When it comes to SD-WAN, it’s best to consider the needs of your business first instead of the promises of the solution itself.

As incredible as a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) may sound, there are a few requirements that need to be met when considering SD-WAN as a networking solution, particularly for SMEs.

Related: Do SMEs really need SD-WAN?

Is your business suffering because Internet links often go down and you need to place orders online or communicate with your customers electronically? Are you struggling with Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) call quality? Do you need better utilisation reports to make more informed decisions regarding your WAN infrastructure? If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, SD-WAN might be the solution for you.

Don’t forget to:

  • Keep it simple: It’s easy to get overwhelmed by what is available in the market and overcomplicate the potential solution design. Try to keep the requirement as simple as possible and focus on what you need to improve your core business.
  • Stay within budget: Managing cashflow is a critical success factor for the SME sector. If budget is a factor, consider opting for the service provider offering equipment rental solutions (allowing you to save on the initial capital) instead of one with a more affordable monthly cost.
  • Seek advice: Ask a professional for help defining your core requirements. They must understand your core business needs and give advice and guidance on how to frame your requirements and potential solutions.
  • Make it scalable: Starting with a smaller, simpler solution and growing it as your business needs grow is more cost efficient than implementing a high-end solution and then trying to grow your business quickly to justify the high cost.
  • Always include security: A downside of using a more affordable Internet link for your WAN traffic is that you’ll be exposing your business network to the public Internet. It’s important to understand the impact of potential risks like hacking, ransomware attacks and viruses to your business and ensure these risks are appropriately mitigated.
  • Outsource the admin: A managed solution from your ICT provider will relieve you of maintenance and administration worries, especially if you don’t have dedicated IT staff on site. It will also give you peace of mind when it comes to security and the cost of replacing faulty hardware or upgrading the equipment when needed.