The last 10 years have seen a series of irreversible changes in business. From the rapid adoption of cloud technology to the acceleration of remote and hybrid work models (before and after 2020), the business landscape looks much different as companies approach the third decade of the millennium. For small and mid-sized businesses, many of these innovations have leveled the playing field and helped them compete in a global marketplace. But along with positive changes and innovations come obstacles. For many companies, these challenges include network performance issues and vulnerabilities. Every new app, service or function places an additional strain on the network. Increasingly dispersed teams and new remote and hybrid work options also put a strain on the traditional WAN, and many SMBs don’t have the IT resources to troubleshoot all the issues that come with supporting a remote or hybrid workforce.
Benefits of an SD-WANIn this business environment, there’s a valuable networking technology that can improve operations, boost employee productivity and position your SMB for growth. Here are three key reasons why a software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) could be the most important technology your SMB adopts in the coming year.
- Boost network performance and connectivity. One of the most important features of an SD-WAN is its ability to use multiple bandwidth connections in remote locations. For hybrid and remote workers, this feature means less risk of downtime or disruption. Should one connection fail, the SD-WAN can automatically route to another connection. Companies can also tell the SD-WAN which apps and functions to prioritize—for example, voice services. If Internet connections are struggling to keep up with demand, companies know their team members will still have access to their most important apps.
- Protect against security threats. It’s not just big businesses that have to worry about data breaches. For the SMB, one data breach or cybercrime incident could be too much to absorb. In fact, cloud security firm AppRiver notes that the average cost of a data breach for a small to mid-sized business in North America is $149,000. With an SD-WAN, IT can manage even a widely dispersed network from a single dashboard and roll out security updates automatically, ensuring that every company device has the latest security updates.
- Position for growth. One general IT challenge for many SMBs is how to expand technology without incurring costs that the company isn’t ready for. For a growing company that’s watching expenses carefully, it can be tough to justify large infrastructure expenditures just to add a few employees. With an SD-WAN, companies only pay for the licences they need, scaling up only when they’re ready.
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