An Introduction to SD-WAN: How It Can Be Useful to You

by | Apr 9, 2019 | SD-WAN

A basic rundown of SD-WAN.
The pace of technology only seems to quicken as new developments emerge almost daily that fundamentally impact the way we live, work, and play. It’s no different for those who operate senior care facilities, and new developments here impact every facet of day-to-day operation as well. Some may have already heard about SD-WAN and been intrigued. So let’s take a closer look at this technology, and what kind of impact it can have for business users of all stripes – even those in senior care facilities.

What Is SD-WAN?

SD-WAN, or software-defined wide-area networking, is a rapidly-growing subsector of enterprise networking, and as some believe, the biggest new trend enterprise networking has seen in years. It’s designed as a way to make connections between remote locations—like branch offices—easier, and better centralize data collection and processing.

What Benefits Can SD-WAN Bring With Its Use?

It’s important to know what SD-WAN is—that’s where the conversation must start—but it’s crucial to know what kind of benefits it can bring with it. After all, knowing what something is is useful, but knowing how it can improve your own operations is what everyone really needs to know to make a proper decision. Some of these benefits can vary from business to business and be somewhat dependent on how they’re actually put in place, but most of the benefits are at least reasonably universal. Reduced costs. Cost reductions always vary, but with SD-WAN, there are potential savings on several fronts at once. Not only is it easier to set up an SD-WAN than most other types of network—which means lower installation costs—but it also depends much less on hardware than a standard WAN, which cuts capital expenditure (CAPEX) as well. Since many SD-WANs can also be centrally managed, it means fewer staff hours to try and keep them up, which also helps reduce operational expense (OPEX). For senior care facilities, reducing costs in networking expenses means more money to put toward keeping the residents happy and well-cared-for. Greater agility. Previously, to find out how a branch office was doing, someone would have to travel out to that office and go over the books. With an SD-WAN, businesses can now connect to branch operations through the network, and gain access to information that way. Better yet, it can be done without notifying the branch office, which means they can carry on with a normal working day. For senior care facilities, meanwhile, this means that those with several branches are better able to keep in touch and provide useful data to one another as needed. This is great for those who have different levels of care like independent living, assisted living, or skilled nursing operations. Better access to data. For those not familiar with analytics, they’re a tool designed to take a business’ data, analyze it for patterns, and present those patterns as “actionable insights,” or things that a business can do to improve its standing with customers or cut costs. In order to use analytics, though, a lot of data has to be made available for easy access. SD-WAN can help compile that data and keep it readily available for an analytics system to put to use. Using analytics in senior care facilities allows them to take advantage of the residents’ moods, tastes, and interests to establish care facilities more in tune with these points, and in turn, create care facilities that will keep residents happy and loyal. Improved security. For any healthcare operation—like a senior care facility—the ever-present shadow of government regulations falls over anything they do. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is perhaps the biggest such regulation. SD-WAN helps address issues of security in data storage thanks to its ability to secure its own operations. While a standard WAN would need security for each appliance at each branch office, SD-WAN can work with things like cloud web content filtering operations to improve security. What’s more, throw in defenses against malware and a more centralized network operation and the end result is better protection against outside data breach.

How to Get Started Bringing SD-WAN to Your Operation

With all these benefits, it’s easy to see why anyone would have an interest in putting SD-WAN to work. The question, though, is how to put these tools to use. A great place to start is by reaching out to us at Edge Insights. Not only do we have a focus on senior care, but we also offer a range of green and telecom solutions to help provide more utility and greater cost savings. This will help ensure your operations can continue to provide the best care to our precious seniors. Better senior care may be as easy as an SD-WAN installation away, so get in touch with us to get started.