Business is moving to the cloud and there is more than one way for it to get there.

The choice of direction for organisations shouldn’t be an agonising weigh-up of costs and risks, but it often is. One of the key changes in modern business is the emergence of a software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) or cloud managed network as a way to take your wide area network (WAN) set up into the cloud.

Traditional WAN architecture cannot meet the demands of the modern online business, yet many organisations are still suffering because they are hesitant to take their first steps toward digital transformation.

With the rise in network-intense, data-heavy applications like video calling, it can be a challenge to iteratively upgrade components of a traditional WAN to cope with new capacity demands – not to mention the evolving security threats facing IT systems today.

What is the best solution?

Partnering with a service provider to move to the cloud and to an SD-WAN solution is the best way to face these challenges head on and tap into their expertise.

It is possible to upgrade a traditional WAN to route cloud traffic from various locations to a central hub for distribution, but it is no longer the preferred option.

The modern applications businesses rely on 24/7 to stay online need the capacity and flexibility afforded by a cloud managed network, whose scalable architecture intelligently manages application traffic to respond to network demand. This means you don’t have to waste money allocating network resources ‘just in case’.

The inherent scalability of cloud-based services results in a more cost-effective network that is ultimately more resilient simply due to the nature of its modern design. Gone are the bandwidth issues plaguing the old WANs trying to keep up with modern applications.

No matter the size and scope of your organisation, you will rightly want to leave your IT team with as much time as possible to focus on your ongoing transformation projects. By modernising the core of your network and moving to a cloud managed network, your team won’t have to worry about daily performance and reliability.

Ensuring you achieve these benefits is the responsibility of a service provider, who will also have service level agreements in place with you that it must contractually meet when it comes to network quality and baseline application performance

What are the benefits?

With all this worry off your plate, it is much easier for your employees to get on with their jobs, relying on the expertise of your provider to keep the network ticking over.

That network will tick over more reliably in an SD-WAN environment with lower latency and optimised application performance.

Intelligent use of cloud services to deliver the business needs of enterprise networks is inherently flexible, too. A cloud managed network makes it far quicker and easier to adopt new emerging cloud technologies as and when they are needed down the line, rather than trying to bolt a siloed service onto a legacy network setup.

Think of it as being able to add more planes to a fleet rather than trying to fix one ageing plane in mid-air.

With those new technologies will come more and more data – data that needs storing securely, processing and reporting on.

Real-time visibility of your network through a cloud management system is another key benefit, with granular views of device status, application usage, and other key metrics. This virtualisation offers your business the tools it needs to continuously optimise the network by surfacing issues and letting you deal with them quickly.

There are thousands of ways to do business, but the reality is there is only one route to digital transformation, and that is with cloud architecture.

A cloud managed network using SD-WAN is the most effective way to bring your traditional WAN into the cloud, allowing you to continue to serve your customers while setting yourself up for the next decade of technological change.