Today, businesses in almost every industry must manage more users, devices, mobility, and applications than ever before. Most business applications have moved to the cloud or been replaced by cloud-based SaaS applications. But in the business environment, it’s not just one cloud, it’s many. At the same time, to remain competitive, organizations must control costs and innovate to improve customer service, productivity, and efficiency.

Software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) makes sense because it brings users close to applications in a secure manner. It can help solve many complex enterprise issues that lead to tangible business benefits. Here are five benefits that Cisco customers have experienced with our SD-WAN deployments:

• Five-fold improvement in Office 365 performance for a healthcare company
• Public cloud migration completed in one week (estimated 12 months) for a large tech company
• 100 percent application uptime during hurricane blackouts for a national food distributor
• Four-fold improvement in application latency for a healthcare provider
• $20 million reductions in operating expenses (OpEx) over three years for a retailer1

Meeting New Demands

The networks that served businesses well in the past can no longer meet application performance expectations and access the flexibility and security requirements of today’s cloud-based apps, mobile workforces, and IoT technology.

Although cloud computing is here, traditional network architectures weren’t built to handle cloud workloads. Managing network and security devices at a branch in a multi-cloud era are very challenging for IT staff which can lead to poor economic performance, security exposures, and missed user expectations.

In an age of digital transformation, SD-WAN technology is seen as the next generation of networking solutions. Because it can help businesses increase performance, provide more choice and control, and simplify operations, more enterprises are deploying SD-WAN.

• 95% of enterprises are using or expect to use SD-WAN within 24 months.2
• $10 billion in managed SD-WAN services growth is expected by 2022.3

And it comes with an added benefit of lower costs.1

Managed SD-WAN

SD-WAN technology is easily consumed by a business directly or procured as-a-service from a managed SD-WAN provider like CenturyLink , which adds to the choices for a business. Managed SD-WAN services are typically powered by the same technology that a business might otherwise implement itself. Managed SD-WAN can help you decrease costs, increase profitability, and simplify your operations without sacrificing any visibility and control of your WAN operations.CenturyLink is a Gold Status partner of Cisco and   offers managed SD-WAN services to  our business customers

Managed SD-WAN can offer a predictable application experience and better security than traditional networks. With managed SD-WAN services, you can quickly enable applications on any platform, with consistent, predictable performance. SD-WAN helps you optimize your wide area network, which can result in better experiences for your customers and employees. Without dependable performance, business-critical applications may not necessarily deliver on your customer’s expectations. With managed SD-WAN, you can work with your preferred managed service providers to meet your service level agreements (SLAs) even during link outages and other network events.

Security is Foundational

Many organizations using traditional networks lack unified security that extends from the branch to multiple clouds. When you open up your enterprise to the cloud, your security risks increase substantially with more vulnerable points of attack. When you’re evaluating SD-WAN technologies, ensure that the security architecture is robust, and you can give network access to the right people at the right points in the network. Deployment is simplified with cloud management of networking and security policies. Also, evaluate SD-WAN technologies and their inherent authentication techniques. The preferred technique employs a zero-trust model, which means every component mutually authenticates each other. All edge devices are authorized before they are allowed into the network and every packet is encrypted using SSL and IP Security (IPsec) technologies.

Tangible Benefits that Affect the Bottom Line

It’s easy to see why more organizations are using SD-WAN. And as more employees and customers depend on mobile devices, the need for a flexible, modern network continues to increase. SD-WAN can efficiently provide a high level of optimization and bandwidth, whether at headquarters, at branch offices or at other locations, while significantly lowering costs.

Learn More

Managed SD-WAN based on Cisco solutions provide agility, enhanced user experiences, and advanced threat protection. You can quickly, easily, and cost-effectively develop and deliver improved application experiences to your customers. To learn more:


1. Enterprise Grade SD-WAN At-a-Glance
2. SD-WAN: Security, Application Experience and Operational Simplicity Drive Market Growth, IDC, April 2019.
3. Demand for Managed SD-WAN Services Skyrockets, NetworkWorld from IDG, 2018



Wayne Cullen

Senior Manager, Service Provider Architectures