April 16, 2024

Managed SDWAN Service vs In-House SDWAN Deployment

8 min read
Discover the key differences between a managed SDWAN service and an in-house SDWAN deployment.
Two networks

Two networks

In today’s highly connected business landscape, network performance and security are critical to the success of any organization. With the rise of cloud computing and remote workforces, traditional WAN solutions are struggling to cope with the increased demand for bandwidth and flexible connectivity options. This is where SDWAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network) comes in – a revolutionary technology that has transformed the way businesses manage their networks.

What is SDWAN and why is it important for modern businesses?

SDWAN is a virtual architecture that allows organizations to leverage multiple networking technologies (such as MPLS, broadband, and cellular) to deliver fast, secure, and reliable connectivity to their remote sites and workers. SDWAN offers a range of benefits, including:

  • Improved performance: SDWAN optimizes traffic routing to ensure the fastest and most efficient delivery of data, even over congested networks.
  • Enhanced security: SDWAN can use automated policies and encryption to protect data in transit, reducing the risk of cyber-attacks.
  • Cost savings: By utilizing multiple network connections, SDWAN can significantly reduce bandwidth costs, improving ROI.
  • Flexibility: SDWAN allows businesses to quickly scale their networks up or down to meet changing demands, without the need for hardware upgrades or reconfigurations.

Given the critical importance of network performance and security, it’s no surprise that businesses are increasingly turning to SDWAN to manage their networks. However, the next question is whether to opt for managed SDWAN services or in-house deployment?

Managed SDWAN services are provided by third-party vendors who take care of the deployment, management, and maintenance of the SDWAN infrastructure. This option is ideal for businesses that lack the necessary expertise or resources to manage their SDWAN networks in-house. Managed SDWAN services also offer the benefit of 24/7 support and monitoring, ensuring that any issues are quickly resolved.

On the other hand, in-house deployment of SDWAN requires businesses to have the necessary technical expertise and resources to manage and maintain the infrastructure. This option offers greater control and customization of the SDWAN network, but it also requires a significant investment in hardware, software, and personnel. In-house deployment may be more suitable for larger organizations with complex networking needs.

Pros and cons of managed SDWAN services

Managed SDWAN services are typically provided by third-party vendors who oversee the deployment, management, and maintenance of the SDWAN solution. Here are some of the pros and cons of managed SDWAN services:

Pros:

  • Expertise: Managed SDWAN providers typically have more experience and expertise in deploying and managing SDWAN solutions, which can result in faster adoption and better results.
  • Support: Managed SDWAN services come with dedicated support teams that can help businesses troubleshoot issues and ensure that the network is operating smoothly.
  • Ease of deployment: Managed SDWAN services can be deployed quickly and easily, with little disruption to existing network infrastructure.
  • Scalability: Managed SDWAN services can easily scale up or down to meet the changing needs of the business.

Cons:

  • Limited control: With managed services, businesses may have less control over the network configuration and may need to rely on the provider’s expertise, which could lead to less customization and flexibility.
  • Cost: Managed SDWAN services typically involve recurring costs that can add up over time, including licensing fees, hardware costs, and ongoing maintenance and support fees.
  • Dependency: Businesses that opt for managed services may become overly dependent on their provider and may be vulnerable to service disruptions or outages caused by the provider’s issues.
  • Security concerns: Some businesses may be wary of trusting a third-party provider with sensitive data, which could lead to security concerns.

Despite the advantages of managed SDWAN services, there are some potential drawbacks that businesses should consider before making a decision. One of the main concerns is the lack of transparency in the management of the network. Businesses may not have access to the same level of visibility and control over their network as they would with an in-house solution.

Another potential issue is the risk of vendor lock-in. Once a business has committed to a managed SDWAN service, it may be difficult to switch to a different provider or to bring the management of the network back in-house. This can limit the business’s options and flexibility in the long term.

Pros and cons of in-house SDWAN deployment

In-house SDWAN deployment involves the organization deploying the solution using its own resources, staff, and equipment. Here are some of the pros and cons of in-house SDWAN deployment:

Pros:

  • Control: In-house SDWAN deployment gives businesses more control over the network configuration, enabling them to customize and optimize the network to meet their specific needs and requirements.
  • Cost savings: In-house deployment can be more cost-effective in the long run, as businesses can avoid recurring service fees and hardware costs.
  • Security: By keeping the network in-house, businesses can reduce the risk of security breaches or data leaks, as they have more control over who can access the network and how it is secured.
  • Flexibility: In-house deployment allows businesses to have more flexibility in terms of managing and scaling their networks as they see fit.

Cons:

  • Expertise: In-house deployment requires businesses to have the expertise and resources to deploy and manage the SDWAN solution, which could lead to longer deployment times and higher costs.
  • Support: Businesses may need to allocate internal resources to troubleshoot and resolve network issues, which could create additional costs and time demands.
  • Scalability: In-house deployment may be more challenging to scale up or down as quickly as needed, especially if the business has limited resources or staffing.
  • Upgrades: Businesses may need to invest in additional hardware and software upgrades over time, which could be costly and disruptive.

Another advantage of in-house SDWAN deployment is that it allows businesses to have complete control over the network’s performance and reliability. This is particularly important for businesses that rely heavily on their network infrastructure to support critical applications and services.

However, one potential drawback of in-house deployment is that businesses may need to invest in additional training and development for their IT staff to ensure they have the necessary skills and expertise to manage the SDWAN solution effectively. This could be a significant expense, particularly for smaller businesses with limited resources.

Cost comparison between managed SDWAN services and in-house deployment

When it comes to costs, there are several factors to consider, including the upfront costs, ongoing maintenance costs, and licensing fees. In the case of in-house deployment, businesses will need to factor in the cost of purchasing and maintaining the necessary hardware and software licenses, as well as the cost of staffing and training internal employees to manage the network. In contrast, managed SDWAN services will typically involve recurring fees, such as license and maintenance costs, but may be more cost-effective in the long run due to the reduced need for internal resources.

Factors to consider when choosing between managed SDWAN services and in-house deployment

When deciding between managed SDWAN services and in-house deployment, businesses need to consider several factors, including network complexity, existing infrastructure, staffing and expertise, budget, and long-term business goals. For example, businesses with limited internal IT resources or those with complex network needs may benefit from opting for managed SDWAN services, while businesses with existing IT infrastructure and expertise may prefer in-house deployment to maintain more control over the network.

How managed SDWAN services can improve network performance and security

Managed SDWAN services offer several benefits in terms of network performance and security, including:

  • Optimized traffic routing: Managed SDWAN providers use sophisticated traffic management techniques to ensure the network is operating at peak performance, even during periods of high traffic or congestion.
  • Centralized management: Managed SDWAN services enable businesses to manage their networks from a centralized location, reducing overall management overhead and boosting efficiency.
  • Improved security: Managed SDWAN providers can implement advanced security features, such as encryption and VPN, to protect data in transit and minimize the risk of cyber-attacks.

The benefits of in-house SDWAN deployment for businesses

In-house deployment can offer several benefits, including:

  • Greater control: In-house deployment enables businesses to have more control over the network configuration, making it easier to customize and optimize the network to meet specific business needs.
  • Reduced costs: In-house deployment can be more cost-effective in the long run, as businesses can avoid recurring service fees and hardware costs.
  • Security: By keeping the network in-house, businesses can reduce the risk of security breaches or data leaks, as they have more control over who can access the network and how it is secured.

Case study: Successful implementation of managed SDWAN services

A large enterprise organization with multiple remote offices and a highly mobile workforce opted for managed SDWAN services to improve network performance and security. The managed SDWAN solution enabled the business to achieve faster download and upload speeds, reduced latency, and improved voice quality, while also enabling advanced security features such as VPN and encryption. The business was able to reduce costs and improve productivity by leveraging the managed SDWAN provider’s expertise.

Case study: Successful implementation of in-house SDWAN deployment

A small business with limited IT resources and budget opted for in-house SDWAN deployment to improve network performance and security. The business was able to leverage its existing IT infrastructure and expertise, enabling it to deploy the SDWAN solution quickly and cost-effectively. In-house deployment also enabled the business to have greater control over the network configuration, making it easier to customize and optimize the network to meet specific business needs.

Choosing the right vendor for managed SDWAN services

Choosing the right managed SDWAN vendor is critical to the success of any implementation. Businesses should evaluate vendors based on factors such as industry experience, expertise, service level agreements, security measures, and support. Businesses may also consider evaluating multiple vendors and conducting a trial period to identify the best fit for their specific business needs.

Best practices for implementing in-house SDWAN deployment

Implementing in-house SDWAN deployment requires careful planning and execution. Businesses should consider factors such as network complexity, staffing and expertise, hardware and software requirements, and security measures. Best practices for successful in-house deployment include thorough planning, testing, and training, as well as ongoing maintenance and support.

How to evaluate the success of your managed SDWAN service or in-house deployment

Businesses should regularly evaluate the success of their SDWAN solution to ensure that it is meeting their business needs and goals. Metrics to consider include network performance, security, cost-effectiveness, scalability, and ease of management. Businesses may also seek feedback from end-users to identify areas for improvement and optimization.

Future trends in SDWAN technology and its impact on businesses

SDWAN technology is evolving rapidly, with new advancements in areas such as AI, automation, and cloud integration. These advancements are likely to transform the way that businesses manage and optimize their networks, enabling greater agility, security, and scalability. Businesses should stay up-to-date with the latest trends and developments in SDWAN technology to ensure that they are leveraging the most advanced capabilities to achieve their business objectives.

Conclusion: Which option is best for your business – Managed SDWAN Service or In-House Deployment?

Choosing between managed SDWAN services and in-house deployment is a complex decision that requires careful consideration of factors such as network needs, staffing and expertise, budget, and long-term business goals. While both options offer benefits and drawbacks, the ultimate choice will depend on the specific needs and priorities of the business. Businesses may opt for managed SDWAN services to leverage the expertise and support of third-party vendors, or in-house deployment to maintain greater control over the network configuration and reduce costs. Whichever option businesses choose, it’s critical to evaluate the success of the SDWAN solution regularly and stay up-to-date with advancements in SDWAN technology to ensure that they are achieving optimal performance, security, and cost-effectiveness.

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