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As network evolution accelerates across organizations, it is up to Fortinet partners and MSSPs to guide their customers through the deployment of SD-WAN and SD-Branch solutions.

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For both enterprises and small and midsize businesses, network evolution has been accelerated through the adoption of cloud-first strategies. This network expansion often happens slowly, without centralized control or secure oversight. In some cases, however, these networks develop quickly, driven by new cloud-enabled strategies such as bring-your-own-device (BYOD), the internet of things (IoT), and software as a service (SaaS). Such rapid expansion generally causes networks to suffer from less centralized control and secure oversight.

As employees seek out the tools and services necessary to stay competitive in the modern digital economy, the rate at which these technologies are being added to your customers’ networks is noteworthy. With this new technology, network traffic increases can be significant, and oftentimes the legacy architectures that exist within the network simply cannot handle the new need for bandwidth. To account for modern, latency-sensitive systems, traditional strategies for handling traffic–ike multiprotocol label switching (MPLS)–must be revised to deliver the performance that today’s digital business environments demand.

How SD-WAN and SD-Branch Aid in Network Evolution

As they face network expansion, your customers must not underestimate the role of software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) and SD-branch solutions. It is expensive to upgrade traditional MPLS systems, and, even when upgraded, these devices do little to simplify operations. For this reason, your customers need an affordable way to update and secure their evolving and distributed networks while also streamlining operations, visibility and control. Your customers need SD-WAN.

Partners and MSSPs have the opportunity to help customers enhance their networks and direct traffic to remote locations and branch offices. With secure SD-WAN solutions, network monitoring becomes centralized, providing network security teams with a more effective way to manage their WAN architecture. SD-branch solutions additionally allow organizations to simplify remote office infrastructure and push security to the edge.

As partners and MSSPs expand their offerings to meet customer needs, it is important to account for the fact that not all SD-WAN solutions offer the same level of performance. In fact, 80% of organizations surveyed report that their SD-WAN solution is difficult to manage, time-consuming and over-complicated.

Seeking out service providers who can facilitate SD-WAN-as-a-service can be a fundamental starting point for businesses looking to adopt new technologies. Fortinet partners and MSSPs can simplify this process by offering a consolidated networking solution as a value-added service to help customers enhance their networks and, further, their business offerings.

Seven Aspects to Consider When Offering SD-WAN and SD-Branch Solutions

More than half of businesses claim to have sought out managed security service providers to assist in the implementation and management of their networks. Below, we’ve provided a checklist to reference when offering these managed services to your customers:

  1. More comprehensive security-Without centralized visibility, network infrastructures can have security gaps that leave businesses at risk of cyberattack. Every SD-WAN solution should feature next-generation firewall (NGFW) integration to mitigate risk and provide comprehensive security while reducing both capital expenditures (CapEx) and operating expenses (OpEx).

  2. Low CapEx and OpEx-SD-WAN and SD-branch solutions should be delivered through one single appliance to eliminate capital expenditures and provide a centralized way to manage network traffic and lower OpEx. When organizations utilize multiple, non-integrated solutions to learn, deploy, configure and manage security, resources get exhausted quickly. This way, customer organizations will not need to acquire additional devices like network firewalls, anti-malware, WAN optimizers and intrusion prevention systems (IPS).

  3. Improved application performance-The challenges presented by current WANs include poor app performance and lengthy downtime, which can impact productivity and business objectives. SD-WAN provides businesses with greater control over WAN operations and more efficient application management across the entire infrastructure. Enterprise application performance can be improved with an SD-WAN solution that provides increased visibility and the ability to quickly shift traffic between MPLS and public cloud connections.

  4. Optimized user experience-Traditional WANs are not cloud-friendly. As new technologies get added to the network, application performance can be impaired, resulting in poor user experience and lost productivity. Your choice of SD-WAN solution should deliver the best possible cloud connectivity to enterprise users. Top-quality, performance-managed SD-WAN solutions deliver optimal performance without compromising security to provide customers with the best user experience possible.

  5. Intelligent visibility and app awareness-SD-Branch solutions should offer end-to-end visibility across remote locations, while also connecting to the centralized business location. Further, any application on the network needs to be intelligently logged, cataloged and prioritized according to bandwidth usage in order to assist with and lessen the burden placed on IT teams.

  6. Enhanced scalability-The SD-WAN solution you offer must be able to scale along with your customers’ businesses. Without sacrificing performance, this solution must still provide built-in encryption inspection and processing capabilities to get the job done and grow with the business.

  7. Heightened compliance-The managed SD-Branch solution you offer your customers should feature centralized and automated logging, auditing and reporting capabilities to save on resources and assist with compliance.

Final Thoughts

MSSPs and partners who offer SD-WAN-as-a-solution services can help their customers leverage new technology and enhance business operations. As organizations watch their networks evolve, it is up to partners and MSSPs to guide their customers and optimize the deployment of SD-WAN and SD-Branch solutions. Fortinet makes it easy for partners to provide the unique, customized solution customers need across branch and remote locations.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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