Should SMEs Consider SD-WAN?
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the cornerstone of most economies around the world, particularly in emerging economies. By definition, SMEs are generally businesses that employ not more than 1,000 people and make less than US$1 billion in annual revenue.
According to the World Bank, SMEs contribute up to 60% of total employment and up to 40% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in developing countries. SMEs know that they play an important role in the economy and are embracing digital transformation to go global.
Unlike multinational corporations (MNCs), SMEs face significant IT challenges related to costs, resources and talents. Firstly, they do not have the luxury to spend on large-scale IT projects due to budget constraints. Even if they can afford it, such projects are likely to run over budget and over time, creating less value for the overall business. Lastly, talent acquisition is only going to be tougher as companies across industries are facing global talent shortage.
SD-WAN: Built for the Enterprise
Enterprise networking will become even more sophisticated as SMEs expand across multiple locations with an increasingly distributed workforce. This is when SMEs should start to consider Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) over traditional WAN.
It is certainly going to be more expensive to connect branch offices with a traditional Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) approach. Each office will need a dedicated IT team to manage the physical network appliances and local service provider, creating greater inconsistencies and disparities in the overall enterprise infrastructure.
The low-cost alternative is the public internet, but it is also unreliable and delivers unstable performance. Relying on the public internet for accessing corporate data and applications is also not the most secure option.
Unlike traditional WAN, an SD-WAN solution is deployed as an overlay technology that enables centralised management of the enterprise network. SMEs can use SD-WAN to deploy and connect sites instantly with real-time visibility into the network performance and utilisation of network resource.
Better with Managed SD-WAN
The real long-term benefit of SD-WAN for SMEs will come into play with the Cloud.
SD-WAN is needed to make an SMEs’ Cloud strategy successful, allowing enterprise workers to securely access Cloud applications from remote sites and branch offices. For enterprises, this means better network and application performance as well as a greater visibility and availability.
However, SMEs should consider a managed SD-WAN instead of ‘Doing-It-Yourself’ (DIY), simply because it can be very resource intensive. Self-management of the network places immense stress on the in-house IT team and leave no room for strategic initiatives. They will spend more time keeping the lights on instead of innovating.
A managed SD-WAN solution can be deployed in a matter of days, depending on the scale, and does not require IT staffs to become experts in operating or troubleshooting the network. The service provider takes care of the network and support any change requests. Meanwhile, the staffs are also able to access a portal to control and monitor the network performance.
With a managed SD-WAN solution, like Epsilon’s Enterprise WAN, SMEs do not need to worry about security. It is integrated with security features for configuring network firewalls, encryption and security protocols. Our solution also provides various connectivity options and access into our global network fabric of interconnected data centres, Cloud Service Providers (CSP) and Internet Exchanges (IX).
Taking it to the Next Level
SMEs should operate like a disruptor, not an old school telco. A managed SD-WAN solution should be secure, high performing and simple to use. It is time to decide how you want to bring your enterprise to the next level globally.
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