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Research shows that enterprises have accelerated WAN transformation during the pandemic to help business continuity

Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) has released a new research report ‘Enterprise WAN Transformation: SD-WAN, SASE, and the Pandemic’. This shows that enterprises are transforming their wide-area networks (WANs) to improve security, network visibility, and application performance. The pandemic has encouraged many enterprises to accelerate that transformation for business continuity reasons, according to the report.

Wide-area networks (WAN) have gone through profound transformation over the last six years. Cloud services have been a major driver of this change, as has the emergence of the Internet as a source of affordable, high-bandwidth WAN connectivity. In the middle of the last decade, software-defined WAN (SD-WAN) technology emerged to enable this transformation.

"The majority of enterprises accelerated SD-WAN-based transformation during the pandemic, according to our report," said Shamus McGillicuddy, vice president of research, covering network management at EMA. "IT organizations believe SD-WAN can protect business continuity during a public health crisis through improved network security, enhanced network visibility, and optimized application performance."

EMA's WAN transformation research examines all aspects of SD-WAN projects, from procurement preferences and architectural choices to network operations strategies. For instance, EMA found that IT organizations need more operational visibility in SD-WAN, despite the fact that SD-WAN solutions offer strong native monitoring capabilities. 91 percent of network teams supplement native SD-WAN visibility with third-party monitoring tools. The research also found that using third-party monitoring tools with SD-WAN is a best practice. Finally, the research reveals that 73 percent of IT organizations are engaged with secure access service edge (SASE), a unified and centrally managed combination of SD-WAN, cloud-based security, and secure remote access solutions. However, only 10 percent of companies claim to have fully implemented a SASE solution. Many are still researching and evaluating the technology.

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