SD-WAN as a Service

SD-WAN, or Software-defined wide-area networking, implements a corporate Wide Area Network (WAN) by creating a logical overlay on top of physical networks. This enables organizations to securely route their network traffic between various on-premises and cloud-based solutions. SD-WAN as a Service is a managed SD-WAN offering. Like other “as a Service” solutions, SD-WAN as a Service is a cloud-based service offered under a consumption-based model.

When evaluating SD-WAN service providers, it’s important to consider an organization’s network and security needs. A managed SD-WAN offering should incorporate both network optimization and enterprise-grade network security.

Learn More SD-WAN Buyer’s Guide

SD-WAN as a Service vs. On-Prem

SD-WAN is designed to optimally and securely route network traffic between SD-WAN points of presence (PoPs). These PoPs may be connected via various transport media and will route network traffic based on corporate policies and the health of the network links.

SD-WAN as a Service (SD-WANaaS) and on-prem deployments differ in how they architect this network of SD-WAN PoPs. Some of the main differences include:

  • SD-WAN Appliances: In an on-prem deployment, an organization may deploy a mix of physical and virtualized SD-WAN appliances in on-prem and cloud-based infrastructure. A managed service will implement SD-WAN functionality in a cloud-native form factor.
  • Network Infrastructure: On-prem SD-WAN PoPs are commonly connected over the public Internet, which offers limited reliability and performance. SD-WAN as a Service may be linked by dedicated, optimized network infrastructure.
  • Deployment and Management: With an on-prem deployment, an organization is likely responsible for deploying and configuring its SD-WAN solutions. With an SD-WAN as a Service, the service provider does much of the work.

Benefits of SD-WAN as a Service

SD-WAN as a Service offers an alternative to on-prem SD-WAN deployments. Some of the benefits of managed SD-WAN include the following:

  • Reduced Cost: This solution is commonly used to replace expensive MPLS links and is available under a consumption-based model. This can make it a cheaper alternative to other means of implementing a secure corporate WAN.
  • Simplified Management: Managed SD-WAN is designed to leave most of the management responsibility with the service provider. Customers solely need to link the service to their environments and appropriately configure some settings.
  • Cloud-Native Design: SD-WAN network as a Service offerings are implemented using cloud-native PoPs. This allows them to take advantage of the benefits of the cloud (flexibility, scalability, etc.) and enables them to be located near an organization’s expanding cloud infrastructure.
  • Global Reach: SD-WANaaS providers commonly have globally distributed PoPs. This reduces network latency for remote workers or distributed cloud infrastructure connecting to the nearest PoP.
  • Service-Level Agreements (SLAs): Managed SD-WAN services are commonly backed by SLAs. This ensures a certain level of performance and reliability that may not be guaranteed with an on-prem deployment.

Choosing the Right Deployment Option for Your Business

Organizations have multiple options for deploying SD-WAN functionality. These range from a fully in-house DIY deployment to taking advantage of a managed offering under a service-based model.

The right deployment option for an organization depends on the company’s resources and networking needs. For a small organization with limited network and security resources in-house, a managed service provides the network performance and security that the company needs without the overhead of an on-prem SD-WAN deployment. SD-WANaaS can also benefit organizations with large, complex cloud deployments for which designing and implementing an SD-WAN architecture would be a significant challenge.

In contrast, a larger organization with highly specific network and security needs may be better served by an on-prem deployment. Implementing the SD-WAN networking and security functionality in-house enables a networking team to customize the deployment to the organization’s IT architecture and security and regulatory requirements.

SD-WAN with Check Point

SD-WAN deployments provide organizations with the ability to implement a secure corporate WAN over existing physical infrastructure. Traffic flowing between SD-WAN PoPs flows over a virtualized network and is protected en route.

However, SD-WAN solutions do not natively inspect and secure the traffic that flows over them. With network optimization, corporate network traffic may not flow through the headquarters network or corporate data center where it can be inspected and secured against potential threats. Securing corporate communications over an SD-WAN architecture requires SD-WAN solutions with integrated SD-WAN security functionality. Learn more about SD-WAN best practices in this buyer’s guide to SD-WAN.

Check Point offers multiple solutions for companies looking to implement SD-WAN without sacrificing network security. To learn more about Check Point Quantum SD-WAN, sign up for the Early Availability Program.

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