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Cloud solutions, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence and increasing data transmissions are all complicating management of enterprise wide area network (WANs). Those findings, based on a recent survey conducted by Versa Networks and Dimensional Research, included 309 respondents discussing how enterprises are managing and securing networks across multiple branch locations.

The research also gathered information about enterprises’ plans for deployment of software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) as a solution to WAN management challenges. Security issues and the increasing costs of multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) together result in an ever-larger number of branches vulnerable to cyber attacks and data breaches.

Overall, enterprises reported that managing and securing their networks remained their primary concern, with 68% citing this as their priority for WAN management with complexity being the main driver of that concern.

These concerns have led many enterprises to consider the deployment of SD-WAN, with 85% thinking about implementing SD-WAN as a means to control sprawl and address security concerns. More than 90% of those planning to use SD-WAN will implement it by the end of 2019.

Complexity concerns: For many enterprises surveyed, the complexity of securing and managing branch networks is the primary challenge. These branch locations use Software as a Service (SaaS) and multi-cloud connectivity, each of which requires a direct Internet connection at each branch. In each of these locations, securely managing their network involves purchasing additional security devices and more actively monitoring for threats.

As a result, the provisioning of a new branch location can take weeks and even up to a month or longer to complete. More than half of respondents (54%) indicated that at least one of their branch locations had suffered a breach.

Choosing SD-WAN: Enterprises are turning to SD-WAN to decrease costs, reduce security risks, and limit network sprawl. In fact, there’s a deluge of enterprises interested in deploying SD-WAN, with 93% deploying by 2019. This is a huge increase compared to the 68% which were considering SD-WAN deployment in 2016.

For many enterprises, the ideal answer is an integrated solution with SD-WAN that handles both networking and security, including next-generation firewall capability and malware plus intrusion protection.

Filling in WAN management with managed services: Enterprises often have a skills gap when it comes to using SD-WAN for network management and security. Of the individuals surveyed, 60% indicated a lack of understanding when it comes to SD-WAN features, and 58% cited a lack of qualified personnel to implement the solution. The answer in many situations is managed services.

Managed services can provide integrated network and security management with qualified personnel and the necessary SD-WAN expertise. An astounding 41%  of respondents believe they would save resources by outsourcing WAN management to a services provider.

To learn more about outsourcing your WAN management to a managed services provider, contact Access One. We offer a full range of managed services to help you meet your business objectives.