How Much Does SD-WAN Cost?
SD-WAN Cost Defined
Software-defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) is a virtual networking architecture that delivers faster and more cost-efficient connectivity to branch offices and remote users. By leveraging low-cost, commodity transport services and automatically routing traffic along the most efficient channel, SD-WAN improves the performance of applications and networks while simplifying management and slashing connectivity costs.
SD-WAN costs are determined by a wider range of factors, including the type of deployment, the size of the network, the number of locations to connect, the type and amount of data transiting the network and any existing infrastructure that may be leveraged when deploying an SD-WAN solution.
How Does SD-WAN Work?
SD-WAN is designed to provide better performance at a lower cost than legacy Wide Area Networks (WANs). Traditional WANs are designed to allow users at branch locations to access IT resources and applications hosted within an organization’s data center. The traditional WAN model uses a hub-and-spoke architecture where all traffic is directed through a central data center for robust security inspection.
With the rise of cloud computing, hybrid workforces, IoT networks, BYOD, AI and mobile devices, the traditional WAN architecture is no longer effective at delivering secure, high-speed performance for highly distributed IT environments. The latency introduced from backhauling vast amounts of traffic through a central data center results in degraded performance for networks and applications and poor experiences for users.
SD-WAN architecture offers a better way to connect branch locations and distributed workers. SD-WAN augments the costly MPLS connections of a legacy WAN with various low-cost, commodity transport services like fiber, cable, DSL and LTE. This provides greater redundancy and enables SD-WAN controllers to route traffic over the optimal connection. For example, SD-WAN systems use the fastest connections when routing traffic to business-critical, high-bandwidth applications while sending highly sensitive data over the most secure connections.
Reducing the Cost of Networking with SD-WAN
SD-WAN software helps organizations reduce the cost of networking and connectivity in several ways.
- Lower-cost transport services. The immediate savings from the use of low-cost transport IP-based services can be significant – in some cases, as much as 50 percent of the cost of MPLS connections in a legacy WAN system.
- Centralized management. By enabling IT teams to view activity, configure systems and enforce policy from one central location, SD-WAN reduces the effort and the cost of managing network connectivity.
- Zero-touch provisioning. Administrators can deploy SD-WAN resources quickly and easily without requiring expensive site visits from a technician.
- Device consolidation. Many SD-WAN solutions replace multiple technologies for firewall, routing, WAN optimization and other functions, which lowers costs by reducing complexity and equipment sprawl.
- Maximum utilization. SD-WAN solutions automatically balance workloads and optimize routing to utilize available resources more efficiently.
- Improved security. Secure SD-WAN deployments with an integrated next-generation SD-WAN firewall can help improve security, which prevents breaches that may cost millions of dollars to mitigate and resolve.
Factors Affecting SD-WAN Cost
Determining SD-WAN cost is difficult as there is little standardization within the industry, so SD-WAN cost may be affected by a broad range of factors.
- Type of deployment. SD-WAN may be deployed in several ways, each offering different types of pricing. IT teams may build an SD-WAN solution by installing, managing and monitoring physical or virtual appliances on-premises or in the cloud. Alternately, organizations can access SD-WAN via a managed services offering, where a third-party provider is responsible for the hardware, software, networking and transport services along with the task of monitoring, managing and securing the network while meeting specific SLAs for uptime and performance. SD-WAN as a service is another option, where organizations access SD-WAN capabilities via a SaaS application, and internal IT teams are responsible for monitoring, managing and securing the network.
- The size of the network. The number of data centers, branch locations and anticipated growth will all affect SD-WAN cost.
- Number of locations. SD-WAN costs are also impacted by the number of employees working remotely, the number of mobile employees, the distance between locations and the number of locations that require constant contact with each other.
- Type of data. The amount and speed of data flowing across the network will impact SD-WAN costs as will the format of data and the types of applications that must be prioritized. The amount of sensitive data traversing your network may also affect cost.
- Network infrastructure. Businesses that already leverage cloud applications and infrastructure may be able to deploy SD-WAN more cost efficiently.
- Management costs. While managing SD-WAN is significantly less expensive than managing legacy WAN systems, organizations must still plan for the cost of managing ongoing maintenance and upgrades.
- Resiliency. The more resilience and redundancies required, the higher the SD-WAN cost.
Reduce Costs with SD-WAN from Forcepoint
As a leading SD-WAN company, Forcepoint offers a highly cost-effective solution in FlexEdge Secure SD-WAN. Forcepoint’s solution allows users to easily connect to any application while optimizing performance and enabling administrators to manage the network from a unified console.
When it comes to SD-WAN cost, FlexEdge Secure SD-WAN slashes networking expenses while improving reliability with real-time mixing and matching of local ISP broadband and private MPLS selection.
Forcepoint SD-WAN also enables organizations to:
- Scale easily by activating branches, offices and remote sites from the cloud.
- Improve protection against advanced threats with SD-WAN security functions such as multi-layer inspection, intrusion prevention, DNS sinkholing and more.
- Optimize application usage to ensure mission-critical applications receive the necessary bandwidth to reduce latency and jitter.
- Support SASE initiatives by pairing FlexEdge Secure SD-WAN with Forcepoint ONE, an all-in-one, cloud-native security platform.
- Improve application performance with advanced traffic routing, dynamic link monitoring and detailed application identification.
- Leverage cloud configuration for zero-touch deployment at any location, streamlining policy updates and software upgrades while minimizing administrative burden.
- Accelerate cloud performance by enabling direct-to-site routing between users and applications.