SD-WAN, or software-defined wide-area network, can bring many benefits to companies large and small but can be tricky to deploy. You know the benefits of bringing on a managed partner for your SD-WAN needs, but now you’re faced with many partner choices and don’t know which one to choose. Here are some questions to consider in helping you find the best SD-WAN partner.
What is their quality assurance process like?
SD-WAN relies heavily on software, so it’s crucial that any managed partner you choose has a strong quality assurance, or QA, arm that’s able to vet any code before it’s rolled out system-wide. You don’t want a bug to infect your system because your partner didn’t fully test the code before rolling it out.
Do they have deep domain expertise?
You’ll want to choose a partner that specializes in SD-WAN while also understanding that SD-WAN is a relatively new field and there are many aspects to it. Your chosen partner should have more than just expertise in SD-WAN. They should understand what your existing network looks like and all your application requirements, and how that will impact your SD-WAN needs.
Do they have flexible deployment plans?
Many companies like to test SD-WAN in a few locations or areas before rolling it out company-wide. The best managed partners will be flexible enough to accommodate these kinds of tests before managing a full-scale rollout. They will also work on your schedule and with your requirements in mind.
How agile are they?
What if you want to use your SD-WAN technology for other forms of virtualization, such as consuming network functions on demand? Your managed partner should have adaptive network control that can let you dial up or dial down network capacity on-demand to meet your needs. They should also easily manage virtual connections to cloud providers. SD-WAN should complement the agility that the cloud has brought to business, not hinder it.
Do they offer multiple connectivity options?
MPLS. Internet. Wireless. SD-WAN can work with them all. It will be easier to build a best-in-class network if you choose a managed partner that offers a variety of transport options. Better partners will let you use your existing services, even if they are through a competing carrier. The best partners will take on the management of those relationships.
What security options do they offer?
Security is more important now than it ever has been. Your managed partner should have substantial security options that you can opt in to, if you choose. These are features like intrusion detection and prevention (IDS/IPS), unified threat management, distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) prevention, and encryption.
If you’re looking to find a partner for your SD-WAN managed services, we can help. Contact us for a free consultation.