SD-WAN alone cannot address the networking challenges of digital business

Enterprise IT professionals are turning to managed services for their SD-WAN deployments. At the same time, a new Cato Networks survey finds legacy telco services inadequately address customer expectations around speed, agility, and overall value.

SD-WAN networking challenges

“The digital business demands a faster, more agile network to drive growth and compete effectively in the marketplace. Legacy telcos rely on rigid, fragmented, and expensive bundles of point solutions — an approach incompatible with the digital business. To support digital business transformation, IT needs networks that are natively built with the global reach, self-service, and agility of the cloud,” says Shlomo Kramer, CEO of Cato Networks.

SD-WAN alone cannot address the networking challenges confronting the digital business, pushing respondents to source SD-WANs through service providers:

  • Nearly half of respondents (44%) indicated that they had or were considering deploying SD-WAN within the next 12 months. Last year the number was just over a quarter of respondents.
  • The overwhelming majority of respondents (85%) indicated they would be confronting networking use cases in 2019 ignored or addressed poorly by SD-WAN.
  • 3 out of 4 respondents are sourcing SD-WAN through service providers. Providers are generally better equipped to integrate SD-WAN with other solutions to address broader IT challenges.

Security is essential to WAN transformation and must be considered together with any SD-WAN acquisition:

  • 1 in 2 respondents will need to provide secure Internet access from any location.
  • Defending against malware/ransomware (70%) and enforcing corporate security policies on mobile users (49%) are respondents’ primary security challenges.
  • Nearly half of respondents (45%) pointed to the “cost of buying and managing security appliances and software” as a major security challenge.

With IT tasked with delivering a superb user experience, cost reduction is no longer the primary motivation for SD-WAN:

  • Only 1 in 3 respondents indicated that their motivation for purchasing SD-WAN was to address excessive WAN-related costs.
  • The highest ranked motives for SD-WAN involved improving Internet access (46%), followed by the need for additional bandwidth (39%) and improved last-mile availability (38%).

SD-WAN networking challenges

Legacy telcos are the de facto but not preferred source for network services. Respondents remain dissatisfied with telco agility, velocity, and support:

  • Respondents gave telcos a 54 (out of 100) when asked if they thought network service pricing was fair.
  • On overall experience, telcos scored lower (3.33 out of 5) than cloud application providers (3.70) and cloud datacenter providers (3.71).
  • Only 2% of respondents indicated that telcos exceeded their expectations in delivering new features and enhancements.
  • 46% of respondents reported that moves, adds, and changes (MACs) require at least one business day (8 hours or more).
  • 73% of respondents indicated that deploying new locations required three or more business weeks.

There remains a strong interest in network services with cloud attributes of agility and self-service. Flexible management models are essential to this story:

  • 71% of respondents indicated that telcos take too long to resolve problems.
  • 48% complained about the lack of visibility into telco services.
  • 80% preferred self-service or co-management models instead of full management model required by traditional telcos.