Key predictions in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for SD-WAN

Tech research firm Gartner has recently released its Magic Quadrant report for SD-WAN. We take a look at the headline trends and predictions, and explore what these mean for businesses looking for greater network security…


  • By 2025, 50% of new software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) purchases will be part of a single-vendor Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) offering, up from just 10% in 2022.

 What this means: Businesses are increasingly looking for single vendors to meet both their networking and their security needs. Using a single vendor for SD-WAN and security (SASE) allows businesses to achieve better integration of services, as well as to optimise costs and have a single point of contact for both network and security issues.


  • By 2026, one-third of new SD-WAN procurements will be in some form of Network-as-a-Service (NaaS), up from near 0% in 2022.

 What this means: There’s a growing appetite among consumers to only pay for what they’re using, and vendors are beginning to offer consumption-based pricing structures for SD-WAN deployments. NaaS sees the network – including hardware, software and management – provisioned on a usage-based plan to help businesses streamline costs, and reduce the overheads associated with on-premise networking hardware.


  • By 2025, 40% of enterprises with SD-WAN deployments will use artificial intelligence (AI) functions to automate Day 2 operations, compared with fewer than 10% in 2022.

 What this means: There is a growing demand for ‘self-driving’ networks that harness AI to make networking decisions with limited human input. The goal here is to make networking easier for configuration and deployment while driving OpEx savings, increasing speed and agility, and improving network uptime and performance.

Business demands driving SD-WAN change

The business technology landscape is changing rapidly, with shifts towards hybrid working, a national telecoms network upgrade underway and changing user needs and expectations.

Network traffic patterns have changed, too, with many businesses now simultaneously operating applications based in the data centre, in the public cloud and being provisioned by third-party SaaS providers. With traffic crossing more varied infrastructures, network and security performance are becoming increasingly difficult for individual businesses to manage.

Gartner suggests business demands are driving changes in the SD-WAN market as organisations look to:

  • Refresh existing router equipment that is being bricked and/or no longer has the capabilities they need
  • Renew managed service contracts, where engaging a new service provider means buying, installing and provisioning new equipment
  • Increase the use of cloud and multi-cloud resources, making traditional on-premise data centres obsolete
  • Increase scalability, agility and automation while accelerating digital transformation and reducing operational expenditure
  • Consolidate functions across network routing and security
  • Support remote workers with high-performance networking, security and applications

The problem with SD-WAN

As a networking model, SD-WAN follows the traditional concept of a network infrastructure being centred around an organisation’s data centre. It creates an overlay network through physical appliances, software or cloud-based vendor services to connect users, offices and sites to the data centre. SD-WAN can boost private network versatility and is a popular networking solution for businesses with multiple sites and those that operate hybrid and remote working models. But SD-WAN wasn’t developed with security as a priority, and security is increasingly the number-one priority for businesses.

The SASE solution

SASE is a fully cloud-based networking architecture that both connects and secures. SASE platforms deliver combined network and enhanced security in a single, as-a-service tool, making it a more customisable, more scalable, and more cost-effective option for businesses with increasingly complex infrastructures.

SASE can be deployed for both mobile and fixed users – converging networking and security for offices, remote workers, applications, IoT devices and data centres – making it a great choice for businesses with multiple sites, or those that are committed to supporting hybrid working models.

 The future of SD-WAN and SASE

Gartner anticipates that some aspects of SD-WAN will evolve into the single-vendor SASE market, whereby network security is delivered from the cloud to support the SD-WAN deployment. This will include cloud-based security products like secure web gateway (SWG), cloud access security brokers (CASB) and zero-trust network access (ZTNA) being provisioned alongside the network – in one console, from one service provider.

Business benefits of Secure Access Service Edge

Optimised costs and a single point of contact for network and security are two of the biggest businesses benefits of SASE, but there are plenty of others. The cloud-based distributed architecture and centralised management ensure optimal network performance and oversight for all applications, while endpoint-specific policies ensure security controls are integrated closer to the user. And as with all cloud-based solutions, integrated AI makes for better analytics, deeper insights and reduced workloads through greater automation.

But better security for the network is where SASE really excels, as it integrates multiple security functions, features and platforms into one cloud-delivered service model, reducing complexity while protecting more of the environment. Security functions can include:

  • RBI
  • ZTNA
  • Data-loss prevention
  • Malware protection
  • Cloud access security broker
  • Firewall-as-a-Service
  • Intrusion detection and prevention
  • Secure Web Gateway

Secure networking for the future

In many ways, SASE is the evolution of SD-WAN. By combining SD-WAN’s capabilities with enhanced network security services, a tandem deployment from a single provider can reduce the complexity of network security and present the perfect, future-proofed, secure solution for businesses. Gartner subscribers can read the Magic Quadrant for SD-WAN here.

To find out more about how M247 can support your network into the future, read about our SD-WAN solution here.



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