As modern business technology and connectivity evolves, managed WAN (Wide Area Networks) have become a vital component in every IT leader’s armory. Assembling a business case for connectivity solutions like IP-VPN (Internet Protocol-Virtual Private Network) or SD-WAN (Software-Defined Networking in a Wide Area Network) however can be complex.
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a long-established network architecture that protects a user’s connection; keeping their privacy on the internet via safe remote access. SD-WAN was created due to the growing popularity of the cloud.
As with all technology requirements, a good business case needs to clearly demonstrate the benefits of implementation, and when it comes to WAN technology like IP-VPN, there are four key points you should be considering when implementing a new solution.
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Bernie Marolia is Enterprise Director at SSE Enterprise Telecoms
Reducing connectivity complexity
There is no one-size-fits-all model when it comes to IP-VPN. That being said, there are common business challenges where IP-VPN is clearly the right solution.
For example, businesses that work across multiple sites in urban and rural locations with constant large-scale data transference will benefit from the low latency and high network performance IP-VPN offers. Similarly, those that use collaboration and management tools need constant high bandwidth guarantees and may struggle without their own VPN – particularly now that organisations have more reliance on video conferencing, file sharing and messaging software than ever before.
In each of these cases, IP-VPN provides close control for IT leaders, offering multiple classes of service, which ensure each application gets the required priority to utilize allocated bandwidth efficiently, providing the optimal quality of service.
Providing greater security and a greater service
Perhaps the most natural use case for IP-VPN is based around security and data privacy. Organizations that house applications on site need dedicated private networks to protect their data.
Often this is due to the sensitivity and value of the data they work with (such as in healthcare), or because the risk of a breach has huge financial consequences (for example in banking).
IP-VPN has long been the preferred choice for these organizations, with many leading providers offering dedicated lines through which internet traffic is backhauled to a data centre for inspection. It also enables them to have complete network control and bypass the risks that may come with alternative solutions.
Retaining high standards of connectivity
Unresponsive applications, slow transmission and network congestion are all common problems for IT leaders. Particularly as device proliferation continues apace, and their systems are asked to cope with expanding amounts of data, the rise of IoT and to play a key role in ongoing digital transformation efforts.
Known for its quality of service, IP-VPN is a low latency, low packet loss and robustly reliable solution. It enables IT leaders to improve the basic standards of their organization’s connectivity, while also playing a strategic role in the onboarding of ever more advanced technology, and keeping the business operational whatever challenges are thrown at the network.
Ease in network adaptability
The fact is that while IP-VPN is an ideal solution for many organisations, transitioning to SD-WAN is becoming increasingly frequent. The transition between platforms is often motivated by evolving demands or a change in cloud strategy (for example adopting a secure public cloud model).
Sometimes, the move can be held back due to misconceptions about SD-WAN and the complexity involved in switching. However, it remains a viable path over a five or even ten-year period for many organizations.
Choosing the right provider
A VPN is an important component of your business’ security and a key consideration must be choosing a provider that can keep your sensitive data secure. With progressively more applications being hosted in the cloud, businesses are turning to solutions that offer scalability, as well as high levels of security and performance.
Nowadays, it is important for businesses to find a telecommunications solution that keeps their business running efficiently and seamlessly in order to provide the adequate level of service to their customers. It is advisable that businesses compare solutions to see which is best for them.
Working with a consultative expert in both IP-VPN and SD-WAN will make any move relatively smooth - for example, a provider that can manage a service for both, allows the facilitation of seamless implementation. It also ensures that the provider becomes well attuned to the business and its connectivity requirements, meaning they can easily spot when a growing case for SD-WAN emerges and make the move in time to capitalise on all of the opportunities that enhanced connectivity can bring.
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