Opportunities in SD-WAN

Sean Campbell, Director Canadian Channels, Fortinet

Almost all organizations have some resources in the cloud, and 89 per cent of organizations have a multi-cloud strategy. As a result, software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN) solutions have become essential as virtualization and cloud adoption shift applications and resources to cloud environments. 

SD-WAN solutions are popular for providing fast, scalable, and flexible connectivity across network environments. With low latency, better performance, and more reliable connectivity, SD-WAN can reduce bandwidth costs, consolidate networking and security products, and reduce capital costs while increasing agility and scale.

When properly implemented, SD-WAN enables private, fast, and direct internet access at all edges, including the cloud. However, a subpar SD-WAN approach can slow an organization’s ability to take advantage of digital transformation. Channel partners can help kickstart their customer’s business and operational aspirations by assisting them in implementing SD-WAN correctly.

A new generation of SD-WAN is an Opportunity for Partners

For customers that see SD-WAN as a point solution that increases network, security, and operational complexity, channel partners have an opportunity to offer a more strategic approach.

Today’s third-generation SD-WAN solutions, such as Fortinet’s Secure SD-WAN, offer customers a flexible and secure foundation for ongoing network transformation. Secure SD-WAN takes a more integrated, automated platform approach that eliminates complexity while enhancing security and performance. It provides a foundation for SD-Branch and Zero Trust Edge, as well as SASE (secure access service edge) solutions that extend fast and secure access to home and mobile workers.

With the growth of remote and hybrid work models, partners can establish a stronger customer relationship by supporting an IT foundation that makes transitioning to SASE easier. An SD-WAN platform that offers consistent security regardless of where users work provides long-term business opportunities as customers evolve their security posture and work models.

Focus on productivity 

Remote or mobile workers should also enjoy the network speed and access they need to be productive. Partners can distinguish themselves by providing customers with a reliable and fast user experience for all employees, regardless of location.

Intelligent SD-WAN solutions should steer remote workers using bandwidth-intensive applications to the WAN link that offers optimal performance. By ensuring consistent, low-latency network speed and access, customers can achieve productivity gains and increase employee satisfaction which are key profitability drivers. 

Reduce demands on IT staff 

Reducing demands on IT staff and disruptions caused by infrastructure deployment and updates is another way SD-WAN can aid customers’ bottom line.

Partners offering zero-touch SD-WAN solutions can help customers streamline setup and minimize disruptions to operations while increasing whole-network security. With these unconfigured SD-WAN appliances, connection to a service is automatic, authenticating the remote devices and a centralized management system. Instantly, IT teams are provided with traffic visibility, making issue identification and resolution easier and faster.

Security-driven solutions

Secure SD-WAN can also reduce network complexity by advancing a security-driven networking strategy. This approach creates opportunities for partners to help customers secure remote work edges.

SD-WAN can be incorporated as part of a cybersecurity mesh platform, providing a unified management system that addresses the disconnect caused by device proliferation. Partners can ensure the customer need for secure access anywhere is met, including in multi-cloud and hybrid environments, by combining Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW) capabilities, automation, Zero-Trust Network Access (ZTNA), and Secure Web Gateway solutions alongside SD-WAN.

What are you waiting for? 

Third-generation SD-WAN solutions offer a way for customers to keep pace with growth objectives, ensure end-to-end security and operational resiliency while enhancing productivity.

It also provides much-needed ZTNA enforcement to ensure authorized users access only the required data, resources, and applications, even in multi-cloud infrastructures. Looking ahead, SD-WAN can also help customers prepare for the demand of 5G networks which will require more effort to secure endpoints, applications, and an anticipated 10-fold increase in devices.

With a platform approach that includes SD-WAN, partners can provide customers with a solution that meets their immediate needs and prepares them for future challenges. By thinking long-term, partners will build resilient customer relationships while expanding potential revenue streams.

Sean Campbell is Director of Canadian Channels at Fortinet