New to SD-Branch? 8 Things POS Resellers and MSPs Need to Know
The complexities and costs of IT network management and security in retail stores have reached a breaking point. Some could argue we are well past the breaking point already. Today’s point-of-sale (POS) resellers or managed IT service providers (MSPs) are struggling to effectively deploy, manage and secure the network in these branch locations in an efficient and affordable way.
Branch Technology Sprawl
Branch locations of the retail enterprise are more connected than ever and reliant on always-on, secure network performance. Intensified by continual digital transformation, the retail branch WAN has come to include many siloed technology solutions–POS systems, Wi-Fi routers, cellular failover modems, firewalls, switches, digital signage and an array of network-connected IoT devices. This “branch technology sprawl” has resulted in complex, expensive and inflexible infrastructure.
Furthermore, securing this network for optimal uptime and protecting sensitive data in today’s world of POS intrusions has become another layer of complexity. IT organizations have deployed a variety of security point solutions such as next-gen firewalls, VPN, intrusion detection systems, anti-virus and data encryption. These solutions, typically from various vendors, result in both overlaps and gaps in security while creating additional cost and complexity for providers and end users alike.
The Future of Retail IT is SD-Branch
Fortunately, these challenges can be solved, and SD-Branch platforms are becoming the new standard for retail IT network management and security.
Software-defined branch (SD-Branch) is defined as a single hardware platform that enables SD-WAN, network routing, security, WAN optimization, LAN and Wi-Fi functions, cellular failover and virtualized network functions (VNF). SD-Branch converges all these functions into an easy-to-deploy platform that can also be centrally managed via the cloud.
8 Things to Know About SD-Branch
SD-Branch is the closest thing to a “branch network-in-a-box” and offers greatly improved operational agility–driving innovation while reducing risk to the end user. To get started with SD-Branch, it is important to know the following business benefits and selection criteria.
- You can offer rapid deployment to a new location with the plug-and-play edge appliance and remotely provision network services and configurations via the orchestration panel.
- SD-Branch eliminates the need for on-site IT personnel or “truck rolls” for deployments and configurations, resulting in big cost savings to your end users. It also gives them the opportunity to focus resources on higher-value initiatives.
- More and more applications at the branch utilize the Internet instead of expensive MPLS. SD-Branch utilizes SD-WAN architecture to allow each branch to “bring their own broadband” and have the flexibility to choose cheaper connectivity and also integrate security.
- Integrated cellular connectivity for automatic failover ensures the retail branch can operate without interruption during a broadband interruption.
- Some SD-Branch solutions include integrated firewall and VPN security as well as PCI DSS compliance management, which is a must for retail merchants and end users that process credit card transactions.
- Not all SD-Branch use cases are the same. Choose a solution right-sized for your small-to-midsize business (SMB) end users. While some solutions are designed for large branch offices, Netsurion BranchSDO is designed specifically for the needs of small footprint retail branch locations.
- Managed SD-Branch services offer an all-in-one package, but carefully review if the provider can truly deliver the promised synergy. Ask whether the provider owns the edge appliance hardware and orchestration software, and first-hand offers the managed service. Finding a partner that offers this synergy can allow you as the provider to reduce your hardware costs by up to 50 percent.
- Practical and efficient management of a managed branch network usually involves a service provider to help properly manage the service for the end user. Choose a partner that makes the managed aspect of a product easy for you as the provider and your end users.
Contact us to learn more about the Netsurion partner program benefits and our full suite of connectivity, security, and compliance solutions: from the endpoint to the edge.
This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.