performance when it matters most.
3. Lower Costs
One of the main reasons businesses switch to SD-WAN is because of how cost-effective it is. Since SD-WAN services utilize technology that you already have, such as ethernet or WiFi, your business doesn’t need to spend money on complicated new equipment or IT services.
Essentially, SD-WAN helps you get the highest performance out of the connectivity you already have, so there is no need to pay for extreme IT involvement or new overhead costs. SD-WAN solutions only use the circuits they need to get the job done.
SD-WAN leverages low-cost local internet access, reduces unnecessary traffic, and provides direct cloud access. The automated management feature on SD-WAN systems removes the need for network engineers to make system changes and reduces the effort needed to maintain a network. All of these modern functions reduce usage and labor costs.
4. Optimized Cloud Experience
Businesses and the general public are utilizing cloud storage more and more each day. The average person who used to store digital photos and documents on computer hard drives now can easily access them through cloud applications such as:
- Google Photos
- Microsoft OneDrive
- Google Drive
- Apple iCloud
- And more
SD-WAN is continually being revamped to provide optimized connectivity over the cloud. SD-WAN is appealing because it dramatically simplifies cloud connectivity compared to traditional WAN services. It can automate simple tasks and organize complex tasks in the most efficient way.
Gone are the days of needing to be connected to a centralized data center. With SD-WAN for business, employees can access cloud applications remotely to be productive from any location.
Optimize Your Business With SD-WAN Today
As you can tell, there are numerous reasons why businesses across the country are switching from traditional WAN services to SD-WAN. Don’t let your competition get ahead. Instead, take advantage of cost-effective SD-WAN services that will increase your security and performance.
At Integrated Communications, we partner with the most trusted SD-WAN providers in North America. Are you ready to make the switch? Contact us today to set up a free telecommunications audit. We will assess your company’s performance and help you determine the best path forward for your business network.
With the many improvements in customer data collection, companies of any size can leverage information to improve products and customer experience. However, many smaller organizations have the misconception that this undertaking is so massive that only enterprise level organizations can capitalize on it. In reality, the following three factors can be leveraged by any organization, regardless of size.
Improve the Customer Experience With Actual Experience
So many pieces of equipment today are equipped with the ability to “phone home” and report back to the mother company. This reporting includes system crashes, customer usage, and identifying why problems happen so they can be patched. More products than ever before — including washing machines, cars, and even refrigerators — now connect to the Internet and provide vital information to organizations.
Such sensors are actually not too costly in most cases and can be included easily in a variety of products. Being able to build a better customer experience is vital to staying competitive in the market. A business can accomplish this by finding out when its products develop issues and quickly resolving them — without a single call made to a customer service agent.
Understand the Target Market
Devices can also collect data about the consumers who actually use the product. For example, when users log into Facebook to create accounts for a smart watch, the manufacturer can see live demographic information that can then be directly utilized by advertising and marketing departments to understand what demographics are consuming the product and what audiences are still untapped.
Increasing Efficiency Through Data
Product development and sales aren’t the only places where data can help improve operations. Companies can also use data to improve shipping logistics by getting more accurate reads on the amount of time required to send shipments out, and HR can compile the profile of ideal employees by matching the elements of current employees with prospective job candidates.
Data is typically thought of as something that is primarily used by IT, but nearly every aspect of an organization can capitalize on it to improve decision making. It is important to remember that collecting data is useful for any organization. Small companies of all verticals and industries can utilize data. It’s up to the organization to make the jump.