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What you need to know about managed SD-WAN services

This guide offers easy access to information on five major topics related to managed SD-WAN services and directs you toward the latest advice, tips and recommendations.

Prepare yourselves. Managed SD-WAN services are reaching their teen years and are now on the cusp of disruption, discovery and, hopefully, maturity.

As managed SD-WAN services have developed, they've become a valuable option for enterprise customers. Many service providers have made moves to join the managed SD-WAN party, as evidenced by the blossoming partnerships between service providers and SD-WAN vendors.

For anyone looking for more details about managed SD-WAN services, this compilation of expert tips and advice can provide some sage guidance on the topic.

What is a managed SD-WAN service?

Maybe you're a bit late to the party and aren't exactly sure what the managed SD-WAN trend is all about. In this expert answer, John Burke, research analyst at Nemertes Research, introduced SD-WAN technology and explained the advent of managed SD-WAN services.

Burke touched on the benefits of SD-WAN and discussed the advantages of choosing managed services over do-it-yourself SD-WAN. One major reason to choose managed SD-WAN: It can free up IT teams to work on other things, instead of managing connectivity and network infrastructure.

Take a look at Burke's answer to learn more about how managed SD-WAN works.

When to consider managed SD-WAN services

How do you know if managed SD-WAN will work for you? Each enterprise has a unique WAN design and accompanying business requirements, and a migration to a new technology might seem daunting.

For organizations already outsourcing WAN management, making the transition to managed SD-WAN is a plausible next step, according to Burke. But a key driver for managed SD-WAN services is the ability for IT teams to hand off management -- and many of the associated challenges that can pop up -- to a service provider.

Read more of Burke's thoughts on what to evaluate about managed SD-WAN.

How to choose a managed service provider for SD-WAN

So, you're thinking about going with managed SD-WAN? The next step is whittling down the long list of available service providers to the candidates that intrigue you. To do this, you need to determine your organization's business priorities to make sure the prospective managed service providers have approaches that align with your requirements.

In this tip, Burke identified some of the pivotal priorities and factors in determining which managed service providers can help your organization deploy managed SD-WAN services. These strategies include everything from security and support to service-level agreements and future network plans.

Consider Burke's steps for choosing a managed service provider

What questions should you ask about managed SD-WAN services?

Now that you've zeroed in on some managed SD-WAN service providers, you face the challenge of selecting the right one. To help you along the way, Lee Doyle, principal analyst at Doyle Research, offered a list of questions you can ask your service-provider candidates to help you make the right choice.

As with any choice, there are pros and cons to selecting a service provider partner. Ask providers questions about their connectivity options for SaaS and cloud-based applications, the reliability of their managed SD-WAN service and options for on-demand bandwidth.

Their answers -- and your organization's needs -- will point toward your No. 1 choice.

See the questions Doyle suggested enterprises ask potential managed service providers.

Tips for moving to a new managed SD-WAN service provider

If your current managed SD-WAN service provider isn't working out, there's no need to remain in a bad relationship. Instead, determine what went wrong and start planning the transition to a new provider. Once you've settled on a new provider, Burke recommended establishing the policies for the environment, then phasing in the new connectivity and service.

Explore Burke's ideas on how to move away from an existing managed SD-WAN service provider.

This was last published in July 2018

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