As businesses start opening up and employees return to the office — at least part of the time — we’re seeing a resurgence in the need for connectivity, including SD-WAN.
At the start of the pandemic, businesses were focused on setting up remote workforces and providing the bandwidth, connectivity and security required to work from home. Now as we transition back to the office — and toward a more hybrid workforce — offices that have lain dormant for more than a year need to ready themselves for the new world of work.
For some businesses, that might mean migrating away from MPLS to support remote workers or branch offices. Or it might mean looking for new solutions to support hybrid work arrangements. It could also mean looking for ways to cut costs.
If you’re looking to supplement or even replace your current MPLS configuration to support remote workers or offices, SD-WAN can provide cost-efficient connectivity — plus a whole lot more.
Key features of SD-WAN
With SD-WAN, you’re sending data over the Internet (over existing connectivity), so it’s cost-efficient, but it’s also more secure, available and resilient. For example, SD-WAN connectivity can be a combination of Allstream-delivered dedicated Internet, broadband Internet and/or wireless LTE/4G wireless Internet as a backup, or you can provide your own Internet — whatever works best for your business.
We can easily add wireless to any SD-WAN solution today, providing 100 per cent availability — so if one connection fails, you still have connectivity. This is particularly important in certain verticals, such as retail, healthcare and professional services, which need to send secure payments or manage sensitive documents.
Another key feature is security. SD-WANs are secure by nature since data is encrypted from site to site. But with Allstream SD-WAN, powered by Cisco Meraki, you have the option for turnkey security against Internet threats with a next-generation firewall using security features inherent in Cisco solutions. And you never have to worry about security updates, since those happen automatically with Meraki.
What’s unique about our SD-WAN solution, however, is that it’s not tied to a certain set of limited features, meaning we can add a lot of existing tools we have today in Allstream IT CloudView. Not only do you benefit from site-to-site connectivity, but IT CloudView offers secure monitoring, application control and management of your entire customized IT environment from a central dashboard.
If you have an existing IP-VPN or MPLS, we can add SD-WAN at a remote location where you don’t have dedicated bandwidth to build out your network. And we can manage that data to ensure high-priority apps like voice, video conferencing or Webex are prioritized over other apps, with Quality of Service (QoS) from end to end.
For cross-border customers that have locations in Canada and the U.S., we provide full visibility and control of your network through a dashboard to manage connectivity and view utilization of your links — regardless of where you’re physically located. And if you don’t want to worry about managing your SD-WAN, we can manage it for you.
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As the world opens back up for business and we adapt to a hybrid workforce, finding the right connectivity solution matters more than ever. For more information, or to access a checklist to determine if SD-WAN is right for your business, visit our website.