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Software-defined wide area networking, or SD-WAN, is becoming increasingly popular in the enterprise. As a result, companies with multiple offices are now able to connect with one another and to the cloud.
Top SD-WAN challenges
A recent study by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) found that 55% of enterprises actually prefer to connect branch offices directly to the cloud. Rather than routing cloud traffic through a data centre or hub, companies are utilising the power of SD-WAN. EMA surveyed 305 enterprise WAN decision-makers in order to decipher the state of their WAN transformation. The report identifies best practices but also provides some critical cautions for enterprises.
First and foremost, 33% of respondents identified "integration with existing security architecture" as their top SD-WAN challenge. This was the most popular response, which is no surprise considering the complex nature of security technology. Next, 28% of enterprises stated that they struggle with a skills gap in the network team. The same number of people also said that SD-WAN product maturity had caused issues due to its marketplace booming quite suddenly over the last few years.
The demands of enterprises with SD-WAN
However, SD-WAN providers are currently failing to provide a wide coverage for users. According to the research, 90% of enterprise network teams require end-to-end management of SD-WAN. 48% of enterprises said that they required end-to-end management to cover branch site WAN infrastructure. Although many SD-WAN vendors do cover SD-WAN gateways, some fail to cover third-party routers and WAN optimisation controllers. Furthermore, 43% of respondents indicated that branch site security and remote user VPN management also needed addressing.
At present, a small minority of SD-WAN products do so despite most solutions offering security management. 41% of enterprises also said that their WAN management environment was failing to cover branch LAN infrastructure. While only a handful of SD-WAN vendors provide this, some WiFi providers have recently added SD-WAN integration into their offerings. 39% of respondents stated that they needed management integration with their data centre network. As a result, this would allow companies to incorporate integrated security and segmentation frameworks into their operations.