The coronavirus outbreak has thrown the economy into flux, creating changes to entire industries that would have been unpredictable a few months ago. While demand for travel has decreased dramatically, other businesses such as grocery chains, financial services and retailers are under immense pressure to serve customers in new ways. Enterprises with thousands of employees have been forced to work from home on a moment’s notice. For the IT departments powering these industries, SD-WAN will be key in increasing visibility for newly remote companies, ensuring company data is heavily guarded and managing demand for products.
As stay at home orders made their way across the U.S., companies with thousands of employees had to immediately start working from home, many for the first time. In other words, companies were forced to navigate a completely remote workforce with little opportunity to put the infrastructure and tools in place to support its employees. Without adequate time to prepare for a smooth transition, a number of issues arose, such as realizing that IT departments didn’t have insight into the user experience of business applications for their employees’ home networks. As a result, they were unable to monitor performance and usage patterns to anticipate potential issues for employees. IT workers were unable to remotely troubleshoot and fix networking issues, increasing pain points across teams and decreasing overall productivity.
SD-WAN Becomes IT’s Saving Grace
This is where an AI-Driven SD-WAN can play a major role in managing remote enterprise networks to deliver better experiences and ultimately boost productivity. By providing full visibility into what’s happening across the network, AI-driven SD-WAN solutions can ease the burden of a remote workforce by proactivity responding to real-time issues. The sources of problems across the network can be vast. Intelligent SD-WAN systems not only find the root causes of problems, but also provide solutions. This can save IT departments significant time and effort in troubleshooting an issue, improving the remote IT operational experience as well as the employee work from home experience.
Doubling Down on Secure SD-WAN
Security is another network concern that comes into play when employees work from home. There is an overwhelming amount of confidential data flowing across each network, and in this new environment, enterprises must take extra precautions to ensure data is heavily protected. As employees move out of the office, they’re relying more on home and public networks, moving sensitive corporate data to insecure spaces.
IT teams are increasingly relying on SD-WAN to help improve network security by encrypting traffic and segmenting the network to minimize damage if breaches do occur. Secure SD-WAN incorporates security solutions including firewall, anti-spam and web filtering. These solutions work together to prevent remote employees from accidentally leaking data or causing network security disruptions that can affect the rest of the workforce. SD-WAN is critical in improving a company’s overall security posture. By implementing a secure SD-WAN solution, companies can have more peace of mind, and employees can focus on their task at hand.
The Role of SD-WAN in Evolving Supply Chains
As employees spend more time working and living at home, their new consumer behaviors are quickly changing overall demand and forcing supply chains to evolve accordingly. Companies have scrambled to get a handle on their supply chains, and SD-WAN has become a key component in managing the demand for products; by shifting to the cloud and integrating SD-WAN into product inventory, companies can have access to cloud resources to power their inventory systems. For example, by integrating SD-WAN into grocery store chains, individual stores have been able to communicate with each other and support constantly changing customer needs. An increased demand for yeast at one store can be balanced by a decrease in demand in another. Enterprises can use the inventory system to allocate their products accordingly and record patterns to provide restocking guidance that is up to date as consumer behaviors continue to evolve.
The Bottom Line
Ease of management, security and visibility are the key pillars to ensure business continuity for enterprises in a COVID world, and by doubling down on SD-WAN, organizations can benefit from all three.
SD-WAN is quickly becoming the unsung hero in this shift to remote work by giving organizations the network visibility IT managers require as well as extra security precautions that are more critical than ever. And as businesses and our ways of working continue to evolve with the times, SD-WAN will enable employees across organizational networks to communicate safely and securely.