In our 2023 Tech Trends whitepaper, we cited this year as being critical for SD-WAN. This subject is explored more in this year’s Cloud for Business report, compiled by Raconteur and distributed in The Sunday Times.
In this week’s feature article, we take a look at the SD-WAN Q&A with Gareth Davies, Executive Vice President of Managed Services at Fulcrum IT Partners.
Q: What is driving the adoption of SD-WAN?
Managed, secure SD-WAN is becoming increasingly popular among businesses because it can provide improved network security, scalability and flexibility. Companies gain an extra layer of protection against cyber threats, while also being able to easily scale networks as their needs change.
Until very recently, many mid-sized businesses might not have considered themselves as a target for cyber criminals, yet they often are. At the same time, the complexity of risk mitigation and product management is greater than ever. A managed secure SD-WAN service reduces this complexity by providing a unified, centrally managed platform that allows safe and reliable access to distributed applications and data across the enterprise.
Q: What have been the key stages in the technology’s evolution to this point?
SD-WAN emerged as a way to deliver reliable and cost-effective connectivity, but has now evolved to be an essential part of securing the edge, including for remote workers. Companies use secure SD-WAN for all forms of connectivity at all their sites, connecting users to applications, and ensuring optimal performance, uptime and resilience across the network.
SD-WAN also provides the critical foundation of secure-access service edge (SASE). This network architecture supports cloud-enabled organisations by combining SD-WAN with additional network-security features – such as zero-trust network access and automated enforcements like cloud-access security brokers and secure-web gateways – into a single cloud-based offering. It provides consistent security and access to all cloud applications, so organisations simplify management, improve visibility and maximise network protection across users, devices and applications.
Q: How do you work with companies to overcome their security challenges?
We understand that every business has its unique set of challenges and objectives. We take a consultative approach to engagement to ensure we fully understand what the challenges and desired business outcomes are, before designing and implementing a solution that supports those needs now, but is also flexible enough to support future growth opportunities.
When it comes to cybersecurity, business leaders need to ensure they have all the right levels in place. The services we provide allow companies to reduce the complexity of network and security management, so they can free up critical resources, time and energy for mission-critical pursuits.
Q: How can you help IT leaders answer the important questions they get from the C-suite on cybersecurity?
We don’t believe businesses are getting the best outcomes and value from their security investments. We aim to change that by providing a service that brings together the required expertise and best-of-breed technologies that help IT managers to implement effective protection. This means they can also accurately report to the chief executive and the chief financial officer on cost and effectiveness.
By implementing robust observability measures, organisations gain timely insights to evaluate their spending and make informed decisions on system changes, thereby optimising their operations and maximising returns. Our services are also unique in that they are backed by risk-transfer services that offer operational and financial cyber resilience.
Q: What lies ahead for companies’ cybersecurity strategies?
While threats are constantly evolving, so too is the ability to protect against them. Companies are taking smart steps to advance their security. They recognise they no longer need to be the experts in each domain or have the capacities to constantly update and advance systems. Modern IT teams have a far greater responsibility in contributing to wider business goals.
By bringing in security specialists who integrate best-of-breed solutions across their operations, backed by risk-transfer services, companies are protected against threats, mitigating the damage from breaches and positioning themselves for effective business continuity. This allows them to focus their resources on other business priorities and gives them the peace of mind that their network and data are secure.
As businesses leverage more and more cloud-based applications, deploy hybrid working models and move to support a growing number of users connecting across multiple locations and devices, they are grappling with increased network complexity.
For many businesses, cloud solutions have been key to successfully navigating a tricky few years, providing them with the agility, flexibility and elasticity they needed to respond to a global pandemic, market uncertainty and shifting customer and employee expectations. But while business applications and tools have undergone massive changes, networking has remained largely static.
With sensitive and business-critical data now being stored across multiple cloud applications, IT leaders are looking for a way to get a handle on data sprawl, ensure network security and enhance network oversight. In this environment, SD-WAN could be the answer many are seeking.
SD-WAN is the cloud-centric evolution of wide-area networking, virtualising the network layer to give businesses greater control, greater visibility and enhanced functionality across increasingly complex environments. Moving to SD-WAN is undoubtedly a huge undertaking for any business, but as with most things cloud, there’s a solution that mitigates that pain point. Managed SD-WAN solutions are becoming increasingly popular with businesses that recognise the benefits of drafting in expert help for planning and deployment. But there’s an ongoing benefit to managed SD-WAN too, with teams able to offload the day-to-day running of the network so they can better spend their time analysing traffic, shoring up security and improving performance in line with overarching business goals.
For all these reasons and more, we believe 2023 will be the year many businesses commit to SD-WAN as a flexible, future-proofed, and intelligent networking solution for the hybrid age.
To download your complete copy of 2023 Cloud for Business report and read more articles like this, click here