Intelligent Tech Channels Issue 29 | Page 66

FINAL WORD providers and keeping the network up and running 24x7. For most businesses, this option isn’t suitable. Instead, they benefit from adopting a managed service with an experienced partner who can help seamlessly integrate the new SD-WAN service with their existing infrastructure and provide support throughout the service lifecycle. Working with a managed service provider means that firms don’t need to invest the considerable time, money and effort to source and retain the required niche skills for managing the SD-WAN, nor build up an internal organisation to offers of 24/7 support for the network. By adopting this model, they would also benefit from the cost efficiencies of a large provider network, who also leverage existing relationships with third-party access providers to ensure that their customer receives the best possible service, end-to-end. Overall, choosing a managed service ensures fast deployment, network performance guarantees and assurance that the business-critical application requirements of the company are met by the right access options on the underlying network. Once the type of service is decided, the next step is to identify what features and capabilities are most critical to meet the requirements of the business. Does the business rely upon multiple cloud-based SaaS and IaaS applications from different cloud service providers? If so, look for a service that offers support for multicloud and cloud-to-cloud connectivity. Is it key to future-proof the organisation and fully enable all the network functions to be delivered as an application, remotely and rapidly? Consider a service that is offered over self-install universal Customer Premise Equipment (uCPE), over which new virtualised functions can be added and deployed rapidly without the need for technician site visits. Other important factors to consider are availability of security features like next-generation firewall and encryption, a centralised management portal, network performance reporting and analytics features and availability of load balancing to reduce network congestion. Setting up and using your SD-WAN After the service has been chosen, the focus should shift to understanding the organisation’s structure and day-to-day network usage and how to apply SD-WAN features to optimise performance. For managed services, the supplier can provide support in configuring the service to address the organisation’s requirements and patterns of application use, network failover and failback settings or behavioural actions to take place. Equally important to setting up the SD-WAN service with the most appropriate configuration is continually reassess the service throughout its lifecycle to dynamically respond to the constant changes in bandwidth requirements, application usage and user experience. It is therefore critical to take advantage of the reporting and analytics capabilities available on the chosen SD-WAN platform to actively monitor performance and respond as required. By understanding that the network requirements and user behaviours of an organisation are constantly evolving and dynamically applying the extensive capabilities and features of the managed SD-WAN service to react to these changes, firms can power their Digital Transformation to their full potential. • 66