Do IT Pros Have the Skills to Deploy SD-WAN?

A new survey by Masergy says no, and lists security/skills gaps as reasons why

Do IT Pros Have the Skills to Deploy SD-WAN?

SD-WAN technology has been around since the early 2000s. One of the many reasons it remains popular is because it enables companies to create higher-performance wide area networks at a reduced cost. The point of the technology is to permit enterprises of all sizes to extend their networks to accommodate virtual employees as well as global office expansion. SD-WAN even assists in connecting data centers and delivering fast yet reliable services that empower businesses to function at a higher level.

This includes video conferencing, video streaming, and virtualized applications delivered through UCaaS and SaaS models, both popular in the land of UC. Along with a boost to these components, setup is also simple via SD-WAN. For all its benefits, there remain a few barriers to entry for enterprises that embrace SD-WAN.

IT pros don’t feel they have what it takes

A recent market trends survey by Masergy highlights security and ‘skills gaps’ as top obstacles and major drivers of why enterprises aren’t deploying SD-WAN technology more rapidly.

This isn’t the first time Masergy’s conducted this kind of survey. They did the same in 2017, in cooperation with IDG Research where the duo also analyzed responses from IT decision makers across several industries. Its most recent survey is no different and found that 50 percent of the challenge in deploying WAN is security, with 81 percent of companies using it as a guiding factor when selecting SD-WAN.

Nearly 50 percent of respondents felt they didn’t have the necessary skills to deploy SD-WAN although concerns regarding interoperability with existing WANs were less prevalent than discovered in 2017, according to the updated survey. Masergy CEO, James Parker, said:

“Our survey validates the growing maturity of SD-WAN solutions.”

“IT leaders are tasked with transforming their business through cloud-based applications and emerging technologies, but these pivots introduce a new level of complexity that can be daunting for network and security teams”

Optimizing networks to support cutting-edge technology is likely the most prominent goal of the 2019 survey. Most participants found security presented the greatest hurdle to WAN, far outweighing concerns associated with costs. Furthermore, managing several users, devices, and locations also proved to be a point of contention for respondents.

Other pre-eminent findings

  • Optimizing networks to support cutting-edge technologies was high, some 61 percent of survey participants stated
  • SD-WAN adoption rates increased from 35 percent to 54 percent over the past two years, with 90 percent of respondents researching, planning to upgrade to, or currently using SD-WAN
  • Network management simplification (46 percent) remained the top ‘expected benefit’ of SD-WAN adoption, while the top three expected business benefits of SD-WAN included increased efficiency, improved security, and savings

With experience will come confidence

As IT pros struggle to keep up with the skills required to execute such advantageous technology, this survey sheds some light on the status quo and how IT pros see themselves in the grander scheme of things. Once they gain the experience and confidence to incorporate SD-WAN into work environments, we stand to witness major upgrades in the way we communicate across business communications channels.


Got a comment?

Avatarjoel stradling 19:34, 21 Jul 2019

Great article Moshe, thanks. There are a number of themes that arise from this. The first being that a robust SD-WAN service should give the end customer a service wrap previously unheard of in the physical hardware world, and by that I mean self-serve, zero-touch, and an interface that allows really flexible bandwidth allocation and add/drop users according to policy. Secondly SD-WAN gives IT teams the opportunity to freely spin up VNFs. So my opinion here is that for the deployment phase yes I agree a proven expert is needed, and Masergy has qualifications for this in spade-loads. For ongoing solution management and SD-WAN administration, then we (Clavem Research) think that SD-WAN services should extend self-management capabilities that entry-level IT administrators can use to flex and adjust a powerful new networking reality (minus the fuddle of manual CLI scripting for each and every end point).

Reply to this comment
  • Moshe BeaufordMoshe Beauford 09:52, 22 Jul 2019

    Good morning, Joel,

    Thanks for your comments. These are some fantastic considerations regarding ongoing management and self service.

    Reply to this thread

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