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Survey: Security Tops Benefits of SD-WAN Managed Services

Kelsey Kusterer Ziser
11/7/2019

Improved security ranked as the primary benefit of SD-WAN managed services over traditional networking in a report published today by the industry analyst group Futuriom.

Over 60% of 121 enterprise survey respondents listed "better security" as a primary driver for managed SD-WAN services; 52% selected improved cloud application performance and 41% listed ease of use/management as primary benefits for managed SD-WAN. In addition, 38% of respondents said security is the most important feature when considering a SD-WAN managed service, over reliability (30%), cost (20%) and ease of use/installation (12%). The survey was completed by 121 respondents from director-level and above job roles in networking and IT management.

John Isch, practice director of the Network and Voice Center of Excellence for Orange Business Services, recently told Light Reading that initial conversations with customers on SD-WAN focused on cost savings, but today enterprises are demanding improved application performance and user experience.

"The reason [customers are] going down this road is the cloud -- they need a more efficient way to deal with cloud traffic in their network and SD-WAN is an efficient way to do that," said Isch in a recent interview with Light Reading. "However, changing access is a security question so we have to have that security conversation early on."

Of the deployment options for SD-WAN -- DIY, managed or co-managed -- Futuriom's data said the managed and co-managed approaches are gaining traction in the market.

"Co-managed solutions are becoming more popular," wrote Scott Raynovich, founder and principal analyst for Futuriom, in the report. "In the co-management model, the service provider gives the customer the SD-WAN platform but allows them to manage key applications and network connections with a network portal. Futuriom sees this model building momentum as it combines the best of both worlds."

Both service providers and their customers are favoring managed and co-managed services – this trend is driven by "end-users' interest in ease of use and cloud management," adds Raynovich. Nearly a third of survey respondents have an SD-WAN managed service and 45% are seeking to purchase or build one.

Orange's John Isch echoed the growing popularity of the co-managed approach to SD-WAN among the service provider's customers in a recent podcast with Light Reading.

"We're looking at SD-WAN as a way to 'co-innovate' with customers," Orange's Isch told Light Reading. "This has been much more collaborative with our customers to your point that customers are finding out this is more complicated [than expected]. We ask, 'What's your pain point, and how can we fix it?' All our SD-WAN deployments to date have been opportunities for co-innovation."

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— Kelsey Kusterer Ziser, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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