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At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) vendors witnessed a surge in demand for SD-WAN technology to extend to remote workers. The business case for doing so is solid. As businesses across industries are embracing the public cloud to host key applications, and with advances in residential broadband and wireless speeds, remote workers can access most enterprise applications from home.
While WAN technology is evolving into a software-centric approach (thanks to SDN, NFV, and SD-WAN) to support distributed users and applications, security has remained largely centralized. Today, employees, partners, and contractors have the ability to access enterprise applications from anywhere around the globe. Security administrators must keep track of users’ locations and the applications they are accessing, monitor the performance and quality of experience for those applications, and secure them. Traditional infrastructure-based security concentrated in company headquarters is not sufficient when business applications are deployed across multiple clouds.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the value of cloud and connectivity to ensure business continuity. Frost & Sullivan expects cloud adoption to increase in the next 5 years, thus driving demand for SD-WAN solutions. While most SD-WAN vendors have had cloud on-ramp connectivity to public cloud for a while, in 2020 vendors integrated their solutions with Azure virtual WAN, Amazon Transit Network Gateway, and Google Cloud Hub to optimize enterprise cloud connectivity. In the 2021 Frost & Sullivan Global WAN Virtualization Trends end-user survey, IT decision makers listed virtual network services as the third-most important technology trend of priority for the next 24 months.
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