By Mike Kuczmierczyk, Senior Product Manager: SD-WAN at Vox
The normalisation of a distributed working environment has seen significant global demand for SD-WAN solutions that provide enhanced connectivity and security for organisations with a geographically dispersed employee base. Research shows that the adoption of cloud platforms that enable this connected work experience is helping fuel SD-WAN growth projected to create a $53 billion market by the end of 2030. The question now turns to how SMEs can benefit from this as these solutions have typically been targeted at larger corporates.
And yet, SMEs are ideally positioned to benefit from SD-WAN technologies. They certainly have greater agility when it comes to their network infrastructure and application footprint. For them, driving operational improvements as cost-effectively as possible is part of their DNA. Not having to worry about a legacy framework in this regard makes an SD-WAN solution ideal for them as it maximises the throughput of what certain applications and business processes require. This becomes even more important when linking remote employees to cloud environments. And when combined with a firewall, an SD-WAN system is simultaneously a robust traffic management system and a flexible, reliable security solution.
With fibre becoming increasingly widespread and mobile packages more affordable, access is less of a concern for SMEs than previous years. The connectivity available to them now becomes an enabler to embrace innovative technology like SD-WAN, the cloud, and all the related high-performance computing features that come with it. Think artificial intelligence, real-time data analytics, and even automation that can significantly enhance operations for smaller businesses without breaking the bank.
Even so, SMEs do not require all the functionality that enterprise-class SD-WAN products provide. For them, it is about having high-resilience internet connectivity, reliability, and excellent voice quality when it comes to making VoIP calls. Moreover, they need to have a detailed view of their network performance to identify the areas that need optimisation.
An ideal SD-WAN solution can help reduce the cost of expensive dedicated connectivity solutions while improving the quality of connectivity to support voice services specifically in under-serviced connectivity areas. By using an SME-focused SD-WAN solution, the company can improve the uptime ratio of connectivity through the likes of an automatic failover. Importantly, it also provides relevant information about the performance of the network environment enabling the SME to focus any investment in their network to be focused where it will provide the greatest benefit to the business.
Another benefit of using a solution designed from the ground up geared to the needs of the SME, is the fact that it will be more affordable. While streamlined, this ‘lite’ version of SD-WAN still delivers the required monitoring and alerting services to notify management when their internet links become unavailable. However, it caters for a range of connectivity options that include fibre, wireless, 5G, LTE, satellite, and xDSL to ensure there is failover when required.
Even though the way companies are doing business has changed considerably over the past 16 months, the focus remains on delivering products and services as effectively as possible. As part of this, ensuring a quality customer experience is central to creating much-needed differentiation in a market filled with uncertainty on what the future will bring. The glue tying all this together is an SME-focused SD-WAN solution that links the connectivity to the cloud environment for the company to be able to keep fulfilling its strategic mandate.