Ten Essential WAN Evaluation Criteria

November 30th, 2016

A growing number of organizations are beginning to look beyond technical criteria when selecting a WAN solution, emphasizing additional attributes that will ensure that their WAN is designed to be outcome driven and is as agile as the business.

To ensure that the WAN has the same ability to support business initiatives as does the rest of IT, network organizations should use the following ten criteria to evaluate WAN solutions:

  1. Robust

    If the WAN link into a branch office, store or restaurant isn’t available, then many of the business functions performed at that facility come to a halt. Because of that, one evaluation criterion is that WAN solutions must be robust.

  2. Swift and effective troubleshooting

    Just as important as having a robust WAN solution is having a WAN that performs well under all conditions. To ensure high performance, the WAN solution and its service provider must have the capability of swiftly troubleshooting problems.

  3. Rapid deployment and change management

    Partially driven by the movement to implement digital business initiatives, the pace of organizational change is accelerating. In order to not impede what the business is trying to accomplish, WAN solutions must be capable of being rapidly deployed and modified.

  4. Programmability

    In order to eliminate the time consuming tasks that are associated with traditional networks and hence be able to support business initiatives in a timely fashion, it must be possible for organizations to log onto a portal and have fully-featured WAN services that can be downloaded onto commodity hardware.

  5. Effective security

    The security challenges that companies face will only get more challenging over time and a security strategy that is focused entirely on the perimeter of the organization is doomed to failure. As such, a WAN solution must complement a company’s existing security solutions while adding significantly to the company’s overall security posture.

  6. Risk mitigation

    In addition to providing effective security, there are a number of other ways that a WAN solution can help to mitigate business risk, such as enabling effective business continuity and disaster recovery processes. However, in order to not increase business risk, the WAN solution must not rely on scarce human resources.

  7. Optimization

    While not always a requirement, there are some instances in which it’s important for the WAN solution to provide optimization functionality. One example is having optimization capabilities that enable the transmission of large files associated with a company’s business continuity and disaster recovery processes.

  8. Skills requirements

    The skills necessary to plan, design, implement and manage a next generation WAN solution are scarce. The lack of network and security expertise within an IT organization can result in WAN solutions not being implemented and managed appropriately, putting the company and its business’s requirements at risk. It may also add to the company’s security exposure.

  9. End-to-end user experience

    A WAN solution must enable an acceptable end-to-end user experience along three key dimensions: performance, security and management. This is particularly challenging for companies that have a global footprint.

  10. Cost effective

    Even when faced with dramatic changes in business and technology, the importance of some evaluation criteria remain constant. One such criteria is that WAN solutions need to be cost effective.

Given the growing importance of a modern network that supports organizations’ digital transformation initiatives, it’s essential to factor in these criteria to the selection of a global WAN solution.

To learn more about selecting a WAN solution provider for optimum results, read The Hybrid Network Buyer’s Checklist.

Jody Gilliam

With 15+ years of experience developing content-focused marketing strategies for technology companies, Jody crafts thought leadership articles and develops research ideas to support Masergy’s marketing initiatives. Her background in journalism serves her well, as she works closely with industry analysts and Masergy’s top leaders to publish engaging content. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English and communications from Southwestern University and her master’s degree in digital marketing from the University of Denver.

Related Content

Cloud UC and SD-WAN: Why they’re better together

Research shows those who are most satisfied with cloud UC solutions are using SD-WAN. Explore the advantages of this technology pairing.

Read more

Ovum Webinar: The Evolution of SD-WAN and How to Spot Solution Maturity

As SD-WAN matures, it’s meeting more enterprise needs. Ovum explains SD-WAN evolution and why IT leaders now have more to gain.

Read more

The How-To Guide for Direct Cloud Connections

When it comes to supporting cloud services, Microsoft Azure and AWS are becoming the new norm. This guide explains the types of direct cloud connections and how to choose between them.

Read more