How to Choose an SD-WAN Provider for Your Business

Whether you choose a physical appliance that delivers SD-WAN functionality or opts for a fully managed service from a provider, you want a system that prioritizes security. This means looking for a vendor that has a strong security pedigree and includes features like tunneling and encryption. You should also consider a co-managed approach, where the enterprise makes buying decisions and retains some control but lets the vendor handle deployment, monitoring, and SLA support. This will save your IT team from working with multiple vendors and can reduce costs considerably from VPN download.


The cost of SD-WAN deployment is a major factor for many businesses. While it’s true that SD-WAN can significantly reduce costs by eliminating the need for MPLS circuits, it is crucial to understand the factors that influence cost-effectiveness. These include network architecture, connectivity, application performance, and security. When evaluating options for SD-WAN, look for providers that offer a comprehensive solution that combines networking, security, and performance management. Look for vendors with a track record of delivering measurable value to their customers. They should also provide a cost-effective pricing model. Considering the total cost of ownership is important when evaluating an SD-WAN solution. This includes both the initial investment and ongoing operational expenses. In addition, consider the cost of hardware, software, and support. Lastly, be sure to assess the hourly cost of downtime. A reliable and stable SD-WAN edge-platform can significantly mitigate the impact of downtime on the business’s bottom line.


Flexibility is one of the most important factors when selecting an SD-WAN vendor. The right solution should offer the flexibility to choose the best network path based on bandwidth needs and optimize application performance with advanced features such as WAN optimization, traffic balancing, and routing. This will enable businesses to improve productivity and ensure high-performance levels across all sites.

Another aspect to look for is centralized management that simplifies security and operations by allowing network administrators to control and monitor all sites via a single dashboard. This will allow IT to troubleshoot problems without costly truck rolls and provide visibility and security that can only be achieved with a fully managed SD-WAN solution.

Selecting a provider that understands the underlying infrastructure to support an SD-WAN solution is also essential. This includes how MPLS, fiber, satellite, and microwave networks operate. A mature, enterprise-grade provider will have experience managing these networks and know how to optimize them for cloud application performance. This will ensure that your WAN performs as expected once deployed.


A key factor to consider when selecting an SD-WAN provider is security. Some vendors have a legacy of security-related issues; others are known for incorporating best practices into their products. Regardless, evaluating the potential for a vendor’s security solutions, including unified threat management (UTM), advanced firewalls, and secure gateways, is important.

Another issue to remember when choosing an SD-WAN provider is whether or not it offers centralized monitoring and management. This is especially true for large networks with multiple sites and a wide range of applications, as the ability to monitor and troubleshoot performance across all locations is critical. Finally, ensuring that an SD-WAN solution can handle bandwidth requirements is also important. Too often, bandwidth should be noticed in infrastructure projects. A good provider will assess and determine if additional capacity is needed, then work with the customer to meet that need. This might be through the addition of an MLPS line, a dedicated internet circuit, or some other option. This is crucial to ensuring that an SD-WAN solution performs as expected once it is deployed.


A good SD-WAN provider should be able to assess bandwidth needs and project future capacity. It should also prioritize application performance. In addition, it should provide security capabilities such as centralized policy management and encrypted WAN traffic. Lastly, it should have an automated key rotation feature to reduce reliance on VPN technology.

A company should also look for an SD-WAN vendor that offers a portfolio of solutions, including UC, IP telephony, video, and collaboration apps. This will help the IT team manage the branch network more effectively. It should also support cloud-based applications with secure and reliable connections. An organization can choose between a DIY SD-WAN or a managed solution. The IT staff is responsible for selecting and deploying an SD-WAN system in the former. In the latter, the vendor handles everything – from deployment to maintenance and monitoring. 


When choosing a provider, it is important to consider the factors that affect SD-WAN deployment. For instance, if security is your top concern, you should prioritize a vendor with a strong security pedigree. Similarly, if application performance is your primary focus, you should look for an SD-WAN solution with advanced WAN optimization features. Moreover, choose a managed service approach to free up your IT team’s time.

It’s also vital to select a provider that assesses bandwidth requirements, including determining the capacity needs of each remote site. This is because poor network connectivity can cause SD-WAN to perform poorly. For example, UC applications require a lot of bandwidth. Additionally, the software should automatically adapt to changing conditions and optimize application performance. 

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