10 Key Factors for Choosing the Best SD-WAN Provider

In today's digital world, business solutions need reliable and secure networks. SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Networking) offers a solution with increased flexibility, security, and performance.

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In the rapidly evolving digital landscape, Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) has become a critical technology for businesses seeking a more agile, reliable, and secure network infrastructure. The current dynamic business models requires flexible and robust network solution to ensure delivering seamless user experiences. SD-WAN revolutionizes network connectivity by offering improved bandwidth utilization, enhanced security features, and simplified management. This empowers organizations to achieve optimal network performance and adapt to changing demands.


Hence, the challenge lies in identifying the best SD-WAN provider in India that aligns with a company’s specific needs. While all providers offer core functionalities, some excel in specific areas like security, cloud integration, or cost-effectiveness. Evaluating a company’s unique requirements and aligning hem with provider strengths is crucial for a successful implementation. Therefore, choosing the right SD-WAN solution and provider is crucial, as it directly has an impact on the network's performance, scalability, and overall effectiveness.

Mapping Your Goals to the Perfect SD-WAN Solution

In today's interconnected world, organizations need robust and secure networks to ensure seamless user experiences. SD-WAN empowers businesses with flexibility, agility, and enhanced security. However, navigating the landscape of SD-WAN providers can be challenging. Partnering with a managed service provider with expertise in distributed networks is crucial. They can ensure optimal performance and scalability as your organization evolves.


When selecting a provider, evaluate your current and future network needs, including bandwidth, traffic patterns, and scalability. Look for a solution that offers comprehensive security features like data encryption, firewalls, and advanced threat protection to safeguard your network and meet regulatory compliance. The top 10 criteria while selecting an SD- WAN vendor is:

1. Experience is the key:

 Choosing an SD-WAN provider in India can be complex due to the sheer number of options.  A seasoned vendor is crucial to managing expectations. They can identify situations where a hybrid network combining SD-WAN and MPLS is the best solution. For instance, some applications require guaranteed low latency and high reliability, which MPLS excels at. An experienced provider will give you councel on these aspects early in the planning stage and may even recommend a hybrid network approach, leveraging both SD-WAN and MPLS for optimal performance. Therefore, while selecting a provider, prioritize those with a proven track record of designing and implementing bespoke solutions for complex enterprise networks. 


2. Solution capabilities

An SD-WAN solution should deliver advanced traffic management, multi-cloud support, real-time monitoring. These capabilities, including real-time traffic rerouting, failover, centralized management, and application-aware routing, are crucial for optimizing network performance, security, and resource allocation. Visibility and real-time monitoring stand out as critical components as they empower network administrators with the ability to oversee network performance and security across all endpoints and paths in real-time.

3. Credibility and technical capability:


It is important to evaluate a SD-WAN provider's reputation, technical expertise, and global reach. Look for a strong track record, positive customer testimonials, and a team with experience supporting complex multi-cloud ecosystems across diverse regions. Their ability to provide local support alongside centralized monitoring and automation demonstrates a strong technical foundation.

4. Processes and methodologies:

It is crucial to consider a SD-WAN provider's implementation approach, focusing on customization, clear SLAs, and effective incident management. A strong methodology includes tailored integration strategies to minimize disruption, well-defined service level agreements (SLAs) with clear performance metrics and guarantees, and robust processes for quick issue identification, resolution, and escalation. Leading providers leverage advanced tools, such as AI/ML, to handle the vast amount of data generated by SD-WAN connectivity and provide proactive alerts.


5. Focus on security:

Leading SD-WAN providers go beyond built-in security features by offering tailored solutions designed to safeguard network integrity and data privacy. This may include Zero Trust models, which eliminate inherent trust within the network, or Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture, combining network security and WAN functionalities for secure cloud access. They leverage advanced security frameworks, such as Zero Trust models, which operate on the principle that no entity within or outside the network is trusted by default.

6. Flexibility and scalability:


The effectiveness of your SD-WAN solution hinges not only on its scalability but also on its capacity to integrate seamlessly with new and emerging technologies. It should adapt to your evolving needs, whether that's next-generation firewalls, advanced analytics, or AI-driven automation.

7. Avoid Vendor Lock-In: Embrace Choice

Ensure your organization isn't restricted to a single vendor's ecosystem. A vendor-agnostic approach allows you to integrate best-in-class solutions from various providers. This flexibility empowers you to adapt to changing business needs without being locked into specific technologies that might hinder future growth.  Here's why it matters:


· Future-proofs your investment: You're not limited by a single vendor's roadmap. You can choose solutions that evolve with your needs.

· Encourages competition: Vendor-agnosticism fosters competition, leading to better service offerings and pricing models.

8. On-demand support and post-deployment management:

A SD-WAN provider who offer comprehensive support, including 24/7 access to specialists for prompt issue resolution and ongoing network optimization should be chosen. This level of support is critical for maintaining the reliability, efficiency, and security of your SD-WAN deployment and reducing downtime.

9. Cost considerations:

Evaluate the cost implications, including capital expenditure (Capex), operational expenditure (Opex), and the potential return on investment (ROI), to ensure the solution aligns with your budgetary constraints. It is crucial to audit the financial aspects of SD-WAN implementation at the initial stages itself.

10. Choose a proven partner:

It is crucial to Choose a Proven partner as this is a pivotal step in future-proofing your network infrastructure, by being equipped with the knowledge and criteria. While consulting with potential vendors, the company’s specific needs must be clearly discussed. Henceforth, it is important to consider proven managed SD-WAN providers, who have demonstrated success in implementing SD-WAN solutions across diverse industries.

By investing in a proven partner, you ensure the long-term success of your network and empower your organization to thrive in the digital landscape.

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By Harsha Ram, Head of Network Business, Sify Technologies