Looking at SD-WAN as a cost-cutting measure is a narrow view of the technology since it underpins many of the transformational technologies modern organisations are implementing.

Organisations should look to leverage SD-WAN as a transformational networking technology and factor in the benefits below when calculating ROI.

 

Why move to SD-WAN?

Traditional WANs typically utilise Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) for shortest path forwarding over a variety of transport protocols. MPLS is ideal for communications within your perimeter firewall, such as connecting remote sites to head offices and corporate data centres.

This approach makes MPLS unsuitable with internet and public cloud.

Besides, MPLS tends to be static in its approach, meaning that changes can often take weeks to implement.

These issues are often the primary headache for organisations looking to embrace new technology strategies. Multi-cloud architecture, IoT, SaaS and IaaS services are placing increased stress on MPLS networks. MPLS is not suited to rapid configuration changes or large bandwidth requirements.

We have found that the desire to move to SD-WAN has more to do with enabling these new technologies, rather than a cost-cutting measure.

 

How SD-WAN supports your transformation goals?

Through our clients, we have found that the following factors drive the move to SD-WAN:

  • Cloud Enablement
  • Improved Security
  • Flexible Connectivity and Services

Whilst cost is a driver mentioned by CIOs, we have found that it rarely a primary reason. CIO’s view SD-WAN as a critical platform in growing the business and solving problems.

SD-WAN allows direct, secure cloud connectivity between various physical sites and cloud services. Adopters of SD-WAN use the technology to connect remote locations directly to cloud services.

This approach eliminates the latency associated with routing cloud traffic over the MPLS network to a regional hub for external internet traffic.

SD-WAN also enables network flexibility, supporting organisations as they transform and adding new applications, services and locations. SD-WAN supports these changes through centralised, software-based controls, allowing for flexibility that legacy networks could not support easily.

The centralised nature of SD-WAN makes optimal use of your existing IT Network team. They can outsource some functions or manage the entire network, depending on the level of resources internally available. To support regional locations, IT can even provision an SD-WAN endpoint and then ship it to a site. The device will self-provision after calling home.

The final benefit SD-WAN brings is network resilience. Centralised monitoring and reporting, along with traffic routing and security tools, reduce incidents on your network, all whilst utilising fewer administration resources.

 

Realising ROI of SD-WAN

When calculating the ROI of upgrading to SD-WAN, we recommend factoring in a combination of hard and soft factors, with the main items being:

  • Reduced Downtime
  • Reduction of Security Risk
  • Reduced Expenses

Reduced Downtime

When your IT team considers how much revenue is derived from WAN connectivity, they need to include POS Systems, End-User Productivity and remote workers and locations.

Many network outages stem from incorrect network changes, configuration errors and human error. The centralised nature of SD-WAN allows for templated configurations and standardised change management, reducing configuration errors to almost zero.

This reduction in downtime should always be factored in when modelling the ROI and benefits of SD-WAN.

Reduction of Security Risks

A robust SD-WAN security architecture reduces the likelihood of a security breach through software configurable security features, such as firewalls, internet breakout, and point-to-point VPNs.

SD-WAN architecture also supports integration with cloud-based security services such as intrusion detection, cloud application security brokers and threat protection. We recommend that your ROI model factors in the reduced security risks that a breach would cost.

Reduced Expenses

Capital Expense Savings

Being software-based, SD-WAN allows you to avoid costly purchases of enterprise routers. SD-WAN endpoints can be purchased off the shelf or bundled into your subscription, avoiding large capital outlays.

Reduced Operating Expenses

In most enterprises, your highest network cost is the staff, with much of their time spent on troubleshooting issues. With centralised, software-based management, SD-WAN eliminates much of this activity, freeing up your team to focus on new projects and initiatives.

 

Conclusion

The benefits that SD-WAN bring such as reduced downtime, improved security and lower administration costs, whilst obvious, need to be factored into your ROI models. Organisations with mature and flexible financial modelling can easily demonstrate the numerous benefits.

Centorrino Technologies is a leading provider of secure SD-WAN, helping our clients scale without compromising their performance or security.

With a dedicated Network Operations and Security Operations Centre, we help you free IT resources as well as provide you with the control and visibility you need. Our Solution Architects would love to show you the benefits that SD-WAN would bring to your enterprise. Please find out more about how we can help today.